Local businesses prep for Brawl of the Wild

It’s that time of year. Tickets have sold out, hotels are full and the Montana Grizzlies are coming to town. It is the 115th meeting between the Bobcats and the Grizzlies. The Cat/Griz game is in Bozeman this year, and many local businesses are preparing for the exciting weekend.

The football team, cheer squad and marching band have all put in many hours of preparation, and so have many businesses as they prepare to experience more customers in one of the biggest weekends of the year. It starts with the hotels, as fans from far and wide book their rooms in Bozeman for the weekend.

“As is probably true with most hotels we expect to sell every one of our rooms this weekend,” Carl Solvie said. Solvie is the managing partner at the Best Western Plus Grantree Inn in Bozeman. “We can also expect our restaurant business to be one of the best of the year.” Best Western prepares for the event by making sure that they are appropriately staffed and have enough food and drink for the guests coming to town. “We make sure to have more food and beverage inventory that weekend, as well as more people on staff,” Solvie said. “We are looking forward to an economically great weekend and we hope the Bobcats can secure a victory.”

The Cat/Griz game also greatly affects local restaurants in the Bozeman area. Sean Faris, the general manager at Montana Ale Works, says that they make sure they are appropriately staffed for the big weekend. “We see a huge influx of customers Thursday and Friday night before the game,” Faris said. Faris expects a 5-6 percent increase in revenue at Montana Ale Works Friday night alone. Many fans will flock to local restaurants in Bozeman for this special weekend. ““For us at Montana Ale Works we’re looking forward to people coming together and embracing the event,” Faris said. “We hope everyone has a great time and is safe.”

The football game kicks off at 12:10 p.m. Saturday, which means that there is still plenty of time for people to hit up local bars after the game. Jeremy Sukut, the general manager at Bar IX says for them it is one of the best days of the year. Sukut said that while every year there is a large increase in customers, he has definitely noticed  a difference in customer turnout during the years that the Bobcats have won versus the years they have lost. Sukut and the staff at Bar IX prepare throughout the week to make sure they are ready for the weekend. “We find the time during the week to have meetings and talk with the staff,” Sukut said. “We know it’s a big night, and expect our staff to be on their best game.” While this weekend is a great economic benefit to Bar IX, Sukut said that he is most excited for the game. “I am looking forward to a Bobcat win,” Sukut said.Illustration by Valerie Seelye

From the football players to the marching band, the hotel managers and the staff at local bars everyone is gearing up for the biggest weekend in Bozeman. While this is one of the best weekends for businesses in terms of revenue, it is more importantly a weekend for Bobcat and Griz fans alike to join together with the entire state of Montana and enjoy one of the best rivalries in college football.