Bobcat Country

‘Cats beat the Griz for 7th straight win in Stillwater schools food drive contest
Marlo Pronovost
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
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Photo by Meredith Feddes

       Absarokee Elementary School students, from the left: Wyatt Heskett, Ryan Cunningham, Tristen Wilcox, Lainey Clark,  Avery Cunningham and Brooke Donohoe.

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Courtesy photo

The Bobcats are king in Stillwater County.


Last week, students in Columbus, Absarokee and Rapelje held a county version of the statewide Montana State University-University of Montana food drive. Both the statewide and county events precede the yearly “Brawl of the Wild” football game between the two universities that ends the regular season.

For the seventh consecutive year, participating Stillwater schools proved they bleed blue and gold — with the ‘Cats claiming landslide victories.

Students “voted” for either the MSU ‘Cats or the UM Grizzlies by placing food items in the respective boxes at each school.

Rapelje was the first school to report last Friday, declaring an overwhelming Bobcat win with 162 items in the MSU donation box, versus 62 items in the Grizzly box.

That scenario repeated itself at the Columbus Elementary and Columbus Middle schools. At the middle school, the Bobcat box had 2,332 items as opposed to the Grizzly box, which held just 700 items, said Middle School Principal Joseph Morse.

CES Principal Marlene Deis estimated that collections from both schools combined weighed approximately 700 pounds, with the middle school outperforming the elementary school for the first time.

The Cats also won at Absarokee Elementary School. The Grizzlies scored a single victory at the Absarokee High School.

In all, Project Hope received approximately 2,500 pounds of food from the three school districts. That will distribute about 90 Thanksgiving boxes.

It was the 10th year that local schools have run their own version of the statewide food drive, in what has become a popular event that focuses kids on giving as the holiday season approaches. Park City and Reed Point schools also hold food drives and donate the collections to various groups in need.



Bozeman won the 21st annual food drive, with 206,550 pounds of food and $230,715, which will be given to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and MSU’s Bounty of the Bridgers food pantry. Missoula made a strong showing, bringing in 213,412 pounds of food and $208,447, which will be given to the Missoula Food Bank.

The off-field competition between MSU and the University of Montana to see which school can collect the most donations for its local food banks has become almost as big as the game itself.


The Bobcats beat the Grizzlies for the fourth consecutive time and in dominating fashion last Saturday in Bozeman, with the final score of 48-14. Both teams advanced to the post-season, with the ‘Cats seeded No. 5 and the Grizzlies seeded No. 6.

Both teams finished the season with identical records — 6-2 in conference play and 9-3 overall. The ‘Cats will host the winner of the Central Connecticut State versus Albany on Dec. 7.

The Grizzlies will also be in action on Dec. 7, and will host the winner of Villanova versus Southeastern Louisiana.

Sacramento State and Weber State each earned a share of the Big Sky Conference championship with identical records, (7-1, 9-3). Both also advance to play-offs.