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"Joe, Montana" mayor has memories of Joe Montana

The small town of Ismay, Montana was renamed Joe for the 1993 football season
Posted at 6:12 PM, Feb 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 16:21:57-05

A small eastern Montana town has a special connection to both of the teams in this year's Super Bowl.

During the1993 football season, the eastern Montana town of Ismay was known as Joe, after Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana.

Ismay is a little more than 200 miles east of Billings.

Montana was with the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1992 and the Chiefs in 1993 and 1994.

In his first season with the Chiefs, a Kansas City radio station convinced the people of Ismay to call their town Joe, Montana.

Ismay citizens sold t-shirts and memorabilia to raise money for the Joe Montana Community Center on Main Street in Ismay,

The mayor in 1993 is still the mayor...and he said 21 of the residents had a chance to visit Joe at Arrowhead Stadium.

"We had a half hour," said Ismay Mayor Gene Nemitz, who was also the mayor in 1993. "We were probably more than an hour we got to visit with him. I think he was as nervous as we were. He came out and gave a good little talk and then we just started visiting. I don't think we talked football with him, just about family and Montana and different things so I think he enjoyed the visit as much as we did."

For 26 years, they've had quite a good story to tell.

"it's part of the same old, same old, back to the Ismay history, Nemitz said. "And you know, Joe is part of the history."

Mayor Nemitz said a lot of memorabilia was sold to fans in the Bay Area, so he has an appreciation for the 49ers.

But he grew up a Chiefs fan and a Minnesota Vikings fan.

He says he and many in Ismay are rooting for the Chiefs.