SHEPHERD — When Montanans knew the Montana State University Bobcat football team was headed to the FCS championship, tickets to the game in Frisco, Texas, quickly became a hot commodity.
“We looked at buying the tickets and like every other Bobcat fan, I was like no way,” said Shepherd resident and Bobcat alum Macy Bennett on Tuesday.
Macy Bennett and her husband, Brian, first met at the Rockin R Bar in Bozeman in 2011, while Macy was studying nursing at MSU. The pair's friends met and eventually became close during college, with the group ballooning to about 22 people.
“We all came through at about the same time and had an awesome experience at MSU and an even better experience tailgating and going to the games and that’s continued through. We’ve met up for homecoming and Cat/Griz since we’ve been out of college and it just kind of continued to be a good thing for us to celebrate together," said Mandy Pokorny, one of the friends in the group.
The large group's friendship is one that extends far beyond tailgates and football games. Macy's friends have supported her every step of the way when she found out she had brain cancer in 2018 while she was 25 weeks pregnant with her son Wade.
The couple was at treatment for Macy's cancer in Rochester, Minnesota, when their son was born.
“We had another scan for her to see what was going on with her tumor. We ended up having our son, and... we didn’t even get into the other room, and we had to get scanned for a brain tumor. It was like the best thing in your life followed by the worst thing in your life," said Brian Bennett.
After 14 rounds of chemo and two brain surgeries, Macy’s tumor unfortunately came back to a place in her brain where doctors can’t operate. The family is headed out on Jan. 17 to St. John’s Cancer Institute in California for a trial treatment, but not before they see their Bobcats take on North Dakota State.
The group of friends joined forces to make sure the Bennetts received a Christmas present they'll never forget.
“It evolved fairly quickly. And within like two minutes of sending out a group text everybody said, ‘absolutely. We’re in,’” said Mandy Pokorny.
They snagged two game tickets and purchased airfare for their friends to make sure they see history from the sidelines.
“The alternative would have been to sell the tickets and just be sad that we weren't there. But now, I feel so awesome about not being there and who is going to be there," said Ryan Pokorny.
“They’ve given so much to this group of friends that it was time to give back to them," said Mack Andrews.
The Bennetts flew out of Billings on Thursday on a flight chartered by the Billings Chapter of the MSU Bobcat Club.
"In order to do good, we’ve got to forget the bad for just a little while. I think that’s why they gave it to us," Macy said. "We probably won’t be standing the whole time like we used to. I don’t have the strength. But we’ll be cheering loud."
Macy said she wanted to thank all her friends for the tickets and support the family has received over their battle with cancer. Including: Mandy and Ryan Pokorny, Riley and Millie Bennett, Cody and Kalyn Joyce, Eddie and Krystal Joyce, Dillon and Aaste Palczewski, Justin and Lauren Hill, Casey and Sam Malia, Mack and Cassie Peters, Kalvin and Anne Reichelt, Kyle Stenburg, Gwen White, Katie Pfennigs, Bob Muth.