Monte Suffers a Loss in the 2013 Mascot Challenge

About an hour ago Monte was dealt his first loss in the 2013 Mascot Challenge in a down to the minute race with Sparty the Spartan from Michigan State. The close 51% to 49% defeat not only gave him a mark in the loss column but it knocked him out of first place and stripped him of his #1 ranking. Definitely a less than ideal way to end a weekend in which our football team crushed Portland State in the much anticipated Homecoming game.

Once the standings refresh on the Capital One website, Monte should sit in either third or fourth place depending on the tiebreaker method used in the competition. Two mascots hold unblemished 5-0 records while four mascots (including Monte) hold 4-1 records. Two of the mascots with 4-1 records suffered their lone loss in the competition to Monte.

During the last hour of this week’s round, I watched a noble and frantic effort by Griz Nation to push Monte to yet another victory over another giant in the BCS landscape. In the end, it fell just a little short. My Twitter and Facebook feeds were overloaded with people answering this past week’s question of “If Monte started a band, what would he name it?” Besides my actual Facebook friends and Twitter followers aggressively pushing for a Monte victory, everyone else in Montana seemed to be doing the same. Just searching the #CapitalOneMonte hash tag on Twitter yielded hundreds and hundreds of tweets coming in by the second! I got a good laugh at reading everyone’s take on what Monte’s band should be named.

If I was in Monte's band I would play the recorder!

If I was in Monte’s band I would play the recorder!

Of course anyone could see that the tweets marked with the #CapitalOneMonte hash tag vastly outnumbered the #CapitalOneSparty hash tags. Because of this, some might speculate that the final tally was not reflected correctly. However, standard voting is also a big part of the equation and the fact of the matter is that Michigan State has 50,000 students at its school while almost 10 million people live in the state. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that with a population size that large comes with it a distinct advantage. If a majority of those people are voting, it doesn’t matter how many tweets we are sending out… those sheer numbers will win every time.

But notice how I said if. We have absolutely no idea how many people are voting. The organizers of the competition elect to only give us percentages as opposed to concrete point totals. As I have said from the beginning, I have a tough time trusting internet voting formats. I have an even tougher time trusting internet voting formats where we can’t see the raw numbers. Judging by the comments on our social media outlets, many people have the same trust issues as me.

But in all honesty I have little to complain about. This competition has already given us great exposure, a nice check for our program, and a special experience for our Monte performer (he got to travel to New York City for photo/video shoots). Although I am not 100% convinced that we got a completely fair shake in this past round of the competition, I do realize that in the four prior rounds it is possible that we could have gotten the benefit of the doubt.

Life moves on in the 2013 Mascot Challenge and this week Monte is up against Baldwin the Eagle from Boston College. Just like during any other season in any other sport, you have to move on from defeat and come back with more tenacity and more hunger for the next opponent. I promise you that Monte and Griz Nation will come back stronger than ever. That Eagle better watch out. Don’t Blink.

Monte’s Big Weekend

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.

Monte birthday cake is delicious!!!

Monte birthday cake is delicious!!!


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.

Monte split the uprights on a 35 yard field goal on Saturday.

Monte split the uprights on a 35 yard field goal on Saturday.

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 guy mistakenly thought that a larger student body and a larger "national presence" (whatever that means) would defeat the pride and tradition of Griz Nation.

This guy mistakenly thought that a larger student body and a larger “national presence” (whatever that means) would defeat the pride and tradition of Griz Nation.



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.