We Are Family: Griz Family Weekend


On a Wednesday several weeks ago, I sat poised by the computer, waiting for the stroke of 10 AM Mountain Time (which I had to remember translated to 9 AM Pacific Time).

I was hoping to buy tickets to the October 15th Griz game. Since we live near Seattle, it was most likely the only one we would be able to make all year. Last weekend was The University of Montana’s Family Weekend, which we’ve attended each year that one of our boys has been a student there.

Since whatever else we decide to do during this event has always been centered around the game, I was really hoping to get those tickets! The school had some available for U of M families to purchase, so when I secured them, it meant we could continue our tradition.

I can’t speak football, so won’t attempt to and therefore will not embarrass us both. You’ll have to read another article for a detailed account of the game. What I can talk about however, is the whole Family Weekend package. It was a chance for us and other families of students to have some fun and be able participate in a small slice of the UM college experience.

Saturday morning, we showed up at our son’s rental dressed in our best maroon and silver for a few pre-game snacks and some socializing. We then joined the rest of the color-coordinated crowd streaming from all directions toward Washington-Grizzly Stadium, toting blankets and other gear in anticipation of any number of possible weather scenarios.

Once inside, we immersed ourselves in Griz football. Tucked against the golden hills, and framed by more distant blue mountains, it has got to be one of the most beautiful college stadiums in the country. Around us a sea of maroon hats, caps, and coats bobbed in their seats or on their feet. Gloved hands smacked high-five.

With a number of these weekends under our belts, we knew a few chants, a few cheers (Another First Down… Montana!) and a few songs (Cotton-Eyed Joe) to look forward to. But the cannon… BOOM!!! I jumped every single time!

If schedules allow, we try to stick around Missoula for an extra day or two. It gives us a bit more time with our boys – a chance to take part in some of the things they enjoy doing both on campus and off. We hit up several favorite eateries, made the yearly visit to the UM Bookstore for Griz gear, and wandered in shops and art galleries downtown.

Besides the game, The University of Montana does a great job of putting together a schedule of things for visiting families to do, most of which are free. They planned a Q&A session about academics, and hosted a Friday evening welcome reception at the MSO HUB. There was a pre-game tailgate, as well as campus tours, nature walks, movies, stargazing, and more.

They also provided an indoor game viewing party for those who either couldn’t get tickets or didn’t want to take a chance on the weather. It’s such a great opportunity to take a weekend and see what this university and Missoula are about, especially for those students and their families who are from out of town.


If you have enjoyed this Visit Missoula post, please link and share! If you’re interested in using the written piece or photos for any other purposes, please contact its author, Margaret DeWilliam Horton at thisfriendlyvillage@gmail.com. She will be more than happy to help you!


Margaret is a writer, photographer, and mom who lives in the rainy, but green, Pacific Northwest. She has been a frequent visitor to Missoula and the surrounding landscape for many years and knows that a part of her lives there as well. Please stop in to find out about her visits and why she looks forward to coming back each time. Hopefully, it will make you want to visit as well. You can find out what else she’s been up to and thinking about, and take a look at more of her photos on her website, This Friendly Village.