Old Bozeman Vs. New Bozeman

After years of lopsided matchups, with Bozeman trouncing one seemingly worthy adversary after another, it’s become clear that most other places simply don’t compare. So after a lengthy search, we found the only town that might ever give Bozeman a real run for its money: Bozeman.

Despite an ever-growing plethora of trails, climbs, outdoor events, and town amenities, Bozone old-timers still lament the days gone by in the Gallatin Valley, when people were few, traffic was nonexistent, and real estate was available to folks without hedge funds. So it’s time to dig into the archives and find out which one’s really better: Old Bozeman or New Bozeman.

Unofficial Motto
Old Bozeman: “Enjoy, but keep your mouth shut.”
New Bozeman: “Got money?”
Winner: Old Bozeman

Guy/Girl Ratio
Old Bozeman: Bozeman, Mantana. It got a reputation as one gigantic sausage party for a reason. That’s probably why Bozeman has produced so many outdoor badasses—scaling rocks or hucking down mountains was way easier than chasing women.
New Bozeman: As of fall 2013, 54% of registered MSU students were male, while 46% were women, and an informal census of a local bar yielded three phone numbers, err, data points. It’s a lonely 8%, but better than the sheepish days of yesteryear.
Winner: New Bozeman

Go-To Rig
Old Bozeman: Two-tone ’76 Ford pickup loaded with hay in the summer and a dead elk in the fall.
New Bozeman: Homogenous late-model Audi with vanity plates and a $500 bike rack.
Winner: Old Bozeman

Old Bozeman: The rivers were less crowded, and Yellowstone Park has always been amazing, but Bozeman didn’t have as many professional recreators.
New Bozeman: What don’t we have? World-class rivers; thousands of rock climbs; miles of trails for hiking, biking, and running; a race every weekend; plus a free, progressive local magazine that covers all of it four times a year.
Winner: New Bozeman

Mating Rituals
Old Bozeman: In 1957, 1,000 male students engaged in a “panty raid” on MSU’s Hannon Hall. It turned into a riot that took all night to control.
New Bozeman: In 2012, a man called the city to inquire about the legality of marrying cousins and family members. He said he was having trouble meeting women.
Winner: Old Bozeman

Definition of a Dirtbag
Old Bozeman: You couldn’t afford dollar-drink night at the R Bar because you just paid the pawn shop to get your hot-plate back.
New Bozeman: You can’t afford a season pass at Big Sky because your parents sold the condo, the jerks, and now you have to pay rent.
Winner: Old Bozeman

Johnny Law
Old Bozeman: Laid-back, thick-mustachioed officers gave warnings with a smile. On their nights off, locals bought them drinks and swapped stories.
New Bozeman: Like moths to a flame, stern young cops swarm hapless residents with multiple patrol cars. “Cuff-and-stuff” outcomes are all too common.
Winner: Old Bozeman

Old Bozeman: MSU has always been a great school for agriculture, engineering, and the sciences, and institutions like Intermountain Opera and the Ellen Theatre raised the cultural profile of an otherwise provincial Montana town.
New Bozeman: MSU is growing at an amazing rate, the music and art scene is exploding, the city teems with nonprofits working toward (mostly) noble causes, and there’s a melting pot of worldly travelers and scholars inundating our valley.
Winner: New Bozeman

Score: 5 to 3. It was close (sort of), but Old Bozeman takes the cake. Chalk it up to good-ol’-days nostalgia if you must, but we prefer to think of it as a proud tribute to the days of yore. New Bozeman’s a pretty fine place to live, too—maybe we can make it even better by remembering where we came from, and preserving some of the things that got us here.