Fans and families struggle to find affordable hotels in Bozeman for state tournament


BOZEMAN – The state basketball tournament draws crowds from across the state to Bozeman. But some parents fear they won’t be able to come due to high hotel prices in Bozeman.

It’s no surprise that things in Bozeman cost more, but for some parents, finding a hotel to cheer on their kids at the state basketball tournament has made it a little more difficult.

“You’re used to being able to be a fan and attend these events without having to worry about what happens next,” says parent Pete Stiffarm.

The concern of parents of Harlem High School students on the Hi-Line is the high cost of hotels.

Edgar Cedillo – MTN NEWS

The state basketball tournament draws crowds from across the state to Bozeman. But some parents fear they won’t be able to come due to high hotel prices in Bozeman.

“Parents who have kids playing who may no longer be able to attend because they just can’t afford it,” Stiffarm says

Parents like Amy Murdoch were unable to book an affordable hotel in Bozeman, so for her the easiest option was to move.

“We’ll be staying in Livingston, so hopefully the weather will be good,” said Amy Murdock, a mother.

The general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn in Bozeman explains that Bozeman’s hospitality industry is unique because of demand.

“Tourists coming to town, we have a lot of other demand drivers, another big one is the university,” says Patrick Morrisey

To break down the numbers, we looked at six hotel prices for Bozeman, Great Falls and Billings, on Hotels.com and looked at a stay for a family of four, 2 adults and 2 children, Friday through Sunday. Bozeman was the highest at an average of $352, Great Falls averaged $176, and by far the cheapest was Billings at just under $140 per night.

“That’s a lot of money, I mean it’s more than a month’s rent in a lot of places in Harvard,” Stiffarm says.

Not only cost him but a community.

“Unfortunately, this is making it increasingly difficult not just for me and my family, but for the community as a whole,” Stiffarm says.

As the Hi-Line community celebrates a historic season, they fear that not everyone will be able to cheer on their home team in Bozeman.

“It’s the first time the boys and girls have shown up,” Stiffarm says.

Murchok and Stiffarm say they’re willing to watch their sons, no matter the cost.

“We’re going to go anyway, the only dilemma is to travel and spread out our kids a bit,” Murdock said.

The only thing they look forward to is encouraging their children.

“Go Harlem Wildcats and Ladycats!” says Stiffarm

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