Bozeman, Montana’s Spirit Animal: Beer Drinking Locals Decide. And It’s Not A Trout.
From the department of 'things you never thought about until you've had a few beers', Bozeman now has an unofficial spirit animal. I was privy to a conversation recently in an old-school Bozeman watering hole, in which half a dozen middle-aged college buddies were tackling the topic.
If Bozeman had a spirit animal, what would it be? This was one of the weirdest and funniest conversations I've ever been witness to. The suggestions that were tossed around, laughed about, and lobbied for, were awesome - everything from the practical to the newly-created mystical Bozeman creature. Very weird but very funny.
The black bear? Too obvious. And almost an in town nuisance. An elk? Cool and majestic but sort of boring. Magpies? So part of daily life in Bozeman but most people hate them. A trout? Too cliché and overdone...BUT..."we're onto something dude!"
So after a couple more beers, increased volume and shouting of silly options by this group at the table next to me - I insert myself into the conversation with: "What about the spirit animal of Bozeman...is the fly that every dude-man-bro has had (at some point in their life) on the brim of his ballcap?"
You know the type. Hell, I AM the type. My SLAM hat still has a custom fly on the brim to this day. It doesn't really matter what kind of fly - it's the vibe. We're talking about a spirit animal, right? Therefore, we all decided it could be a spirit, not necessarily a real animal. Pretty ingenious drunken thought process, eh?
The fly pictured is a custom mashup made with a couple of love bird feathers. No joke. It was made by the 90 year old Madison Valley fishing legend, Gordon Patton. (The same man who taught me how to fly fish when I was five, and Keith Richards when he was 65.)
This particular fly has seen better days. Not only was it actually used, but it's been banging around that hat for many years. Could be a caddis. Could be a woolly bugger. Could be a salmon fly. Doesn't matter one bit. The decision has been made by group inebriated proclamation in a downtown bar: The Unofficial Spirit Animal of Bozeman is the "Hat Brim Fly".