MSU Bobcats or UM Grizzlies? What's the Difference Anyway?

MSU Bobcats or UM Grizzlies? What's the Difference Anyway? - Jelt Belt

Jelt has stepped up to the plate to make the officially licensed Montana Collegiate Collection featuring our best selling JeltX Adjustable belts. We began with our home state of Montana and our two largest universities — Montana State University, located in Bozeman, and the University of Montana, located in Missoula.

Although the Jelt headquarters is located in Bozeman, I promise we are not biased when it comes to what makes these towns and universities great. So, what's the difference between these two wonderful institutions of higher learning or their respective towns? 

Here are some basic bullet points to outline the difference between these two places that you can easily find by looking on their websites, and then some bullet points written by a person who has lived here for 25 years and loves both places.

View of Montana State University in Bozeman

Montana State University

  • Located in Bozeman, in the southwest part of Montana closer to Wyoming and southern Idaho.
  • A Land Grant University specializing in Engineering, Agriculture and Architecture with an undergrad population of roughly 14,000 students.
  • Bozeman is also referred to as "Boze-Angeles" by frustrated locals who have a hard time finding affordable housing, but also by out-of-state visitors, who are amazed by the high caliber dining and shopping Bozeman provides.
  • Bridger Bowl ski area is located 16 miles from downtown Bozeman and is a big draw to local families and students alike. It offers expert terrain and a lift that services avalanche beacon required runs.
  • The Madison River float, also known as the “Bikini Hatch” is about a 20 minute drive to the nearest put in and attracts thousands of college and high school kids all summer long.
  • The Gallatin River with accesses from 10-30 minutes from town is famous for year-round fly fishing and white water.
  • Flanked by the Bridger Mountain range on one side, you will always have an amazing view (unless it’s blizzarding).
  • The weather is unpredictable. The winter can get below zero quite often. You must like winter sports to live here.
  • The summer is usually awesome, though the skies can get very smoky in late August from the forest fires locally and around the west. There’s a saying for those of us who live in Bozeman, “We have nine months of winter and three months of house guests.”


View of University of Montana in Missoula

The University of Montana

  • Located in Missoula on the western edge of Montana close to the central Idaho border and approximately 200 miles northwest of Bozeman.
  • Research university specializing in Business, Pre-Law and Neuroscience with an undergrad population of roughly 8,000 students.
  • Missoula is considered a more “hippie” town than Bozeman with a more vibrant live music scene than anywhere in Montana. Missoula has both indoor and outdoor music venues that attract amazing bands from around the country.
  • The Clarkfork River runs through the center of town where there are kayak and “surf” competitions, as well as casual tubers floating down the river.
  • The Bitterroot River is a 10 minute drive from town center and is known for fly fishing, floating and picturesque views.
  • Snowbowl is about 13 miles from downtown Missoula and is a family oriented, old-school ski area with moderate terrain and fun mountain biking trails in the spring and summer.
  • Flathead Lake, the largest lake in Montana, is about 70 miles from Missoula and offers world-class fishing, sailing speed boating and camping.
  • The weather is warmer in Missoula than in Bozeman, but is also considered a bit “grayer” in the winter months due to the proximity of the surrounding scenic Bitterroot and Mission Mountain ranges.
  • The summer in Missoula is equally as awesome and unpredictable as Bozeman, but does offer outdoor music festivals (when there is no pandemic), as well as outdoor dining options along the Clark Fork River.

For Montana natives, you are either a true Bobcat or a true Grizzly. You cannot love both. I have only lived in Montana for 25 years, therefore I’m a relative newcomer, so I am a huge fan of both towns for different reasons. Bozeman has badass Bridger Bowl and the great restaurants. Missoula has the Clark Fork River running through town and the amazing music venues. I guess it all boils down to your internal “vibe”. Are you a Missoula Hippie or Boze-Angelesian? Either way, we have a collegiate belt to show your Bobcat pride skiing at Bridger Bowl, or your Griz spirit while mountain biking Snowbowl. It’s all good fun!

Show your Montana pride with the Montana Collegiate Collection.  

MSU Bobcat JeltX Adjustable elastic belt shown rolledUM Griz JeltX Adjustable elastic belt shown rolled.