Five of the biggest Best of Missoula upsets

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We're celebrating tomorrow's 17th annual Best of Missoula issue with a look back at past contests. Yesterday, we highlighted categories that have dropped off the ballot over the years. Today, we look at some of the bigger upsets* in Best of Missoula history.

While our readers' poll does have many repeat winners, these should dispel any notion that the same people and businesses take top honors year after year.

In reverse order:
(Text is from the blurb that year)

5. Five Guys ties Mo Club for Best Hamburger, 2010
Upset alert! Throughout 16 years of Best of Missoula voting, very few national chains have crept into the winner’s circle. But perhaps Five Guys isn’t a typical chain. The Washington, D.C.-based burger joint-often called the In-N-Out of the East, and known as one of President Obama’s favorite spots-serves up double-patties topped with any condiment you could ever possibly want. The Missoula Club needs less of an introduction. This downtown institution-better known as the Mo Club, and visited by former President Clinton during his wife’s presidential primary campaign-is cherished for its handmade patties and down-home atmosphere. This type of epic standoff reminds us of the Gore-Bush race in 2000-and makes us very hungry.

4. Sherry Devlin wins Best Journalist, 1998
Alas, for the first time in history, Independent editor Dan Oko was unseated from his previously undefeated reign as Best Journalist. The honors this time around go to a Missoulian institution, environmental beat reporter Sherry Devlin (though our own Zach Dundas tied with cops/courts reporter Michael Moore for second place).

3. Larchmont out-drives UM for Best Golf Course, 2010
The University of Montana Golf Course has always reached the green first in this category, but this year it gets passed on the leaderboard by the municipal course near Fort Missoula. Larchmont’s appeal is largely in its wide-open, player-friendly design. According to a few hacks we’ve spoken to, the course’s most challenging holes are the par-4 13th, which measures 468 yards from the back tees, and the course’s longest hole, the 570-yard, par-5 fourth. Judging by the twosome we saw playing one unseasonably frigid June afternoon, it would appear nothing would stop Larchmont’s dedicated players from conquering those holes.

2. Fuddruckers actually beat Mo Club in '99.
Talk about Populism in action! Fuddruckers pulled off what was once thought to be impossible by defeating the incumbent Missoula Club, who had dominated this category since its inception in 1995. The Dinosaur Cafe battled for third, narrowly escaping from neighborhood favorite Del's Place.

1. The Historic Wilma came in third, also '99.
Some anonymous Internet crank recently complained that Montana is plagued with "movie geeks." We're not really sure what that means. But most of you celluloid addicts out there voted for volume, 'cause you gave the first-place ranking to Missoula's new, mighty Carmike 10 multiplex. Let the record state, though, that it was a narrow win over the artsy New Crystal. Plus, The Wilma made a decent showing in third. Take that, web geek.

Now that you're ready, remember the free Best of Missoula party at Caras Park tomorrow at 5:30. Music. Food. Drinks. Mechanical surfboard. And probably a celebratory upset or two.

*Editor's note: If you caught the fact that our Best of Missoula retrospectives were limited to the years 2008-2010 and 1998-1999, you'd be correct. It appears 2000-2007 are lost in the interwebs and not currently online. We're working on that.

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