Town Of Lusk Steps Up For College Football Team When Bus Burns Up

The town of Lusk, Wyoming, was quick to muster help for the South Dakota School of Mines football team Saturday night when one of its buses burned up south of town.

GJ
Greg Johnson

October 15, 20233 min read

A fire that burned up a bus carrying the South Dakota School of Mines football team's defense appears to have started in the engine.
A fire that burned up a bus carrying the South Dakota School of Mines football team's defense appears to have started in the engine. (Courtesy Anne Kiefer via Facebook)

Perhaps adding insult to injury, the South Dakota School of Mines Football team made an unexpected layover in Lusk, Wyoming, on Saturday night when one of its two buses caught fire on Highway 85 and the other had its heat go out. The Miners were on their way back to Rapid City, South Dakota, after a blowout 45-22 loss to rival Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.

Nobody was hurt, but the bus that burned was gutted down to its frame.

Stranded in the middle of Wyoming at night in the cold, the town of Lusk stepped in to help the players and coaches, said Niobrara County Sheriff Randy Starkey.

Lusk Hospitality

Used to helping out stranded motorists during Wyoming’s famously harsh and windy winters, the local school district mobilized a couple of school bus drivers to come pick up the players and coaches and took them to the Niobrara County Fairgrounds, Starkey said.

“It’s set up there to be an emergency shelter,” he said. “They have cots there and gave them blankets to warm up. That’s pretty common around here.”

They stayed at the fairgrounds until the School of Mines could get transportation to Lusk from Rapid City to take them home at about 1 a.m., he said.

  • Inside the South Dakota School of Mines bus that burned on Highway 85 south of Lusk on Saturday night.
    Inside the South Dakota School of Mines bus that burned on Highway 85 south of Lusk on Saturday night. (Courtesy Anne Kiefer via Facebook)
  • Inside the South Dakota School of Mines bus that burned on Highway 85 south of Lusk on Saturday night.
    Inside the South Dakota School of Mines bus that burned on Highway 85 south of Lusk on Saturday night. (Courtesy Anne Kiefer via Facebook)

A Great Impression

That the town would take in the stranded players and coaches on a cold night over a weekend says a lot about the character of Lusk, said Anne Kiefer.

Kiefer lives in Colorado and is the mother of a former Miners football player. She was at Saturday’s game and keeps in close contact with the program. She posted photos of the burned-out bus shared by players and parents.

“Some of the parents were sharing those around from what their children were taking,” she said.

Kiefer said she and other program boosters are grateful nobody was hurt and for the help the town showed the players.

She also said that it’s not surprising both buses broke down.

“They’ve been having busing problems as long as I can remember,” she said.

Starkey also said he’s glad everything worked out, although the irony isn’t lost on him that one bus burned up while another was not drivable because it was too cold inside.

“Yeah, how about that?” he said. “What are the chances?”

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GJ

Greg Johnson

Managing Editor

Veteran Wyoming journalist Greg Johnson is managing editor for Cowboy State Daily.