The University of Montana's mascot history is wilder than you might think. Back in 1897, way before the 1990s, live bear cubs served as their mascots. It was a different time in Montana then. According to Wikipedia, these cubs were kept at the games, but controlling them amidst the roar of the crowd proved quite a challenge.

'Monte' Is a Local Treasure

Fast forward to the 1990s. After a few mascot iterations, the University finally found its champion: Monte! This beloved mascot debuted in the 1993 season and has become an integral part of Grizzly Football's culture and excitement. A walk through the Adams Center reveals Monte's lasting impact on the athletic program. You can even see the retired original costume on display.

'Monte' Is Going to the Hall of Fame

That is why it is fantastic to see that Monte Bear will be inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in the class of 2024. It is a much deserved honor, not just for the school, but for every person who has put on that costume that has made kids, adults, and sports fans alike get pumped up for the Griz.

Fans don't know who plays Monte until they are no longer attending the University. The first person to put on the costume was Scott Stiegler, but possibly the most notable person to be Monte was Barry Anderson. Barry went on to become a professional mascot and work as "Benny The Bull" for the Chicago Bulls basketball team. Monte was also nominated for the Capital One's Mascot of the Year, winning twice in 2002 and 2004.

Read More: Who Would Win a Fight: Me or the Big Sky Conference Mascots?

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'Monte' With Chris and Ashley from Z100
Credit: Chris Wolfe

Congratulations to Monte and to all that have worn that costume. Monte will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this coming August, just in time for another season of Griz Football.

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