Nov 17, 2012 3:30 PM by Dan Cimmino - KPAX Sports
MISSOULA - Monte is more than just a mascot for Montana Grizzly fans. Since his inception he has become a University icon, not only within the community, but throughout Montana.
When fans come to see the Griz, they're here to watch the team, but inevitably, it's the mascot who catches their eye.
"To be Monte we need a few more qualifications than just a normal mascot. You have to have a strong dance background, you have to have a strong tumbling background and then you have to be really well-versed when it comes to drama. We have a search committee that helps us find the next Monte so we always have really good advice and we're always really confident after we do pick," Monte's Mascot Coordinator Brent Reser said.
"The expectation is that you have to be able to perform; to be able to be improvisational and to run with something when it is presented to you and to know your audience," said Scott Stiegler, who was Monte from 1193 to 1998.
"Because we have that title of Capital One Mascot of the Year people expect you to perform and they expect you to keep improving and coming out with cool new stunts," Reser said.
Over the years the University of Montana has built a tradition of winning. The same can now be said for Monte, but unlike the alumni, this grizzly isn't going anywhere.
"He just represents pride and a constant because athletes and coaches come and go, but Monte is always going to be here so people can always look forward to him and not be disappointed," Reser told us.
While it's certainly a privilege to don the suit, once entrenched with all of Monte's powers, what's the experience like to be the face of Montana?"
"It was a lot of fun. I was given a license to kill; I could do just about anything I wanted. It's a pretty big rush; it's just that huge sudden surge of energy and its go-time. Monte gets to experience that every single game," Stiegler recalled.
So as the legend of Monte continues to grow its quite the footprints to follow, or in this case, bear prints.
The current identity of Monte is to remain secret, but one can certainly expect some sort of grand entrance tomorrow at the big rivalry game between Montana and Montana State
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