There are a lot of tourists floating around Montana these days, especially this time of year. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether that person sporting cowboy boots is a true Montanan or just fresh off the plane. Here's how you tell the difference between a tourist and a local.
1. If they have a bear spray canister strapped to their hip while strolling downtown, you can bet it’s a tourist. The locals know if you do run into a bear downtown, it’s not going to be a grizzly.
2. If they are sporting a pair of brand new, untouched cowboy boots, you can bet it’s a tourist. A real cowboy’s boots have been through the mud.
3. If they don’t smile or at least throw a nod your way when you pass on the street, you can bet it’s a tourist. It took us a while to get used to this one, but hey, not everyone can be as friendly as a Montanan.
4. If they are blocking traffic to take a photo of a deer, you can bet it’s a tourist. Remember, those 35 deer photos are the only piece of Montana they get to take home with them. That and a “Hike Montana” t-shirt.
5. If you overhear them complaining about the lack of vegan restaurants in Montana, you can bet it’s a tourist. Montanan vegans know the ratio of vegans to meat eaters is not in their favor.
6. If they are chasing their cowboy hat down the street, you can bet it’s a tourist. Everyone knows that a real cowboy’s hat doesn’t fall off, no matter how strong the wind.
7. If you hear them complaining about how “boring” Montana is, you can bet it’s a tourist. Real Montanans know that there are countless things to do on any given day. In fact, they were probably on their way to fish a river or climb a mountain when they overheard that absurd comment.
8. If you pass someone on a dirt road and they don’t give you the dirt-road-wave, you can assume it’s a tourist. A true Montanan won’t pass a car on a rural road without giving a friendly wave.
9. If their road rage is out of control, you can bet it’s a tourist. This one is a sore spot for all of us locals. Don’t bring your big-city-road-rage to our generally pleasant streets. Laying on your horn won’t get you anywhere around here.
10. If you spot them loading a baby bison in the back of their car, you can bet it’s a tourist. Wait….too soon?