The Wisconsin Badgers made their first ever visit to Provo, Utah to play BYU over the weekend. And the football game made history in more than one way. While Wisconsin got the victory 40-6 on the field, the real winner may have been the Provo economy.
You see, there are apparently two bars in Provo, Utah, a town of over 115,000 people. (That fact may not be surprising given the incredibly high percentage of Mormon residents at 98%.) And both of them were filled to the brim over the weekend thanks to all the traveling Badger fans that made the trip, even making plans to open early to accommodate the extra traffic.
In fact, the bars reported to the Salt Lake Tribune that they did record business over the weekend:
Whiting said ABG’s capacity is 128 people and that the bar was “packed” for three hours with patrons who were “a little loud,” but otherwise were the best group of traveling fans he’s seen in 27 years of ownership.
“Financially, it‘s the biggest day I’ve ever had here,” he said, adding that it was “triple” what the bar’s normal income would be from a regular day.
And this anecdote may be one of the best all-time that I have ever seen.
Liz Burley has been working at City Limits for about three weeks and was bartending Friday night for Provo’s Pride Festival crowd and Saturday morning for the Wisconsin crowd.
One fan, Burley recalls, brought a sign to the bar that read “Drink Wisconsinably.”
It’s one thing to have a “Drink Wisconsinably” sign in your possession. But it’s next level to actually take it on the road with you. Where does that thing go during the game? Do you bring a stand along with you to sit it on at the bar? Do you leave it as a memento to the bar you’ve visited because you have a trunkload of dozens more? So many questions…
Inside ABG's Bar in Provo that opened early for Badgers fans. The owner told me he "only expected a couple of people." pic.twitter.com/x50AMUvS0z
— Alec Ausmus (@A_Twice27) September 16, 2017
And the best part of the story seems to be that everyone got along over the weekend.
Whiting had never opened the bar early before and doesn’t follow sports closely, but considers serving Provo patrons and visitors to Utah alike as “community service.”
“It was a wonderful thing,” he said. “The people from Wisconsin are fabulous. They‘re the nicest, funnest people we’ve ever had here.”
Since the game, the atmosphere, and the boon to the local economy were all smashing successes, maybe BYU should send an invite to Wisconsin to come out to Utah every year. I think they’ve found in each other college football soulmates.