If you're born and raised in Montana, or move here later in life, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is whether you will be Team Cats or Team Griz.

The Cat/Griz rivalry goes all the way back to 1897 and is the 11th oldest west of the Mississippi. For many, it's a family affair with multiple generations going to one of the two schools and while the population of that state is less than most, the passion of the two fan bases is bigger than many of the larger rivalries across the country.

Nothing in Montana is bigger than the Brawl of the Wild and whether it's on the football field, the basketball or volleyball courts, or on the track and field, bragging rights are always on the line when the two schools meet.

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I've had the pleasure to live in both Missoula and Bozeman and have seen the rivalry up close. Both cities and fan bases like to claim that they're more passionate and dedicated than the other. Emotions and trash talk certainly run high between the two fan bases, with the most recent incident being the fact that ESPN Gameday decided against going to Missoula two years ago, only to show up in Bozeman last year.

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Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN

Of course, it didn't help that the Cats beat the Griz by a score of 55-21 and that later the Gameday crew would claim that out of all of their stops last year, their favorite just happened to be in Bozeman.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

The Griz have a chance to redeem themselves this year as the game is back in Missoula and while the Cats are currently ranked higher than the Griz, all bets are off when these two meet. Friendships will be paused, co-workers will talk smack, and it could be a little quiet around some family dinner tables this holiday season depending on how things play out.


So whether you decide to bleed blue and gold or go with team maroon and silver, if you're living in Montana, you have to pick one or the other.

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