So, how adept are you at telling a genuine grizzly from a faux paw? No, this time it’s not the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks who’s asking but the Atlanta-based Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). In the wake of the Montana Grizzlies’ 13-6 drubbing of the Furman Paladins in the NCAA Division I-AA championship Dec. 21, the CLC—the nation’s largest licensing consortium that includes more than 200 colleges and universities, bowl games, the NCAA, the Heisman Trophy and the Men’s and Women’s Final Four—is concerned that local profiteers may be trying to pass off bogus Griz championship goods and apparel as the real deal. In response, the CLC has dispatched “enforcement teams” to Montana to comb local retail stores, shopping malls, the UM campus or wherever else Griz wear may be sold in an effort to protect the lucrative Griz™ trademark. According to one CLC representative, enforcement teams are working in conjunction with local law enforcement, and will either seize the cheap knock-offs on the spot, or turn the issue over to their legal department for further action, presumably involving restraining orders and thumb screws. To date, the CLC hasn’t received any reports of bogus bear wear in the Missoula area, though in larger cities counterfeit rings can be major operations that can cost schools or universities tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. The CLC advises Griz wear buyers to look for the NCAA hologram or UM product label on Griz-related garment, with all tags intact and all school logos depicted in a “tasteful manner.” No mention was made, however, of union labels or certified sweatshop-free labor. One can only hope.
Speaking of football…or not: Gone, thankfully, are the days when the athleticism and artistry of cheerleading took a back seat to the on-the-field chest-puffing of 300+ lb. bone crushers going head-to-head in life’s weekly metaphor for war. These days, cheerleading isn’t just eye candy designed to keep the fans amused while the big boys take a breather or make a fast dash to the john. Montana’s own “Pink Panthers,” a competitive cheerleading squad based out of Helena and unaffiliated with any high school or college sports team, is reportedly the first competitive squad at their level from Montana to make it to a national competition, after winning its regional competition in Boise, Idaho on Dec. 1. If the Pink Panthers can put together a two-and-a-half-minute routine of cheering, dancing, tumbling, aerial acrobatics and ear-to-ear smiling that wows the judges, their performance will be aired on ESPN or ESPN2 March 9 and 10.
Assuming, that is, the team can first raise the estimated $15,000 needed to cover their airfare, hotels, and competition fees for their trip to Orlando, Fla. (Better throw in a few extra bucks for an afternoon at Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.) Fundraising is already in the works, but anyone interested in helping this ambitious young squad go for the gold in DisneyTown, you can purchase a raffle ticket by calling Angie at (406) 457-0000 or Cari at (406) 449-2372. Chip in a buck or two and make Peter Sellers proud.