MISSOULA – Montanans have descended upon Missoula to watch the biggest rivalry game in the state.
That means more people in the stadium, and more emotions to try to contain. Washington-Grizzly Stadium will be packed with fans who might not get along too well Saturday afternoon.
Security for the game is aware of the animosity between the two sides and is prepared to deal with all the extra hoopla that surrounds the Brawl of the Wild.
Not much changes in terms of what security does for Cat-Griz, but there will be a larger law enforcement presence at the stadium on Saturday.
That means bringing in law enforcement from different agencies across the state, even Bozeman.
“We have officers from Bozeman MSU campus will come over. We send officers to Bozeman when they host the games so we kind of bolster our staffing a little bit with that,” said UM Police Chief Marty Ludemann. “We will have a few more officers than normal inside the stadium, probably around 50 officers for this game.”
Despite extra officers at the game, security still anticipates some extra wait time for people trying to get into Washington-Grizzly Stadium due to security checks at the gates
“We just ask people to come early. Be patient, but come a little bit earlier. We are looking at, maybe, a weather event in the morning, so just be careful getting here,” Ludemann said.
And it wouldn’t be a game at Washington-Grizzly Stadium without the student section.
“Just be responsible, you know. Take care of yourself. I know we got our Griz guys that take their clothes off, but it’s going to be cold. The shirtless guys be careful, don’t do it just be careful,” Ludemann said.
Ludemann said that while around 25,000 people regularly attend most games, they anticipate around 29,000 will show up for Saturday’s game.
The Montana Highway Patrol also pitches in some troopers for the security efforts, including two troopers who will escort the coaches for their end-of-game handshake.
Story by Connor McCauley, MTN News