Currently it is a great time to be a bear, especially if your name is Monte Bear. Yep, our mascot at the University of Montana had quite the weekend with many bright moments and one big milestone. Give me a couple minutes to tell you about how Monte dominated each day of this past September weekend.
Friday: On this day we celebrated Monte’s 20th birthday at our home opener Griz volleyball match. Before the Montana vs. Northern Colorado game got underway, cake was served in Monte’s honor in the adjacent gym. UM students were also given waterproof Monte cell phone cases. Fans showed up in droves to honor “The Bear” as the largest crowd in almost two years filled the stands to celebrate Monte’s big day. During the break between the first and second set the packed gym sang happy birthday to the bear of the hour. During halftime, Monte and Mo put on a birthday skit that had the place clapping and laughing in approval. The best part? The Griz volleyball team swept Northern Colorado.
Saturday: Home football games are always a big deal for Monte as 26,000 people watch his every move. In a unique twist never before seen, a video was played prior to Monte’s entrance. It simulated the path he took to arrive at the stadium. As soon as the video concluded, Monte shot out of the tunnel on his motorcycle. While the game got a little boring late with the Griz up big on Oklahoma Panhandle State, Monte added an element of excitement when he did what pretty much no other mascot can do…he kicked field goals. With his holder set up on the 25-yard line, Monte kicked the snot out of the football and split the uprights. It was pretty cool and just another example of why he is the best collegiate mascot.
Sunday: The best moment in my opinion came just last night when Monte upset Big Red from Western Kentucky in the 3rd round of the 2013 Mascot Challenge. In a battle of the unbeatens, Monte narrowly edged out Big Red, 51% to 49%. Now you might ask how it was an upset if both mascots were undefeated. I actually agree with you, it wasn’t an upset because Monte is the best mascot around but on paper it was. Big Red was technically ranked #1 in the standings while Monte was the lowest ranked unbeaten at #5. Monte also stated off the week trailing the Big Blob 60% to 40%. Then, if you want to take in consideration what the below Big Red supporter spewed out on Facebook, you can see where he was the underdog. With me sweating it out at my office computer during the waning minutes of the round encouraging our fans to vote and complete challenges, Griz Nation did what it always does and took care of business. When 10 p.m. came around the slight 51% to 49% edge that had flopped back and forth for the entire weekend between Monte and Big Red now rested on the side of #00. The victory propelled Monte to a 3-0 record and a current #1 ranking in the competition. It also pumped me up like no other.
This week Monte is taking on Rocky the Rocket from the University of Toledo. Although Monte boasts a 61% to 39% lead right now, anything can happen. It is because of that unpredictability that we are holding a special event on Wednesday that will hopefully give us a little more control and bolster Monte’s lead. More on that later. For now it is totally acceptable to look back on this past weekend and marvel at the three great days that Missoula’s most beloved personality enjoyed. Don’t Blink.