By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
If you were watching the U.S. men’s soccer team at the World Cup and saw someone with a cowboy hat in the stadium, there’s a good chance it was Wyoming’s Brian Wright.
Brian and his wife Cindy have been rooting on the U.S. men’s squad and proudly waving their “That’s WY” flag wherever there’s a camera.
Brian, from Cheyenne, and Cindy, originally from Riverton, not only have been going to the matches, they’ve appeared in World Cup advertisements and were in the front row of a “Today” show shoot on Thursday.
The ‘Today’ Show
You really couldn’t miss Brian on the “Today” show. Clad in his cowboy hat and waving the flag, he made his presence known as he has throughout the tournament.
“The whole experience of being here has been surreal,” Wright told Cowboy State Daily on Saturday. “Everyone wants to talk and meet each other. People are swapping jerseys, taking photos and selfies, and just meeting and talking to whomever then can.”
There are other cowboy hats, Wright said. But not many. He said there could be between five and 10 of them in a stadium. “But that’s out of 40,000 to 60,000 fans,” he said.
Where Is Wyoming?
Turns out, not a lot of people they’ve met don’t know where Wyoming is. But as soon as they mention it’s the state where Yellowstone is located, people get it.
“What is amazing is meeting people you find out that you have a connection to. We have actually met people with whom we have a mutual friend. It’s crazy,” he said.
The Wrights said they are “very proud” to be from Wyoming and that’s why they take the “That’s WY” flag with them to every event.
They’ve gone to eight matches so far, including the elimination match for the U.S. on Saturday where the men’s team lost to the Netherlands 3-1, and will continue to go to more.
It’s not a big trip for the Wrights. They live there, at least part time.
Brian and Cindy are teachers at the American School of Doha. Brian is a middle school teacher and Cindy teaches at the lower elementary school.
Both their daughters graduated from the school and there are some other Wyoming people that teach there as well.
They went to opening ceremony, in fact, with Sam Anderson and Alana Frick, both from Cheyenne and who also teach at the school.
As for promoting the World Cup, Brian appeared in some international advertisements. That’s because he signed up to be a “fan leader” with the organization.
He’s a big soccer fan having played soccer in the U.S. and coached as well.
Being a “fan leader” means he got a lot of benefits like touring the stadiums, getting tickets, speaking to others about the matches and appearing in promotional videos.
“I have been seeing my face on videos around the city – in the metro and digital billboards. By the way, I wore my hat for that as well,” he said.
The Wyoming Office of Tourism would undoubtedly love what the Wrights are doing with the “That’s WY” flag.
“We decided to bring it to the games and take selfies with it,” he said. “I really love talking to people about WY and sharing tips and suggestions on where to go and what to do.
“Every summer I bring back some maps and stickers to give people to help them plan their vacations when they come to Wyoming.”