Happiest Hour 

The semifinal extravaganza

Why you're out on Friday: Uh, because the Griz are on a hot streak? They creamed Northern Iowa 48-10 in last Friday night's quarterfinals match-up and they're going head-to-head with Sam Houston State this Friday at 6 p.m. for a shot at the FCS Championship. If the recent tailgate scene was any indication, the energy around town for the semifinal will be on full throttle. Campers lined Campus Drive last weekend. The chili was warm, the beer was cold and the booze was flowing from flasks. Flipper's was standing-room-only during the game. Downtown Missoula exploded after the Griz won. Be prepared for a spectacle.

What you're drinking: Most bars around town are prepping their specials list for the Friday night bout against Sam Houston. The Press Box expects to be "packed to the max" during the game and has the usual lineup of Griz specials, including $5.25 Bloody Marys and $5.50 Alpines (hot chocolate and top-shelf Schnapps). The Broadway is bracing itself too, and you can bet Red's Bar will be packed to the helmet-lined rafters.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ALEX SAKARIASSEN

Who you're out with: Nine-tenths of Missoula. But more specifically, seasoned Griz fanatics with a lot on the line. They've wowed you with chicken wings at the tailgate, they've screamed at rival teams from the stands and they'll kick your butt at quarters or whatever game they rope you into at the bars. You want a party? You got one. As long as you can talk a little NFL and don't mention soccer or curling, you're right at home.

What you're wearing: Bust out the maroon and silver, because downtown Missoula will be teeming with UM hoodies and hats. The Grizzlier your garb, the better. And if you're really feeling the team spirit, throw on some face paint. There are bound to be a few shirtless dudes out there on the streets, shouting and pretending the letters painted on their chests are warm enough.

Where to find it: All over town. Just check the specials boards when you walk in and watch the score. Earplugs might be a good suggestion.

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