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Pabu's pick: ZooMontana red panda predicts San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl victory

Kay Erickson
Kay Erickson

For one last time, a Billings prognosticator agreed to make his Sunday’s Super Bowl winner prediction. Deciding between two identical bamboo stalks marked with team logos sitting side by side, Pabu the red panda chose the San Francisco 49ers as victors for Super Bowl LVIII, beating out the Kansas City Chiefs.

”It was a tough choice," said ZooMontana Director Jeff Ewelt. "[Pabu] came out pretty excited and went right for the 49ers."

Pabu did deliberate, checking out the Chiefs bamboo before going back inside his enclosure then coming back to inspect the bamboo choices again.

"When he came back out he want right back to those 49ers, so I think the 49ers have it,” Ewelt said.

Across Montana, many others are placing their bets.

The Montana Lottery reports for last year’s Super Bowl 25,636 were placed in the state with a total handle of nearly $748,000.

Melissa Roman, one of Pabu’s handlers, said she tried not to influence the red panda's pick either way.

“I did not. I’m not big on football, I hate to admit it. But I’m I told him there were snacks involved," Roman said.

This is Pabu’s last time as the zoo’s prognosticator. Ewelt hints that next year the zoo's new grizzly bear cubs may be involved.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.