Pillow Calculation Thursday Rundown

We have reached the final Thursday Rundown of February. Next week it will be March and that means Spring will be here, right? On that sarcastic note, let’s get to tonight’s five topics…

Ham Bingo – We love bingo. We played turkey bingo in November and we played taco bingo earlier this month as a fundraiser for Sloan’s school. So it goes without saying that we naturally jumped at the chance to play ham bingo this past weekend. My Knights of Columbus council staged the Mardi Gras-themed event. The idea was to have one last hurrah before Lent and allow people to win hams that they could save for Easter. Although Sloan and I didn’t win a ham, we sure had fun eating gumbo, wearing Mardi Gras beads/masks, and hanging with our St. Mary community.

Sloan and I at the Mardi Gras-themed Ham Bingo at St. Mary Catholic Church in the Spokane Valley on Feb. 19, 2023.

Picture of the Week – I mentioned earlier this week that we attended a Whitworth basketball game. Even though I snapped a lot of cool mascot photos, the image below was my favorite from the evening. Sloan, Beau, and their two cousins stood at perfect attention for the national anthem. It made my dad’s heart melt to see his four grandchildren displaying such respect for the country.

Although you can’t quite see Johnny, you can see Beau, Sloan, and Mik focusing all their attention and respect on the national anthem.

Mascot Phobia – Let me use the Whitworth basketball game for one final springboard topic. The mascot birthday party is a dream come true for many children but it is also a nightmare for others. When I worked in the University of Montana athletic department, one of the responsibilities I held was mascot coordinator. Parents would desperately reach out to me and convey that their child was petrified of Monte. On this date 9 years ago, I wrote about how we approached this problem and helped kids overcome their fear.

It’s true; not everyone liked these cute bears.

Pillow Calculation – Let me thank my friend Lindsi for the below rule of thumb. However, I would argue this relates primarily to women. As a dude, I still need just a single, no-frills pillow to sleep soundly. Sidney? You could probably take that formula and add five to it.

How do you feel about this calculation?

Mardi Gras Treat – Let’s end on a sweet note! We celebrated Fat Tuesday by making an ice cream run to Zip’s, a Spokane fast food staple. The kids each got a swirl ice cream cone, Sid got an Oreo Hurricane (the Zip’s version of a Dairy Queen Blizzard), and I ordered a butterscotch milkshake for myself. Beau came with me to place the order and before we brought the goods back to the girls, I took this picture of him admiring our purchase.

Beau admiring our ice cream from Zip’s.


I am calling it a night. Thanks for your support and I hope you have a fabulous weekend. Don’t Blink.

Pumpkin Pie Thursday Rundown

We have reached Friday Eve once again and we all know what that means. Let’s get things started with the Thursday Rundown…

Trick-Or-Treat Chart – I was smiling from ear-to-ear when Sidney showed me this “How Kids Judge Halloween Candy” graphic. Although I have written about Halloween candy before, this is much more comprehensive. Sid came across it on the Facebook wall of a friend and sent it to our Reser Pride 8.0 family text message group so everyone could enjoy. We dubbed my mom “The Trusty Provider” with a pinch of “Cheapy McCheapface” mixed in. How does that work out? Because my parents get hundreds of trick-or-treaters every Oct. 31, they usually run out of the Skittles and Baby Ruths by the end of the night. To last them the final hour, they usually have to retrieve the Double Bubble bucket in the basement reserved for my dad to chew on when refereeing football games.

This chart is golden.

Costco Pumpkin Pie Facts – I bit on the clickbait last night and followed the link to the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Costco’s Pumpkin Pie. As someone who loves pumpkin pie and is fascinated by Costco, I couldn’t resist. The facts are pretty interesting as they reveal the type of pumpkins used, where the seeds go, and the origin of the recipe. It is worth a read. Coincidentally, a year ago on this date I counted down my top five pumpkin-inspired foods.

The Costco pumpkin pie is a classic.

Sloan the Firefighter – Sloan’s daycare, Oxford Children’s Academy, is incredible. The latest activity the center hosted was a meet and greet with Horry County firefighters. The department sent more than just its people – a big fire truck pulled up in the parking lot as well. The teachers said the toddlers really enjoyed looking at the vehicle out the window but got a little anxious once they stepped outside. When the siren sounded and the lights flashed, Sloan was pretty alarmed. But she eventually calmed down and admired the fire fighting machine in front of her. Best of all, each child was given a hat to bring home. Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday.

Sloan wearing the fire fighter hat she was given at daycare yesterday.

Chauncey’s New Ride – I have mentioned on a few occasions that a role I played at the University of Montana was mascot coordinator. Not only did I star in videos with Monte, but I organized all of his entrances into Washington-Grizzly Stadium as well. There was always pressure to come up with new and daring ways for him to make his grand appearance. I wish he had what Chauncey recently received. Our CCU mascot now has his own “Surf Turf” vehicle to get around Brooks Stadium. Efficient and eye-catching, I hope he gives me a spin in it one of these days.

Chauncey’s new “Surf Turf” vehicle is pretty cool.

Hey, Watch This – I usually don’t share pieces from news magazines on this blog, but I have to make an exception for what I saw on Sunday night. 60 Minutes caught up with National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore. His job is to go around the world and take photos of the rarest animals on the planet. He says he tries to capture the emotion of each animal just as if he was photographing the senior portraits of a human. His talent will take your breath away and the dangerous situations he has found himself in will make you jump. His photos are out of this world and his subjects are as eclectic as they come. I recommend watching it.

An image that Joel Sartore took of a rare gibbon.


Kind of an interesting Thursday Rundown, right? Well, at least I hope. Enjoy your evening and I will catch up soon. Don’t Blink.

Can I Interest You in a Thursday Rundown?

In one week from today it will be September. Crazy, huh? Here comes your final Thursday Rundown of the month.

End of a Mini Mascot – One of the very first things I did in my professional career while working in the athletic department at the University of Montana was introduce a mini mascot. Sounds creepy, right? Don’t be so quick to judge! Fresh off of graduating from college in 2009, I worked with the mom of a talented boy to create Mo, a miniature version of the University of Montana mascot, Monte. It was borderline magical the day we surprised a wild Washington-Grizzly Stadium sold out crowd with the newest addition to our mascot family. Well, after a great seven year run, Mo will no longer grace the sidelines…at least for now. I want to thank the two kids who wore the costume and represented Grizzly Athletics so well.

I enjoyed helping to develop Mo (right) when I was at the University of Montana.

I enjoyed helping to develop Mo (right) when I was at the University of Montana.

War Dogs – It had been a couple months since I saw a really good movie. However, the bad streak ended last week when Sidney and I went to the theater to watch “War Dogs.” Finally, a movie that lived up to the hype I set for it! The true story was portrayed in an intriguing way and the acting of Jonah Hill was out of control (in a good way of course). Bradley Cooper played a darker role that you don’t always get to see him in. The film also delivered plenty of laughs as well as a recent history lesson. I totally recommend “War Dogs.”

In Front of the Camera – Classes started for Coastal Carolina University this week and it has been a very exciting time. Luckily for me, I was able to share some of my enthusiasm with WPDE (ABC 15) on Monday. The station called wondering if I would do an interview addressing our social media momentum. Thankfully they didn’t have me talk that much. To watch Sydney Glenn’s story, click here.

A screenshot from my interview with WPDE's Sydney Glenn on Monday.

A screenshot from my interview with WPDE’s Sydney Glenn on Monday.

Final Thoughts on Summer Olympics – The Rio Games concluded on Sunday and I must admit that I didn’t watch much of the closing ceremonies. I just find it sad. I love the Summer Olympics and to see them end after four years of anticipation is hard. I feel bad in my heart for all the athletes who worked so hard for their moment in Rio only for it now to be over. On a lighter note, I really enjoyed watching America dominate the games. What I didn’t enjoy was the Ryan Lochte saga. It really took A LOT away from the games and unfortunately it will forever be a defining part of the 2016 Summer Olympics. But I try to look at the positives and I can say that there was nothing better than watching the games with my wife in the evenings.

From the Archives – So, would you like to read about me defending a social media user, reviewing a Darius Rucker concert, or evaluating Instagram Video? On this date in 2015 I came to the side of a typical American who was condemned for giving the play-by-play over Twitter of a breakup on a plane. In 2014 I shared my thoughts on the Darius Rucker concert I attended that weekend. Finally, in 2013 I reviewed Instagram Video about two months after it launched. Pick your poison.

Me with my Darius Rucker shirt after his concert in 2014.

Me with my Darius Rucker shirt after his concert in 2014.


Thank you to my readers for taking the time to read Don’t Blink. Hopefully soon I will be introducing another reader appreciation opportunity for all of you. Enjoy the rest of August. Don’t Blink.

I Will Miss You UM Spirit Squad!

As I wind down my time at Grizzly Athletics I will be saying goodbye to a lot of people. When the time comes I will write an all-encompassing post thanking all the people who helped me so much during my time here. However, I don’t want to fill my blog space each night with the latest from “Brent’s Farewell Tour.” I know majority of my readers don’t want a nightly dose of my swan song.

With that said, I do want to make an exception tonight and express my appreciation to a very special group. This evening up in our football booster area (The Canyon Club) we had our Spirit Squad end of the year banquet. It was a time for our cheer squad, dance team, mascots, and coaches to get together one more time to celebrate the 2013-14 season while giving out awards and eating good food. It was also a time for our seniors to say goodbye after their many years of devotion to the program. This time around I said goodbye too.

This is me with our cheer squad and coaches after tonight's banquet.

This is me with our cheer squad and coaches after tonight’s banquet.

Stereotypes run rampant in our society and one of the most unfair ones center on cheerleaders who are labeled as ditzy, obsessed with their looks, and cruel to others. Although I never subscribed to this thinking it took me less than an hour here at the University of Montana to realize that this stereotype just isn’t inaccurate but completely opposite from the truth and terribly unfair.

I feel so fortunate that I got to have such involvement with the young women and men who make up the University of Montana Spirit Squad. Because of my role as mascot coordinator combined with the Spirit Squad sitting under the marketing umbrella I got to know many of our cheer squad and dance team members very well (while of course developing even stronger bonds with our two students who serve as Monte). I can confidently say that they are some of the most driven, humble, hard-working, and passionate people I know. They do what they do because they love to dance/cheer and because they love the Griz. Basically what I am trying to say is that they do it for all the right reasons.

This is me with the dance team. Going to miss these girls!

This is me with the dance team. Going to miss these girls!

Like I alluded to above, I feel fortunate that I have developed relationships with many Spirit Squad members that go above playing music for them at games or driving them around on various Griz road trips. I think of many of them as friends, people who I truly care about and people who I know care about me too. For the most part I am a positive guy and I love life but I can’t count the number of times I have had a Spirit Squad member brighten my day by stopping by my office, saying something nice over social media, or yelling my name to say hi at games. In a truly humbling moment just this year, a cheer squad member asked to do a profile on me. Wait…a profile on me? It is these types of things that will really make me miss these special individuals once I make the move to South Carolina.

This is me with the cheer team at camp in Idaho in 2012

This is me with the cheer team at camp in Idaho in 2012

I don’t think the public really understands this, but the students who make up our Sprit Squad go through rigorous try outs to earn a spot in the program. They devote thousands of hours throughout their careers at practice, at competition, and in the community all in the name of Grizzly Athletics. They put their bodies through stress and pain so that they can please stadiums and arenas full of fans. The fact that they can subject themselves to this and still have enough energy to show so much respect and kindness to people like me says a lot about each one of them.

Of course I will miss our mascots, Monte and Mo!

Of course I will miss our mascots, Monte and Mo!

To the two mascots, the cheer squad, and the dance team: THANK YOU for making me feel so welcome in the Spirit Squad family. I will miss all of you. Don’t Blink.

When Children Fear Mascots

Yesterday when I wrote about my top five favorite clowns I brought up the somewhat romanticized fear of clowns that adults claim to have. I don’t know if I necessarily buy into the claims of the roughly fifty percent of the people I know who say clowns cause them distress. In my opinion I think it is more talk than fear. Fact of the matter is adult brains can conceptualize that under the paint and wig of a scary looking clown is a regular man or woman. While some folks in our population have serious phobias of such stimuli I don’t believe it applies to the legions of people who make the claim.

Kids are a whole different story, especially younger ones. At an early age children don’t instantly grasp that people dress up in wild and crazy outfits that transform appearance. Minds are still developing and when they see something that can walk and move like a human but that doesn’t look like mom or dad real fears develop. Many young kids have real issues with clowns. Many have issues during Halloween.

Because of one of the responsibilities I hold at work I am exposed first hand to another one of these types of fears that children hold: mascots.

Holding the distinction of mascot coordinator within Grizzly Athletics I routinely see how the most loved personality in the state of Montana can also be the most feared. While Monte, our grizzly bear mascot, has reached rock star status on a national level for his ability to entertain and connect with fans even his one of a kind charm is sometimes not enough to calm the fears of petrified children. At most events or basketball games you can expect to see at least one child ranging in the age of 2-7 meltdown at the sight of him. Kids will cry, scream, run away, or bury themselves in their mom or dad. It doesn’t take a psychology degree to figure out why these young kids are frightened. Seeing an agile, walking bear that blurs the lines between an animal and a human can confuse a toddler to the point of tears.

I get the opportunity to work with our mascots, Monte and Mo

I get the opportunity to work with our mascots, Monte and Mo

Monte doesn’t get selected to the Capital One All-American Mascot team on a consistent basis just because he can entertain, dance, entertain, and tumble though. His ability to connect with children, adults, and the elderly sets him apart. More often than not I have seen him approach those frightened kids right on the spot and win them over. In the blink of an eye the shrieks turn to laughs and Monte and the kid are embracing.

No one is better with kids than Monte (photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich)

No one is better with kids than Monte (photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich)

Of course it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes the child is just not ready to enjoy a mascot and Monte lets him or her be. For some children it takes time to outgrow the fear. They will avoid and turn the other way when Monte is in proximity but then a couple years later the fear is gone and the kid, wearing a #00 jersey, is rushing at him to jump in his furry arms. But then there are the extreme cases…

Monte makes thousands of kids smile a year (awesome photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich).

Monte makes thousands of kids smile a year (awesome photo courtesy of Todd Goodrich).

Some youngsters develop a polarizing fear of Monte. Unfortunately that fear doesn’t just end at the arena when the bear is not around. Pictures, mentions, and thoughts of Monte can trigger fear simply when the child is at home or at school. This is when Grizzly Athletics intervenes. Twice since I have worked in the department parents have contacted me about their child suffering from a phobia of Monte. When this occurs I invite the parents and their son (both times it has been a boy) to come to the office and I turn it over to our amazing students who serve as Monte (we employ two talented individuals).

In a calm manner our Monte performer will greet the kid in his street clothes. He will then slowly take pieces of the Monte suit out of his bag and show the child that it is just a costume. Next he will start to put the suit on while talking to the child the whole way through. Once our performer puts the head on to complete the transformation into Monte the kid is no longer having a panic attack and the fear is gone. Both times I have observed this the parents walked out the door with tears of joy while thanking us profusely.

I deal with two very talented and compassionate Monte performers.

I deal with two very talented and compassionate Monte performers.

Back when I was very young, probably four years old, I had a bad dream involving McGruff the Crime Dog. After that nightmare I dreaded seeing him at the parades and festivals my parents would take me to where he would appear. After a year I grew out of it but even though I was very young at the time I can still remember what that fear felt like which allows me to identify with the kids today who are afraid of Monte.

Sorry to my adult friends who are afraid of clowns but I have more sympathy for the five year old girl who is afraid of Monte. Don’t Blink.

Is My Vote Being Counted?

In just the past few short months, I have had the opportunity to conduct a couple of big time social media campaigns in support of some pretty well-known personalities within Grizzly Athletics. At the start of September and running through the end of football season, Monte competed in the Capital One Mascot Challenge. Currently going on right now, our head football coach Mick Delaney is a finalist in the FCS Coach of the Year running. Both of these competitions are decided entirely (Mascot Challenge) or partially (FCS Coach of the Year) by fan voting. A good social media program and an engaged fan base are both necessary to achieving success in these challenges.

Both Mick and Monte have had great years!

Both Mick and Monte have had great years!

Let me start off by saying this: Just having a horse in the race for both of these competitions is a tremendous honor and accomplishment. It brings a lot of good publicity and recognition to our program. It shines light on the great work that is being done inside Grizzly Athletics. The reward is great too. With the Capital One Challenge we got compensated handsomely and if things go well for us in the Coach of the Year race, local Missoula charities and our alumni association will receive a major boost. Overall it is a very, very good deal.

However, if I had the power to do so, I would like to change one thing: Disclosure of the votes! With both the Mascot Challenge and Coach of the Year race you have absolutely no idea the quantity of points/votes that separates one competitor from the other. Rather, you simply get either a percentage or a ranking system that tells you who is ahead. Okay, I understand that Monte currently trails the Pirate from East Carolina 53% to 47% but please put that into quantitative terms for me. How many more 100 point challenges must we exactly complete or how many times must we press that “VOTE” button until we make a dent in that gap. Or I can clearly see that Mick Delaney is fourth in the rankings but how many votes separate him from Craig Bohl who happens to occupy the first spot?

Sooo...is my vote being counted?

Sooo…is my vote being counted?

In my selfish nature I want to know black and white numbers of what needs to be done to start moving up in the rankings. But even beyond my own desires, I want this info available more for our fans. Many Griz Nation fanatics spend literally hours voting non-stop. In my opinion they deserve some type of confirmation that they are/are not having an impact. When they pour so much effort into something and see that there is no change, there is an understandable sense of discouragement. It also paves way for conspiracy theories (i.e. Hey, I just spent my whole morning voting and completing challenges for Monte but nothing has changed. The sponsor of this contest secretly hates us and is not counting our votes).

Let’s put an end to this. If in fact someone in Butte who is voting non-stop is not gaining any traction because there are 5,000 people in East Lansing voting just as ferociously at the same time, let him or her see that reflected in a visible vote total. Or even though we can’t see any evidence of a campaign for the head coach of Southeastern Louisiana while everyone here in Montana makes sure to vote for Mick Delaney each day, please just disclose the voting numbers and let us see that Coach Roberts does in fact have an objective, legitimate vote lead on Mick.

In no way am I biting the hand that feeds me so to speak. As I mentioned at length above, I am incredibly grateful that the Grizzly Athletics is represented in these national campaigns. And in no way am I saying that Monte or Mick Delaney got screwed. I just want something that clearly paints a picture of where everyone stands in these high stakes contests. Let’s do it for the fans. Don’t Blink.

Griz-Cat Week 2013

Griz-Cat week has arrived and there is no better time to be a Montanan! (even if you are an import like me). This Saturday the Grizzlies and Bobcats will meet in Bozeman for the 113th football meeting between the two schools.

As I said last year, I realize that this game probably doesn’t hold the weight and tradition that some of the other rivalry games across the nation do but to this state and to me, this is where the buck ends. Griz-Cat is so much more than a football game to the people of the Treasure State. For many, it is a measuring stick for each person associated with the rivalry to see where they personally match up compared to their rival.

Although I always keep an eye on what MSU is doing, during this week I especially like to see how the areas that I directly oversee compare to those of our rival. For me that means I look long and hard at our website, social media, mascot, and a few other things in relation to Montana State (I like where we are at). Other people do the same thing with their respective areas. State supremacy is on the line this week and everything must be thrown into the equation.

Of course the most important thing in that equation is the football game on Saturday. A school could hold every single advantage on the other school but if it lost the game on the gridiron, all of those accomplishments mean nothing…at least for that day. As is well documented, the Grizzlies have crushed the Bobcats overall in the Brawl of the Wild. Currently Montana enjoys a 69-37-5 edge in the series. But please go ahead and throw every rivalry cliché in the book at me right now, I realize records mean absolutely nothing for games like these.

Montana will have its work out for them on Saturday. Montana State is playing at home and no doubt they will play with a lot of anger and urgency as they try to end a two game losing streak and make the playoffs. The Bobcats have several marquee players on their team who will undoubtedly bring their “A” game this weekend. The Grizzlies will have redemption on their mind. After dropping a close game last year to the Cats, Montana will go into Bozeman looking to add another “W” to the Griz-tilted overall Brawl of the Wild record while possibly securing a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

For myself I am beyond excited for the game on Saturday. Among working the 2009 Montana-App State game, going to the NCAA Tournament, and working that faithful tournament championship Saturday where we sent both our women’s and men’s basketball teams to the Big Dance, the 2011 Griz-Cat football game is one of my favorite memories during my tenure working for Grizzly Athletics. I hope to have a similar experience when I go to Bozeman this weekend.

To all the Grizzlies and Bobcats out there, have a great Griz-Cat week! This is a wonderful time for the state of Montana to celebrate two great universities. A few reminders: 1. Use the #GrizCat hash tag for all Tweets, Instagram photos, and Facebok posts. 2. Be respectful to the other side at all times. 3. Remember that kick off is at noon in Bobcat Stadium on Saturday. Enjoy the week and Go Griz! Don’t Blink.

Church, Monte, Work, Gangsters, Typhoon

Good evening, everyone. Usually I end my posts by saying this but let me start one off with it for once: Thanks for reading my blog! I appreciate your loyal dedication to reading what I have to say and I always enjoy the feedback you give me via text messaging and in face-to-face passing. You guys are awesome.

Tonight I want to go through five topics to give you the typical rundown of what is going on in my mind and in my life.

Complete Transparency: I go to church at St. Francis Xavier, an absolutely gorgeous place of worship here in Missoula. Part of the reason why I choose to go here is because of the traditional, pre-Vatican II type feel I get when I walk inside. However, a very small part of what gives this church that feel will disappear this week. During the announcements during this past Sunday evening’s mass, Father notified us that windows would be installed inside the confessionals. Because of some terrible and vicious false allegations against members of the St. Francis clergy in the past year and with just the overall state of abuse allegations worldwide in the church, this move is being made to offer protection to both the parish staff and to parishioners. To me I find this very sad yet I understand why St. Francis is doing it.

Do-or-Die for Monte: The regular season of the 2013 Mascot Challenge is winding down and Monte is going to have to finish strong to make the playoffs. With two weeks left, he most likely will have to win out. Currently he is part of a group of three mascots who hold identical records of 6-4 and occupy the 6th-8th places of the standings. The competition takes eight mascots to the playoffs. However, there are three other mascots right under that 6-4 group who hold 5-5 records. If Monte loses, one of those mascots will surely take the playoff spot he now occupies. This week Monte is up against Wilbur T. Wildcat from Arizona. Next week he tangles with the Hokiebird from Virginia Tech. Monte should win this week. That would set up a battle for his playoff life against the 7-3 bird next week. Please vote for Monte at www.capitalonebowl.com .

Five Events in Five Days: This is the busiest time during the calendar year to work in intercollegiate athletics with the overlapping of fall and winter sports. Case in point this past week. Wednesday through Sunday I worked five straight Griz Athletics events. Our Griz basketball team played Wednesday evening, our women’s basketball team played on Thursday, our volleyball team played Friday and Saturday evenings, and our women’s basketball team concluded the madness with a matinee game on Sunday afternoon. Wednesday through Saturday were 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. days for me. By the time the Lady Griz disposed of MSU Northern at around 4 p.m. on Sunday I was ready for a break. Although fatigued I had a great time watching our teams go 4-1 during that span and I got to enjoy a nice day off on Monday.

Dang It Feels Good to be a Gangsta: I am on a bit of a gangster kick. Last Tuesday I watched “American Gangster” with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe for the first time from start to finish. Great movie! Last night I picked up where I left off on Tuesday and I stayed up until 2 a.m. watching the “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil” series on A&E. Starting at 11 p.m. I watched three of the hour long episodes chronicling some of the baddest and most violent people to ever roam the streets of this country. Learning about how these people rose to the top and then how they came crashing down is fascinating. Even though it is a show on cable TV, you get exposed to some very grisly images and some ear covering descriptions so if you do end up watching based off of my recommendation, please know that you have been warned.

Typhoon Haiyan: Can we all pause for one second and say a prayer that we live in a part of this world where we are free from unfathomable natural disasters? I have a tough time comprehending the damage that these outbursts of rage inflicted by Mother Nature do. Besides the shots of pure destruction we see on television, how can anyone see past that 10,000 number? Yeah, as in 10,000 people wiped out. How does a region deal with that? How can you go about your day after seeing the streets littered with bodies? I complain about the snow we get in Montana but something like what happened in the Philippines always makes me feel like a little baby.
That’s my rundown for this week. Can you believe it will already be Wednesday tomorrow? Thanks again for reading and love life. Don’t Blink.

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.