It's Back. It's Fall. It's Glasgow. It's Time To Pick.
Ready for some football?
The Courier's 47th annual football contest – or what's known as the 47th annual – kicks off this week on Page 6B.
Along the way in contest history, some bad math occurred.
The picture you see with this article shows the debut contest on Sept. 6, 1966 – 48 years ago. However, the contest was on the disabled list and inactive during the 2009 season – so 47th will have to do.
The contest is again a fixture on Courierland's fall sports scene, a weekly ritual for many who predict winners in each of the 21 weekly games and stuff their ballots in the box on The Courier's front counter. Each high school, college and pro game again will be sponsored by a local business advertiser over the next 10 weeks.
The contest's format and design won it an advertising award in the Montana Newspaper Association's annual judging a couple of years ago – and that look remains.
But the contest has evolved over the decades, ever since debuting during the football season in which the AFL's flashy Kansas City Chiefs lost to the NFL's pounding Green Bay Packers in what became recognized as Super Bowl I. With these few words in a box on the front page, a tradition was born: "Here it is! The big, new COURIER FOOTBALL CONTEST starts in this issue! Get your entry in today."
In the local news of the day, the football Scotties were preparing for a season opener against Williston that they would win easily, 20-6, and a Glendive firm entered a low bid of $162,000 to build an Irle School addition. In the TV listings, programs on KOOK-TV in Billings included "Petticoat Junction," "Lassie," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "Phillips 66 Weather" and "ABC's Wide World of Sports."
Back then, Courier readers predicted 12 games just as they now pick 21 – by circling the name of the teams that they think will win. But weekly first place money has doubled to $20, and a $10 weekly second place award has been added. So has a tiebreaker game – featuring your Glasgow Scotties and Dawson County in this year's first contest – in which contestants guess the final score. The closest predicted score settles things if more than one player picks the most winners.
The original $25 prize for the first person in a season to pick every winner in one week also has doubled. It's a prize that's rarely won but last year, amazingly, was different. Two contestants – Henry Flatow and Dan Frost – each picked every winner in the very same week.
Will they do it again? It's time to find out.