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Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh: Look For Old Blood Feud Feel As Wyoming Cowboys Take On BYU

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By Dave Walsh, columnist

The Front-Range rivalry was on full display last week in War Memorial Stadium.  And the Cowboys picked up a big win against Air Force, made even bigger in that it was a conference win.

This week the Cowboys step out, on the road, for their last non-conference game on the schedule.  And the Pokes will step back in time for a re-kindling of a long-time, blood-feud rivalry. 

There are many different types of rivalries.  Some are backyard, close-to-home, downright nasty rivalries.  They are much like what Wyoming and Colorado State have with the annual Border War.  That rivalry has covered three different centuries. It started in 1899! 

Tomorrow’s late niter in Provo, Utah, takes us back in time, and back to a rivalry that seemed to be a real battle of wills, and even cultures.  It was the heathens from Wyoming against squeaky-clean BYU.  The hard-working and hard-living Cowboys against the clean-livers from BYU.   

The Wyoming –BYU game featured two-teams that proved the old adage that “familiarity breeds contempt”.  These two really didn’t like each other for many reasons, and would play each other just about every season for 90 years.  And they played each other every single game as members of the same conference. 

I was privileged to bear witness to the last 24 Wyoming-BYU blood feuds.  And from the first one I announced in 1984, I got the immediate “feel” of a rivalry game.  There’s an unmistakable extra dose of intensity, it seems, in those rivalry match-ups. 

So, that rivalry “feel” is something we’ll look for in tomorrow night’s Cowboy-Cougar game. 

The last time the Pokes played BYU was six seasons ago.  It was the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl, and was the only time in 79 meetings that the two teams met in a non-conference game.  The last time the two met as conference foes was in 2010, 12 years ago, in Provo. 

Two of my most memorable Wyoming games over the last 38 football seasons were two Wyoming–BYU matchups.  And they came in back-to-back seasons in the late 1980s.  The Pokes season opener in 1988 was played in Laramie against the old rival, BYU.  It was the first-ever Wyoming home game played under the lights.  And the Cowboys won, and were off and running to a second straight Western Athletic Conference championship. 

It was the year before, in 1987, when Paul Roach’s first Cowboy team, went to Provo and pulled-off the unimaginable.  A victory over BYU was hard to come by back then, and one in Provo was simply unthinkable. 

It was Wyoming’s sixth game of the season. They were 3-2 going in.  But the Pokes were 2-0 in WAC play, after wins over Air Force and San Diego State in Laramie.  Now it was off to mighty BYU, where the Cowboys hadn’t won in 11 years.  The Pokes had lost their last five in Provo. 

And it didn’t start well for the Cowboys.  It may have been October 10th, but the weather was near perfect in Provo that day.  The early afternoon kickoff took place under clear skies and 75 degrees.  And the home team took charge, and led the Cowboys, 14-0 at halftime.   

Then came the second half.  And then came the Cowboys.   

The Cougars may have won the first half.  But the Cowboys took charge and owned the second half. 

The Cowboys, with Craig Burnett at the controls, took their first possession, went right down the field and scored.  Burnett threw to Wyoming local, tight end Tom Kilpatrick, from four yards out for the touchdown.  And the Cowboys were off and running, and passing. 

The Pokes would score 29 unanswered points.  Burnett was 14 of 20, for 163 yards, and three touchdowns during the comeback.  The great Gerald Abraham would run for a touchdown and end up as the leading rusher in the game with 87 yards.  The Wyoming defense would control the BYU offense, and the Cowboys shocked everyone with a 29-27 victory over the highly-favored BYU Cougars.  

It was a Wyoming win over BYU, in Provo!  It was the only one I saw in my 12 Wyoming-BYU broadcasts there.  It was one of the most memorable road wins that I recall, and without a doubt, one of the most important conference road wins ever for the Cowboys.  

And that’s the last Wyoming win in Provo.  The Cowboys have lost the last nine times they’ve played BYU there.

But that was then, this is now.  Let’s see if this game tomorrow night even has that “rivalry feel”, and how these Cowboys handle this big challenge on the road. 

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Dave Walsh:  Wyoming Against Air Force Should Bear Fruit Of Good Rivalry 

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By Dave Walsh, columnist

Wyoming vs. Air Force is one of those special games that pops up on the Cowboy Football schedule each year.    It’s special for so many reasons, but I think made so much so, because it’s just so “interesting”. 

The Wyoming – Air Force game is “special” because it is a game against a Front-Range rival.   It’s a game played every year against a school that is located in the same region.  And the Cowboys and Falcons have been playing one another, just about every season since 1957. 

The two programs have also recruited some of the same players over the years.  But that goes with the location factor.  The two programs are located just a few hours apart, and the state of Colorado is common ground.  This rare Friday-niter will be the 6th time the two have knocked heads. 

The Wyoming – Air Force game is “special” because it is a conference game.  These two have played one another as members of the same conference since 1980.   

The first 18 games played in the series were not conference games, but the last 42 Cowboy – Falcon games have been Western Athletic Conference or Mountain West Conference match-ups.  There’s always just a little extra intensity displayed by both teams in a conference game.  So a tad more physicality will undoubtedly be an added  factor in this week’s league game for the Cowboys.  

This particular Wyoming – Air Force game is made a little more “special” because it is the “first” conference game of the year for both teams.  It’s always important to get off to a good start in the long race for a regular season Conference Title. 

And make no mistake, the Cowboys and Falcons both have league championship intentions, and that big goal begins now for Wyoming and Air Force, in this Cowboy – Falcon game. 

The way the Falcons go about things on offense is interesting.  The Air Force offense is unique,

And just how the Cowboys go about defending that interesting offense, is very “interesting” in itself.  Strategy in all phases of the game is very much a part of the broad appeal of the sport.  And how the Cowboy “D” contends with the Falcons “O”, is always a big factor, and a major challenge. 

And on the other side of the ball, when the Cowboys have it, just how the Falcon “D” lines–up and defends the Cowboy “O” is just as interesting. 

These two teams, these two regional and conference foes, are very familiar with one another.  And this particular game, the Wyoming – Air Force game, has morphed into a “rivalry” of sorts.  And that’s “interesting”. 

The Wyoming – Air Force game has developed a bit of an edge to it.  It has the feel of a rivalry game.  It’s not necessarily the feel of a blood feud.  It doesn’t have the nastiness that other rivalries have.  It’s more of a friendly rivalry.  There seems to be a great deal of respect, and less disdain, that one might see in a bitter rivalry. 

At least, that’s the way it looks from here. 

This particular match-up bears the fruit of a good rivalry.  The Wyoming – Air Force game is historically close.  It’s guaranteed to be hotly-contested, great intensity from start to finish. 

The series is almost dead even, the Cowboys have 27 wins, the Falcons have 29, and there have been three ties.  There is a slight home-field advantage for both teams, but the Cowboys have won 12 times in Colorado Springs, and Air Force has beaten the Cowboys 11 times in Laramie. 

I have a special place in my heart for the Wyoming – Air Force game.  One of the best Cowboy Football games I had the privilege to witness and announce was the 1988 game played in Falcon Stadium.  

That was the “biggest comeback ever” game, the game in which the Cowboys scored 31 points in the 4th quarter, to beat the Falcons, 48-45.  

That win made the Cowboys 4-0, and well on their way to an all-time, single-season best with 11 wins.  The ’88 Cowboys would make a perfect 8-0 run through the Western Athletic Conference for a back-to-back league championship.  And just a few weeks ago, the 1988 Cowboy Football Team was inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame. 

I have no idea how this week’s game ends up, but I will predict 

this Wyoming – Air Force game will be special. 

And it will be interesting.  

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Dave Walsh: NFL Should Learn From College Football’s Equal Opportunity Overtime Rules 

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By Dave Walsh
Cowboy State Daily columnist 

I sure do like the way college football handles its overtimes.   

And sure, that big Wyoming win last Saturday helped me realize why I prefer the college way in overtime.

And, of course, the way last year’s AFC Championship Game ended, in overtime, sure served as a reminder as to why I prefer the college way in overtime.   

Not that Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense never got an opportunity to participate had anything to do with it.  Of course not.  Well, OK, maybe it did.  

I must admit, in watching many an NFL game, even games that went to overtime, I don’t remember having a care, one way or the other.  

But the way that one ended really seemed to point out the glaring flaw in NFL overtime rules.  The fact that it was such a big game, a playoff game no less, brought a little extra attention, I suppose. 

For those reasons, and I’m sure there are others, the format for NFL overtimes was changed.  Yes, it was changed.  But when it was changed it was changed for playoff games only.  The regular, flawed format would remain in regular season games.   

Well, the NFL’s regular season has just begun. It will be interesting to see what would happen if the league had made the college overtime setup a new rule in all pro games. 

This isn’t a debate on which game is better overall.  This isn’t about whether the NFL is better than the college football example.  It’s not even a preference comparison.  Which is better, which do you prefer?    

No, we’re just talking “overtimes” here. 

It just seems right, I mean it only seems fair that both teams have an equal “opportunity” to claim victory.  When so much football has been played, only to finish tied, both teams have earned the right to victory.  

And both teams should have an equal chance at it.  One team should not have an advantage in that regard.   

And a coin toss should never be a factor in giving one team an advantage over the other.  

If the team that wins the toss is given the football with the guarantee of a victory if that team scores a touchdown in that possession, well, that’s an advantage.  

If scoring a touchdown means “game over”, well, that’s an advantage.  It provides a bit more motivation to an offense that can literally end the game with a touchdown.  There’s a little boost of intensity to the team that has the ball, and a lot of extra pressure on the team that doesn’t. 

It just doesn’t seem right that either team has any kind of advantage going into overtime.  Other than the obvious advantages that have been there the entire game.  

Like playing on your home field, for example.  The home team has that advantage built in.  

The home field advantage is real, in so many ways, and that’s the way it is in football.  In fact, that’s just the way it is in all sports.  

But that’s it.  The home field is a factor in overtime, but it should be the only advantage.   

It was so much fun to see all of the outstanding qualities of overtime play in college football play-out last Saturday.  The Cowboys definitely had the overwhelming support of the locals in attendance.  

And the home crowd was treated to a wonderful display of effective offense, defense, and special teams play for the entirety of regulation play.  

The Cowboys were full of big plays on offense, almost all coming in comeback mode.  The Cowboy defense, and the Wyoming special teams even got into the act, both units scored touchdowns! 

And then came overtime.  After finishing regulation play tied at 34, it was time for OT, college style.   

That’s when each team gets an equal chance.  That’s when both offenses will have their opportunity.  The defenses for both teams will have their shot in overtime.  And, of course, as was the case in Saturday’s win for the Pokes, special teams had a big say in the outcome.   The Cowboy field-goal unit came up big in overtime. 

This is just one football fan’s observation.   When it comes to overtimes, college football has it figured out.  

Equal opportunity prevails, and when a game goes to overtime, it gets even better.  And being a fan of the pro game too, I hope the NFL is getting into the act, and changing its overtime format for the regular season as well. 

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Dave Walsh Bobbleheads To Be Given Away Saturday To Thank Dave For 38 Years

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By Dave Walsh, columnist
Cowboy State Daily

It’s been two months since the decision was made.  It’s been 60 days since the announcement came out that I had decided to step away from the play-by-play microphone for Cowboy Football broadcasts. 

And the outpouring of support and congratulations has been overwhelming.  The positive response has been impressive.  I have been so honored by it all.  The number of texts and emails and phone calls have been so appreciated.  It’s really hard to express just how much. 

And it continues.   

There will be another special recognition that will take place at the Cowboy’s home opener in War Memorial Stadium on Saturday.  

Saturday’s game versus Tulsa will provide the venue for yet another special, and very unique, honor bestowed on myself, and my long-time broadcast partner and friend, Kevin McKinney.   

Behold and beware, the Bobblehead!   

Kevin McKinney and Dave Walsh Bobbleheads will be available!

The accolades, the wonderful comments and honors continue, in a most unique way. More on the Bobblehead below, but the Bobblehead comes on the heels of many personal and public tributes.   

Kevin and I were both inducted into the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015.  It was an incredible honor, made especially so by being inducted with Kevin.  We had done so many broadcasts together, in fact, all of them.  Every Cowboy Basketball radio broadcast for 36 years, and every Cowboy Football radio broadcast over the last 26 years, we were there for the call. 

And to be honored by our peers in the business, well, that’s a big deal!  To go into the WAB Hall of Fame is a great thrill, and to be inducted with your broadcast partner and friend, takes it beyond special. 

For me personally, another overwhelming honor came my way one year later.  It was another very special recognition that took place in the Fall of 2016.  I was inducted into the University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame.  Wow!  What an honor for the Voice of the Cowboys.  

I was still doing games too.  And to become a member of the UW Hall of Fame, the same Hall of Fame that houses so many great UW athletes and coaches I had known.  I had announced their games, and now I was being included in this group of Hall of Famers. 

Just two years ago I was presented with another unexpected tribute.  The National Football Foundation bestowed upon me the annual Chris Schenkel Award.  This goes to “individuals with long, distinguished careers broadcasting college football with direct ties to a specific university”.  

The 38 years of having the honor to announce Wyoming Football was the real award.  Not that the recognition wasn’t.  The Chris Schenkel Award was a wonderful ”perk”. 

And how about this?!   

Just a few weeks ago, I was honored with a seat in the Platte County Fair parade.  That’s right, I was provided my own tractor-driven ride.   

My old friend, Chuck Brown, was my driver.  There was a beautiful, carefully designed “Voice of the Cowboys” float that preceded us in the parade.   Yep, we were in the parade, making our way in front of a supportive crowd along the parade route in Wheatland, Wyoming. 

And now, well, on Saturday, on what promises to be a beautiful summer-like day in the Gem City, here comes another recognition.  There will be something during a time-out early in the game. 

But there will also be a very unique, kind of quirky, presentation made.  Actually, about 5,000 of them.   

BOBBLEHEADS!  

Kevin McKinney and Dave Walsh Bobbleheads!  Five-thousand will be handed out to fans as they enter War Memorial Stadium.  It’s a two-for-one deal.  Both of us, Kevin and Dave, will be bobblin’ away on the same Bobblehead. 

And what a great tribute, one that will hold a special place in my heart.  It’s like having a little miniature statue, sculpted in your honor.  It’s different, it’s sincere, and it’s heartfelt.  And it’s a tribute that I was selected to share with Kevin.   Many thanks to the great folks at UniWyo Credit Union for financing the Bobblehead giveaways.  

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect this kind of congratulatory support from so many.  It has been truly overwhelming and uplifting.   

I’ll never forget the kind words, the parades, and certainly the Bobbleheads.  I will always be appreciative, I promise. 

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Dave Walsh: University Of Wyoming Cowboy Football Is Here

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By Dave Walsh, columnist

Game Week is pretty much over. 

It’s now Zero Week!

I know, I’m trying to get this new term that is being tossed about.  OK.  Zero Week it is.  Whatever moniker you want to put on it, it’s a great thing! 

College Football begins the 2022 season now.  On Saturday, the 27th of August, the great game, the very popular sport nationwide, College Football, leads the way and gives its participants, their coaches, and yes, their fans, just what they have been yearning for.  The wait and anticipation for all concerned and involved, is over.

And isn’t it great that the Wyoming Cowboys will be taking part in Zero Week!

I’m one of those who is always interested in the start any football season, I’ve always been “in” on the start of College Football, no matter who’s getting it going.  But this year, the Cowboys are part of the opening day line-up, and that means I’m “all in”. 

The Cowboys are one of just 22 FBS teams that will get their seasons, and the College Football season, underway.  The Wyoming-Illinois match-up is one of 11 Zero Week games to be played across America.  And Wyoming is one of five Mountain West Conference teams involved.  So there’s plenty of curiosity to go around here.

This particular start to the football season still seems a lot more interesting because of the Cowboys.  And the fact they are involved in Zero Week.  The August start to a Cowboy Football season isn’t so unusual.  The Pokes have begun their season in the month of August 12 times in the last 30 seasons, since their first-ever August game in 1991.  But this season’s August start is the third in the last 5 years.  And the Cowboys, historically, have done very well in August.  Wyoming has won their last three, and five of their last six games played in August.  The Pokes are 6-4 overall in August.

So, this will be 11th time the Cowboys have started in August. 

But what about Zero Week?  What about being one of the select few that is first in the nation to play?  How many times has Cowboy Football been here?

Exactly, once.

Just a few seasons ago, to start the 2018 season, the Cowboys travelled to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to play New Mexico State.  The Pokes and Aggies opened their seasons on August 25th, and for the first time the Cowboys played Zero Week.   The Cowboys blasted New Mexico State that Zero Week, 29-7. 

That victory at New Mexico State happens to be the last time the Cowboys opened their season, on the road, with a victory.  That opening-season, road win, was the first since 1967 for Cowboy Football, when the Pokes beat Arizona in Tucson.  The Cowboys had lost their last 12 season–openers, away from Laramie.

So, here we have the Wyoming Cowboys and their season opener.  Made even more interesting that their opener is part of Zero Week.  Heck, that’s enough right there to peak the interest of this Cowboy Football fan.

Oh, but there’s more!

The Cowboys will open their season, and Zero Week, on the road.   And, they will be playing a team from The Big Ten Conference!

Yes, that Big Ten.  The Illinois Fighting Illini lay in wait.  That team, from that big-time, big-name conference, will host the Cowboys.  And it is true that Wyoming has struggled against teams from that big-time, big-name conference over the years.  Wyoming is 1-19 versus the Big Ten!  The Cowboys are 0-8 against Nebraska, their most common Big 10 opponent.  The Pokes are 0-3 versus Iowa, and 0-3 against Michigan State.  Iowa was Wyoming’s last Big Ten opponent in the 2017 season-opener, in Iowa City. 

Ironically, the only Wyoming victory over a Big Ten team, came on the road, in Madison, Wisconsin.  It was the fourth game of the 1986 season, Dennis Erickson’s only season as Head Coach of the Cowboys.  And the Pokes went into Big Ten country, and beat a Big Ten team, 21-12.

So here it is!  It’s finally here!  Cowboy Football is back!

Cowboy Football is back, on the road, Zero Week, against Illinois.

And Wyoming will be the underdog.   Illinois is favored, by double digits by some.

So, what else is new?  That’s expected, especially in this scenario.

I think the Cowboys are comfortable with all that.  The Pokes seem to take a little extra motivation into games like this.  There is a little extra intensity displayed in games like this.

So let’s not be too surprised by the outcome in this one.  I think the Cowboys will play well, and have a shot to win in Champaign!

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Dave Walsh: Wyoming College Football Is One Week Away

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By Dave Walsh
Cowboy State Daily columnist

We have reached Game Week.  And it’s not just us, not just we Cowboy Football Fans I mean.  There are others who will see their favorites begin their much-anticipated seasons in a week. 

But it is Game Week for the Wyoming Cowboys, and that’s what has my interest.  The Pokes will kick off their season next Saturday in Illinois.  Oh, I understand that other teams, even in the Mountain West Conference, are starting their seasons on August 27th

Sure, Utah State will be hosting Connecticut in Logan, and UNLV will play Idaho State in the City of Lights, that same day. Nevada plays at New Mexico State, and Hawaii plays Vanderbilt that evening in Honolulu.  I heard all that somewhere.

Doesn’t matter.  The one game that will be played on College football’s Opening Day that has me held captive is that Wyoming versus Illinois, Wyoming versus the Big Ten, Wyoming’s first game of the season. 

I’m finding that even though the situation is completely different, my personal feelings toward the upcoming Cowboy Football season really hasn’t changed.  It’s just the approach to this particular season that has changed.

Generally, at least over the last 38 Cowboy Football seasons. the old Voice of the Cowboys would be in hot preparation.  With the first game, and our first broadcast, just a week away, we were all in final preparations. 

I was building spotter boards and compiling broadcast notes, and possible tidbits at the touch.  The days during Game Week were spent with such busy work, the evenings were spent reading and studying the outstanding game notes provided by Tim Harkins and his great staff in the Wyoming Athletics Media Relations Department.  I’d mix in a bit of print, broadcast, and internet info as part of the final preparation of Game Week.

I must admit that there will still be some Game Week prep still being done here, but not quite with the intensity of previous seasons.  I still can’t help but want to know as much about any Cowboy game, but now my experience will be more from a fan perspective. 

I also must admit that this will take of a bit of “getting used to”, but it’s also a different angle to take in Cowboy Football that I’m very much looking forward to.   And it’s not just the challenge of keeping my mouth shut during the game that has peeked my interest. 

I’m actually excited about watching and enjoying Cowboy Football without having to describe it.  I can’t wait to let out a cheer, or sing Cowboy Joe, whenever I want.  I’ve always cheered for the Cowboys anyway, but now it will be more acceptable I suppose.

I’ve always been quick to admit that I do have strong feelings for Cowboy Football, that I have not been just the Voice of the Cowboys, but I have been a fan too.  And to me, that’s just been a case of stating the obvious.  I think anyone who ever heard 30 seconds of a Cowboy Football radio broadcast could tell.  You could hear the “homer” in me, I admit it.   Oh, there was always the main concern of describing the action, making sure the listener knew what was going on.  But it was also apparent to all just who I was broadcasting for. 

 Well now I can openly declare my allegiance and “voice” my passion for the Cowboys like a fan.  And since it is Game Week, like most Cowboy fans, I’m counting the days.  And this season, since it is the first in my new role, we are extending Game Week by one day.  Game Week technically begins Sunday, but I think most First Game “Game Weeks” might start a little early anyway.

We Cowboy Football fans have been thinking about Cowboy Football for a long time now.  The tried and true Cowboy fans started looking forward to this season right when last season ended with a bowl win in Boise.  We had our passion stoked even more with the Spring Game in April.  The start of Fall Drills always gives us a jolt.  We’ve been pining for the Cowboys and wondering about the Fighting Illini for weeks. 

 But Game Week is a milestone of sorts.  And it tells us that the good stuff is coming, and coming soon. 

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Dave Walsh: Wyoming Football Starts In 2 Weeks

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily columnist

We are a mere fortnight from the start of college football really, the very beginning of Cowboy football to be sure.  There are football sounds being heard in neighborhoods all over this great land, and very much so in our great land.  Wyoming’s high schools are getting ready, and the Cowboys have been hard at it in fall drills.  And now, well, two weeks from now, Wyoming plays Illinois to start things in the much-anticipated 2022 Season.

Football fans are pretty-much all-in by now.  At the very least, the obsession has begun for those who have a passion for the game.  I love the pre-season talk that goes with being a passionate fan.  Oh like, how important that running game will be.  Or, just how important it will be for the defense to stop the run.  Football interest, whether it be high school, college, NFL, or all of the above, is on the rise.

And even though my particular participation in Cowboy Football has changed, a lot of my passion and interest, has not.  The game has had its grip on me for as long as I can remember, well over 60 years since the first moment of being smitten by football.  And almost four decades of flat-out, first-class Cowboy Crazy.   I’ll not deny it.  I was the Cowboy Radio announcer, but I was also a big-time fan.

So here we are, a week away from game week, and just two weeks from the Season Opener itself.  The Curtain Lifter will take place in Champaign/Urbana Illinois.  The Cowboys have never played there, in fact, the Pokes haven’t ever played Illinois.  Not in 125 years of Cowboy Football!  Let’s see.  First game, on the road, at the home stadium of a Big Ten team.  I’m in!  My Cowboy Football obsession has begun.

The early word out of fall camp has been mostly about how positive and genuinely excited the Cowboys are for the upcoming season.  And much of the most positive results are coming from that all-important aspect of “running the football”.  Much of the Cowboys experience lies in the offensive line, and with an experienced Titus Swen to carry much of the load, the Cowboys appear very capable in the running game.

This really is nothing new.  In fact, running the football, is a Cowboy tradition.

Now I know that being able to run the ball is important to most, if not every offense.  In some, it is everything.  Rushing the ball is all they do.  But even in a pass-happy offense, the running game, and its effectiveness, is important.

And the Cowboys have always been dedicated to doing that very thing, rushing the football.  The top ten Cowboy career rushing leaders established their career totals in the last 38 years.  And I had the privilege to broadcast just about every one of their games.  A top ten list made up of Brian Hill, the all time leader with more than 4,000 yards, and followed by Devin Moore, Ryan Christopherson, Wynel Seldon and Marques Brigham.  Shaun Wick, Gerald Abraham, Xazavian Valladay, Derek Armah, and Kevin Lowe round out the top ten.  I saw them all.

I was also fortunate to witness nine of the 10 single-game performances ever.  Dave Evans had the 10th-best single-game rushing total for the Cowboys, against Colorado State in 1984.  I remember that game, in Fort Collins, when Evans, the Cowboy fullback, ran over and through the Rams for 228 yards.  Evans ran the ball 29 times, averaging almost eight yards a carry, and scored two touchdowns. 

The Great Myron Hardeman ran for a then-record 230 yards against San Diego State in 1978.  That’s still the 9th-best single-game total.

Brian Hill, Wyoming’s career-rushing leader, had four of the eight top single-game bests.  Ryan Christopherson had the fourth-best single game total, Shaun Wick and Devin Moore are tied for the 6th-best game in Cowboy history.

I saw them all, but the one I remember most is the top scoring game of them all. 

The Wyoming single-game rushing record was set in 1984, in a late-season non-conference game against South Dakota State.  And it still stands, some 38 seasons later.  It was my first season in the Cowboy Football broadcast booth, and in just my 11th Cowboy broadcast, Wyoming running back, Kevin Lowe, ran for a record 302 yards.  He got all those yards in just 10 carries, an incredible 30.2 yards per carry.  Lowe scored three touchdowns that crisp November afternoon in War Memorial Stadium.  He would score on two 76-yard TD runs, and would put the game away on an 87-yard touchdown run.  The Cowboys would score 45 points that day, and win big.

A strong running game has always been a top priority for the Cowboys.  It will be no different for this Wyoming team.

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Dave Walsh: Wyoming’s 1988 Football Team Heading To Hall Of Fame

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By Dave Walsh, columnist

It was the fall of 1992 when Wyoming’s Director of Athletics, Paul Roach, put together a committee. 

This committee, on which I was honored to serve, was to select the very first Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame class.  That very first induction ceremony would take place one year later, in the fall of 1993.  The establishment of the Hall of Fame was the cornerstone event in the celebration and anniversary of 100 years of Cowboy Football.

There were nine individuals and one team inducted into that first class.   Iconic Wyoming athletes like Cowboy Football players Jerry Hill and Mike Dirks, and two-sport stars, Jay Novacek and Johnny Winterholler. 

Cowboy Basketball stars Kenny Sailors and Fennis Dembo, All-American Wrestler, Dick Ballinger, and legendary Athletic Director, Glenn “Red” Jacoboy, and Ev Shelton, the equally-legendary Cowboy Basketball Coach, made up the list of individuals.  And the 1943 NCAA Championship Men’s Basketball Team, coached by Shelton, was the first team to be inducted in the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame.

The 29th Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame Class will be honored and inducted on Friday, September 2nd, the night before the Cowboys home opener against Tulsa.  And just like all of the previous classes, this year’s group is a “who’s who” of Cowboy and Cowgirl greats.

This year’s Hall of Fame class will feature six individuals and one team. 

Two Cowboy Football players, Walter Goffigan and Grant Salisbury will go into the Hall. 

Wyoming Cowgirl two-sport star, and Wyoming native, Erin Kirby, will be inducted.  As will Mary Johnson, the Cowboy Basketball Office Administrator/Manager for nearly 30 years. 

And Wayne Jensen, a Cowboy All-American Track and  Cross Country performer, and Les Witte, a former Cowboy Coach, complete the list of individuals in this year’s class.  The 1988 Cowboy Football Team rounds out the Wyoming Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

That’s quite a list of accomplished athletes, coaches, and administrators to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame.  These folks contributed much to the programs they were a part of.   They have all added to the history and tradition of Cowboy and Cowgirl Athletics. 

But it’s Cowboy Football that will provide most the new members of the Hall of Fame.  Two of the five individual inductees come from Wyoming Football, and there is the 1988 Cowboy Football Team itself that will go into the Hall. 

Walt Goffigan, one of the very best running backs to ever don the Brown and Gold, scored 26 rushing touchdowns during his Cowboy career in the mid-1980’s.  That’s still tied for fifth-most rushing touchdowns on the career list at Wyoming. 

Goffigan was a Cowboy Captain in 1983. Grant Salisbury was a two-time All Western Athletic Conference performer for the Pokes, right after Goffigan, in the late ‘80’s.  And it was Salisbury who was centering the ball to another Hall of Famer, Randy Welniak, on the 1988 Cowboy Football Team. 

Salisbury will become the seventh player from the 1988 Team to be inducted as an individual.  Salisbury joins his former ’88 teammates John Cogdill, Mitch Donahue, Sean Fleming, Pat Rabold, Mike Schenbeck, and Randy Welniak to be inducted.

And how about the 1988 Cowboy Football Team!  You talk about a most worthy entrant into the Hall of Fame!  And many will say that it has earned the right to be considered one of the greatest Cowboy teams ever, if not the best ever! 

The 1988 Cowboys, the 22nd UW team, and just the 8th Cowboy football team to be inducted into the Hall, were loaded with talent, and motivated to improve on a 10-win, conference championship season the year before. 

Many of the ’88 Cowboys had played on the ’87 team, Paul Roach’s first team as head coach.  The ’87 Cowboys had won 10 games, were a perfect 8-0 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play, and won the conference title outright.  The ’88 Cowboys would go undefeated in league play for another outright WAC regular season championship.  And the 1988 Cowboy team would win their first 10 games. 

They were 10-0, and ranked 10th in the nation by the Associated Press.  After taking their first loss of the season in Houston, the Cowboys would beat Hawaii in Honolulu for the Conference Championship and their 11th victory of the season.  It was the most wins ever by a Wyoming football team in a single season.   And still, some 34 years later, those 11 victories in a single season are the most ever for a Cowboy Football Team.

And it certainly makes a solid claim for the 1988 Cowboys, to be inducted into the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame, as the “best Cowboy Football Team Ever”.

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Dave Walsh: My Favorite University Of Wyoming Basketball Games

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By Dave Walsh, columnist

It has been more than two years since I called my last Wyoming Cowboy Basketball game.  It was March of 2020, at the Mountain West Conference Post-Season Tournament in Las Vegas, when the Pokes lost their opening game and saw their season come to an end.  It was a season in which the Pokes posted a 9-24 record.

I was so fortunate to have had the privilege to broadcast Cowboy Basketball games for 36 seasons, from 1984 to 2020.  That includes more than 1,200 Cowboy games.  So in trying to answer a most-popular question that I am asked these days, “What is your favorite game?”, just like choosing a single Cowboy Football game favorite, it is impossible to come up with just one favorite.

But let me give you an “Elite 8”!  These are the first eight games that came to mind.  As I jotted down these first thoughts on the matter, I found that all of them were Wyoming wins.  Most were post-season tournament wins.  But the very first game I thought of when asked to name a favorite was a conference game played right there in the Arena Auditorium.

That first game that came to mind was the Cowboys regular season finale of the 2001-2002 season.  This game had it all.  It was a championship game, the winner would win the Mountain West Conference regular season championship.  It was a rivalry game, a classic winner-take-all match-up, Wyoming versus Utah.  And it was played before a record crowd. 

The Double A was sold-out, more than 16,000 fans, 16,089 to be exact, were there.  It’s still the Cowboy single-game attendance record, and it’s a record that should never be broken.  The Arena underwent a recent restructuring and renovation, and the maximum attendance is now 11,612.

This title game was a tight, low-scoring battle between two very good teams.  The Pokes won the game, 57-56, led by future Hall of Famers Marcus Bailey and Josh Davis.  And they won their first outright league championship in 20 years.  This championship in 2002, 20 years ago, is the last outright regular season League Championship for the Cowboys.

The next few favorites that came immediately to mind all took place just days apart.  It was the very end of the 1986-87 season, during the post-season run of what will always be remembered as the “Sweet Sixteen Season”.  This memorable run of Cowboy victories started at the Western Athletic Conference post-season Tournament in Albuquerque.  In the tournament final, the Pokes beat New Mexico, 64-62, in front of a sellout-crowd of Lobo fans.  Eric Leckner had an incredible game, 27 points and 10 rebounds, and was named the Tournament MVP.

Five days after winning the WAC Post-Season Tournament, the Cowboys found themselves in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the very familiar Special Events Center.  The Pokes were in the NCAA Tournament, and their first-round opponent was Virginia, from the Mighty ACC.  It was another hard-fought, physical game, and the Cowboys won it, 64-60.   Leckner again led the way with 16 points.  Fennis Dembo had 16 points and nine rebounds.  And Sean Dent had 10 points and nine assists for the Cowboys.

The next game, two days later, would put the Cowboys up against the UCLA Bruins.  This game was nationally televised, Brent Musberger was courtside, and the Cowboys had another predominantly Cowboy friendly crowd.  Of the 15,000 in attendance, 12,000 were in the Brown and Gold. 

This was the game that made Fennis Famous.  It was the game in which Wyoming’s Jon Sommers made UCLA’s Reggie Miller’s life miserable.  Fennis Dembo dropped 41 on the Bruins, he knocked-down seven three-pointers, grabbed nine rebounds, and mugged for the cameras.  It was Dembo’s performance in this 78-68 win over UCLA than many say got his face on the cover of Sports Illistrated months later.

The year before, the 1986-87 season, provided a post-season run of memory makers.  This was the famous “NIT Year”.  The Cowboys lost in the post-season tournament final that year, but with a 20-11 overall record, the Pokes got an invitation to the National Invitational Tournament. 

The Cowboys also got to play those NIT games at home in the Arena Auditorium.  Wyoming took them one at a time, first, a big victory over Texas A & M.  Four days later, another nine-point win, this time over Loyola-Marymount, 99-90. 

Then, three days after that, a five-point win over Clemson.  All three of those NIT wins in Laramie were played before huge crowds, and Wyoming was off to New York City and Madison Square Garden.  The Cowboys would beat Florida in New York, and that was a memorable victory, but those three wins in the Double A were very big victories, and very big events.

The most recent example rounds out our Elite 8 Cowboy Basketball favorites.   This memory-maker took place in Las Vegas at the 2015 Mountain West Conference post-season tournament. 

The Cowboys had upset favorites Utah State and nationally-ranked Boise State to play in the Tournament Final against the regular season champion, and nationally-ranked, San Diego State. 

In a tough, defensive struggle, the Cowboys would hold San Diego State to 33% from the field, 24% from three-point range, to win the game, 45-43.  Larry Nance Jr. led all scorers with 14 points, and Josh Adams hit a big three-pointer from the corner, in the final minute of play.

So there you have it.  That’s my Elite 8 for Cowboy Basketball.

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Dave Walsh: My Top 10 Favorite Wyoming Cowboy Football Games

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

It has been quite a week since the big announcement. And I use that term very loosely, because I had no idea of the great response and volumes of best wishes that would come my way after making the decision I made. And all very much appreciated.

And now, after many conversations with so many great fans, friends and family, time marches on. But before we head into the present and the future, I thought I’d answer the question that I have been asked most over the past week or so:

What Cowboy football or Cowboy basketball game was your most favorite?

So, what particular Cowboy game, which broadcast over the last 38 years — and there have been about 1,500-plus — comes to mind first? Right?

First of all, naming one particular game, in Cowboy football and basketball over the last nearly four decades, that stands alone as THE number one, is impossible. There have been so many that were so important at the time, bowl games, NCAA post-season games, and big-reward games. To name just one, a clear better-than-all-others, I cannot do.

But how about a top 10? Those seem to be popular these days, and it gets me off the hook to pick just one. I can do that! It has to be a top 10 in both sports by the way. Oh yes, it was easy to come up with a top 10 in each sport.

So here goes! And we’ll start with Wyoming Cowboy football. Here are the first 10 Cowboy football games over the past 38 seasons that came to mind.

The first big games that I remembered did just happen to be Wyoming victories in bowl games. The first one I remember was Wyoming’s victory over the PAC-12’s UCLA Bruins in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl. I have a vivid memory of my pre-game walk of the field and seeing UCLA’s Maurice Jones Drew, the rock-like running back, Marcedes Lewis, the cut-out-of-granite tight end, and offensive and defensive linemen, all massive and very Oakland Raider-looking. I remember worrying about the 17-point underdog Cowboys, and their chances in this one. Well, Joe Glenn’s Pokes, led by Wheatland’s Corey Bramlet, would beat the mighty Bruins in Las Vegas, 24-21.

The other bowl win that comes to mind immediately was the Cowboy victory over Fresno State in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl. Dave Christensen’s Cowboys beat the favored Bulldogs, and it took two tremendous Wyoming goal-line defensive stops to win in two overtimes.

There were a number of victories over teams in the Big 5 conferences that I recall fondly. Especially Cowboy victories on the road, in those big-time stadiums. Like the win at Ole Miss, out of the SEC, in the rain in 2005. And the Wyoming win at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Pokes beat the Tennessee Volunteers there in 2008. Both wins came with Joe Glenn at the helm.

I’ll go back to the Dennis Erickson year, 1986, when the Cowboys played at legendary Camp Randall Stadium and beat the Wisconsin Badgers. It was Wyoming’s first win over a Big 10 team, and it still is the only Wyoming win over a Big 10 team.

Another memorable Wyoming win came over a team from the so-called “big time”just a few seasons ago. Craig Bohl’s 2019 Cowboy team opened the season in a crowded War Memorial Stadium with thrilling victory over Missouri.

And, of course, some of my best memories would come in conference games as well. Wyoming’s huge come-from-behind victory in Colorado Springs, Colorado, over Air Force in 1988, just might be one of the most memorable by a soon-to-be Hall of Fame Cowboy football team. The Pokes came from way behind to beat the Falcons. The Cowboys, under Paul Roach, would go on to win 11 games, after starting out 10-0, and go a perfect 8-0 in league play, to win a Western Athletic Conference championship.

Any win over Brigham Young was huge. And to beat the Cougars in Provo is rare. The Cowboys did just that in 1987. It was Paul Roach’s first year as head coach, and the Pokes would come from behind to beat the Cougars. Wyoming had lost the last 5 games there, and that win in Provo, 35 seasons ago, was the last win in Provo for the Cowboys. Wyoming, who will play BYU in Provo this season, has lost the last 9 games against the Cougars in Provo.

Do you remember the phenomenal shootout between the Cowboys and the San Diego State Aztecs in War Memorial Stadium in 1990? The Cowboys won the game when they stopped a two-point conversion try by the Aztecs with two minutes to play, 52-51. That final score is correct. Wyoming’s Tom Corontzos threw for 421 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another. San Diego State’s Dan McGwire, Mark McGwire’s 6-foot, 8-inch brother, would throw for 415 yards and five touchdowns.

And no top 10 list of Wyoming wins would be complete without a Cowboy victory over the arch-rival Colorado State Rams. The one that comes to mind first in that category has to be the lopsided 44-0 Wyoming victory over the Rams in War Memorial Stadium in 2010. Alvester Alexander scored a bunch of touchdowns, and it was just the third win of the season for the Pokes. But it was the season finale, vs. CSU, in the War.

So there it is. I couldn’t come up with just one. But a top 10 is even better!

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Dave Walsh: It’s Time

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

It’s time. That’s it really. It’s time.

Oh there are many reasons, there are a lot of things that tell me that it’s time.

It’s just the moment that feels right to step away and stop being the Voice of the Cowboys. It’s time to step aside and leave the best job of its kind, anywhere. The time is right to step back and be an off-air fan. The time has come to stay home and enjoy that more.

This decision of mine hasn’t been something that has been suddenly decided, far from it. I have thought of this day for some years now. And it’s not a call that has been hurried or forced in any way. It’s been very clear that this decision would be mine and mine alone. It’s been understood that I was to be the Voice of the Cowboys for as long as I wanted. And when that would end was entirely up to me. 

How great is that! Great support is just one of the many things that made this job the best of any. And that support came from everywhere, always did. The Wyoming Athletic Department, all of the networks involved over the years, most recently Learfield and Wyoming Sports Properties and of course the passionate Wyoming fans have been incredible. Everyone has been so supportive and appreciative. Again, just a few other things that have made being the “Voice of the Cowboys” the best job anywhere.

So why would anyone in their right mind leave a position like that? Who would voluntarily stop being the Voice of the Cowboys?

Yep, that’s me. But take it from me, trust me here — it’s time.

I never ever wanted to hang around too long. I never wanted one day to be on the air, suddenly not knowing what’s going on. Drawing a blank at just the wrong time. I know these are things that many broadcasters think about, especially after so many broadcasts. And we probably shouldn’t be thinking those things, but I do. Now, I think we’ve done a lot of good radio over the years. I’m proud of what Kevin and I, and the entire crew, have done. I just always wanted to end things still doing good radio.

I am at an age that is definitely retirement age. For me. That particular age is different for everyone. For me, it is now.

And certainly, there are things that I will miss. Other things, not so much. I will miss the broadcasts very much. Working on a team that takes on a “live” event, painting the picture for a listening audience, is special. The fact that these are Wyoming broadcasts, going out to those amazing fans and supporters, is a bonus. 

I won’t miss the travel, I never have been much of a “flyer,” I just don’t enjoy it. I won’t miss the hotel rooms, I’ve actually woken up in the middle of the night, somewhere, not knowing where I was. These were things that went with the job, and I learned to exist quite well with both. But I won’t miss them.

There was actually one big sign, and it popped up just recently. One very obvious indicator that “It is time.”

The 2022 Wyoming Cowboy Football schedule has a game slated for Sept. 24. It’s the fifth game on the schedule, an away game. The Pokes will play the BYU Cougars in Provo, Utah. That’s right, those Cougars, in Lavell Edwards Stadium. The very same venue where so many Wyoming-BYU blood feuds took place. And the very same venue to host what was supposed to be the very last football game the two teams would ever play against each other. 

It was late October, 2010. It’s hard to believe that it has been 12 football seasons ago, when BYU had announced that it was leaving the Mountain West Conference. It had gotten too big for the Mountain West. I think they got too big for their own britches and wanted nothing more to do with Wyoming after this game.

It was late in this particular game where yours truly, the Voice of the Cowboys, kinda lost it, on the air. David Leonard had run a perfect post-route, gotten himself wide open, and long before the ball arrived right on target, Leonard was taken to the ground by a BYU safety coming from across the field. Yours truly, the Voice of the Cowboys, felt very strongly that it was a definitive case of pass-interference. 

Now, there was no profanity used, never did that, but Yours Truly did have some choice words to say. And I remember saying, at the end of this tirade, quote, “good riddance BYU, I’m glad we never have to come back here and get cheated, like we have so many times. I’m glad I never have to broadcast a game in this place ever again,” end quote.

So you see, how can I go back there? I’m telling you, it’s a sign!

But seriously, it’s time.

I’ll still be around, writing columns here on Cowboy State Daily and doing some produced radio work like “Wonders of Wyoming” and the “Cowboy Capsule.” I have been so fortunate. My family and I have been welcomed and treated so well for a long time. To be the Voice of the Cowboys for these last 38 years has been a great honor and privilege.

But…It’s Time.

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Dave Walsh: My First Cowboy Games

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

As the seasons come and go, the college sports seasons draw ever closer. I know summer just started, but our fall sports are just weeks away now. But that hasn’t stopped me from reflecting on past seasons, and that’s Cowboy fooball and basketball seasons, in particular.

I’ve had the privilege and good fortune to have been in the radio broadcast booth for every Wyoming football game, home and away, for the last 38 seasons. I was courtside for every Cowboy basketball game, home and away, for 36 seasons, from 1984 to 2020. That’s a lot of games, a lot of broadcasts, and so many memories. As you may have noticed, those memories have supplied much of the subject matter for these early columns. Of course, there are many more quick, little visits back to the past to come.

Memories of those particular games we have shared are events that were one-of-a-kind, and most-memorable to the avid Cowboy fan. But I was wondering if I might re-visit a couple of events, yes, a couple of Cowboy games, that were very special to me. These were events, these were games that I will always remember fondly. Both games ended in Cowboy victories. But these particular games hold wonderful sentimental memories, quite possibly, for only me.

These were the first Cowboy games that I ever attended, and the first Cowboy games I ever broadcast. I’m sure a true Cowboy fan remembers their first game. Well, these were my first games, ones that would lead to my association with Cowboy football and Cowboy basketball.

The very first Cowboy broadcast I took part in was the Pokes season opener in 1984. It was my first broadcast in historic War Memorial Stadium. I stood in what is now the visiting radio booth that Saturday afternoon. We had a great, unobstructed view, close to the field. 

That was my first Wyoming broadcast and I was actually the color analyst that day and the entire 1984 season. Mike Nolan, the very talented sports anchor at KUSA-TV Channel 9 in Denver, was the play-by-play man.

The Cowboys would play the South Dakota Coyotes that day, and it was South Dakota that would score the first 10 points in the game before the Pokes got going and scored the next 31 points on their way to 31-13 victory. 

I remember the cozy, yet intense, feel of the home field there in War Memorial Stadium that day. The stadium was about half-full, with a few more than 15,000 in attendance. It was made very clear that this was Cowboy Country, and I felt a strong feeling of belonging right from that very first day, Sept. 1, 1984, my first Cowboy broadcast.

The second event, uh, game, that I will long remember was played just 10 weeks later. It was the first game of the ’84-’85 Cowboy basketball season. It was my first time, not just attending, but broadcasting a Cowboy Basketball game for Curt Gowdy Sports and the Cowboy Basketball Radio Network. 

It was an exhibition game, Nov. 12, 1984, when the Cowboys hosted the national team from the People’s Republic of China. I vividly remember my quick study of a foreign language team of opponents. I found out just how non-fluent I am with Chinese. I felt OK with my new favorites, the Cowboys, especially a true freshman playing for the first time in the Arena Auditorium. Fennis Dembo would lead all scorers with 26 points. The Electric Man was 11 of 15 from the field, he was four of six from three-point land. And he grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double in his first appearance in the Double A.

Now, it was an exhibition game. The 85-68 victory over the Chinese National Team wouldn’t count. The games that did count began some 18 days later, when the Cowboys officially opened the season in the Arena Auditorium. 

Coincidentally, like Cowboy football, Cowboy basketball started with South Dakota, and Wyoming beat the Coyotes, 91-74. But it was there in the Dome of Doom, when Wyoming beat the team from China, when I got my first Cowboy Basketball experience. 

It was a first for Fennis too. And Eric Leckner, Turk Boyd, Dave Lodgins, and Jon Sommers. We all learned that day that Cowboy basketball could be something pretty special. And we learned that Cowboy home games would be played in a very special place. And that same positive support and intensity that I witnessed in War Memorial Stadium was quite noticeable in the Arena Auditorium as well.

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Dave Walsh: Remember Wyoming’s Only Win Against A Big Ten Team

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily columnist

Another much-anticipated Cowboy football season is sneaking up on us. 

All Cowboy football seasons are highly anticipated, I suppose, and the 2022 season is no exception. Fewer than 10 weeks remain in the countdown to Wyoming’s season opener. The Cowboys will get the season underway in 70 days in faraway Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. 

The Fighting Illini will be the first of four non-conference opponents on the schedule. Tulsa, a brief former league foe, Northern Colorado, a lower-divisional regional foe, and BYU, a former bitter rival, round out the non-league line-up. The schedule that the Mountain West Conference puts forth is always a challenge.

It really is quite a schedule the Pokes have before them. And it certainly gets your attention right from the start. The opener is always important, it’s always a “big” game. This season’s big curtain lifter will take place in Big Ten country, against a Big Ten team. Wyoming will hit the so-called “Big Time” right out of the chute this season, and that’s a “Big Deal.”

Wyoming and Illinois will knock heads for the first time ever on a football field. It’ll be just the 21st time that the Cowboys have played a team from the Big Ten. And that includes all games played against the current members of the Big Ten. 

By the way, there are 14 football-playing members of the Big 10, the three newest members being Penn State, Maryland, and Rutgers. And over the years the Cowboys have faced seven of the 14 teams of the Big Ten. 

The last time Wyoming played a Big Ten team was in 2017. Ironically, that game was the season opener, on the road, against Iowa.

I guess I’m somewhat surprised that Wyoming has played a Big Ten team just 20 times in the 125 seasons of Cowboy football. The Nebraska Cornhuskers were the opponent in eight of those 20 games. Wyoming has played Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin three times each. And the Pokes have played Ohio State, Minnesota, and Northwestern once.

Maybe it’s the success, or in this case, the lack thereof, that has kept the scheduling of games with Big Ten teams down. You see, the Cowboys are 1-19 against the Big Ten over the years. That’s one win, 19 losses, against the Big Ten! Wyoming is 0-8 vs. Nebraska. The Cowboys are 0-3 against Iowa and 0-3 vs. Michigan State. The Pokes have lost twice to Wisconsin, and one time to Ohio State, Minnesota, and Northwestern. Those are the losses. 

It’s that one win, the lone victory over a Big Ten team, that is most memorable.

The one-and-only Wyoming win over a Big Ten team took place during the 1986 season. Wyoming had lost all 11 games it had played against the Big Ten when first-year and “only-year” Cowboy head Coach Dennis Erickson took the Pokes to Madison, Wisconsin, for a game against the Badgers. This would be the third time the two teams had played, and Wisconsin had won the first two meetings in 1973 and 1985. This game was the last time the two met, and this third game was the charm for the Cowboys.

Wisconsin Badger home football games are a very unique experience. Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin, is a classic college football venue, with some of the greatest fans in the country. The Badgers always play in front of a full house and Camp Randall was jammed that day in ’86 when 64,954 fans showed up to see the Badgers play the Cowboys. 

And were they ever active! Well before the game, the stadium was full and they started singing! Not just the student section, not just the cheerleaders, but all of the nearly 65,000 in attendance had locked their arms and were singing. They were singing school songs and pop songs. And they would sing, and cheer, the entire game.

Even when the Cowboys took charge and were winning, the fans kept singing. Even after the Cowboys took a 14-3 lead at halftime, they kept singing. And they sang right up to the final gun.

Randy Welniak threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 91 yards. The Wyoming offense clicked for 451 yards of total offense and the Cowboy defense gave up just 227 yards and only 12 points. Wisconsin scored first with a field goal at the end of their first possession, just 3 minutes into the game. But Wyoming scored two touchdowns in the second quarter and led the rest of the way to win 21-12.

And when the game was over, the fans in Camp Randall Stadium sang some more. And when the Cowboys were leaving the field after beating the Badgers, those Wisconsin fans gave the Pokes a standing ovation!

Oh it was a most memorable day, the day the Cowboys beat the Wisconsin Badgers 36 seasons ago. It’s still the one-and-only Wyoming victory over a team from the Big Ten Conference.  

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Dave Walsh: The Largest Home Crowd At War Memorial Where The Cowboys Won

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The clock is ticking.  We draw ever closer to one of our favorite seasons of the year.

Summer?  Well, yes.  Fall?  Sure, and that is really closer to the “season” I’m talking about.

We are very near the real start of the season of which I speak.  The participants will start preparing with fall drills in just weeks.  We’re talking football, of course.

And any who are associated with the great game are getting close to the start of what is now, this season.  The games begin, at all levels very soon. 

Cowboy Football is now just twelve weeks from their 2022 opener, and War Memorial Stadium will welcome its first Cowboy home crowd in just thirteen weeks.

Anyone who has ever attended a Cowboy football game in War Memorial Stadium will tell you.  Anyone who has sat in the stands, and truly experienced Cowboy Football LIVE! and in person, will attest to it. 

They will tell you that Cowboy Football, in War Memorial Stadium, is different.  They will tell you that Cowboy Football, in War Memorial Stadium, is special, it’s a unique, one-of-a-kind experience.

And like any other football venue in America, if you add in a big crowd, well, now you’ve got something even more special.  The players, and the game itself, are the “stars” of the show.  They are the attraction, that attracts the fans.  And the fans become such a part of the sights and sounds that make up the total experience.

The Cowboys will play their first home game, in War Memorial Stadium, on September 3rd.  The Pokes will take on Tulsa, and no doubt, are hoping for a big crowd.  Big home crowds are always the goal, and that holds true for all teams, in all sports. 

Any participant will tell you that there is a direct effect that the supportive energy passed from fan to participant is palpable.  The positive energy and intensity that is transmitted is truly a thing, it’s real.  And the more the merrier.

And that set me to reminiscing.  It has brought me to a recalling of some big Wyoming games played in front of big Wyoming crowds. 

We recently recalled the Cowboy Basketball game staged before the biggest crowd in Arena-Auditorium history.  The Cowboys won that game, and an outright Mountain West Conference Championship, in 2002.   

So what about Cowboy Football?   What has happened in front of Wyoming’s largest crowds in War Memorial Stadium?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been at Wyoming’s eight highest-attended home games, including the Pokes last five sellouts in War Memorial Stadium. 

I was broadcasting those games from the Wyoming Radio Network booth, with windows open, and crowd-involved.  And which big-crowd game at the War was the first game I thought of? 

It wasn’t the CSU game in 1997, with the biggest crowd ever in Laramie of 34,745.  It wasn’t the BYU game in 1990, with the second-highest attendance of 34,231. 

And It wasn’t even the 3rd-biggest crowd ever in War Memorial Stadium for the Nebraska game in 2011 that came to mind. That was the last sell-out crowd for a Cowboy game in the War with 32,617 in the crowd. 

Maybe these top-three all-time attended games didn’t first hit me because the Cowboys actually lost all three.  In fact, Wyoming has lost 6 of their 8 highest-attended home games ever.

The first big-crowd, big-game that came to mind for me was a game the Pokes played before 32,210 active and intense Cowboy Football fans in 1988.  And the Cowboys won.  It was a War Memorial Stadium record-crowd, and is still the fourth-best home crowd ever. 

And there were many other things going on that made this a very big game.  The Cowboys played the UTEP Miners that Saturday afternoon in November, in a game that was nationally-televised. 

The Pokes were 9-0, after pummeling their arch-rival, Colorado State, in Ft. Collins, the week before. 

The Cowboys were ranked 10th in the country going into the game, and a Wyoming win would give the Cowboys a second-consecutive outright Western Athletic Conference title.  It was 42 degrees and sunny, with a 20 mile-per-hour breeze. 

And it was the Cowboys, in front of that record crowd, who would breeze to a 51-6 victory.

The Cowboys rolled-up 507 yards of total offense that day.  Hall of Famer, Randy Welniak, threw for 3 touchdowns, and ran for another. 

Dabby Dawson carried the ball 16 times for 134 yards, and Sean Fleming kicked 3 field goals, one a 52-yarder.  And the Cowboy defense held the UTEP running game to an astounding minus-60 yards rushing, on 20 attempts.  That’s minus-3 yards per carry!

It was the biggest crowd for a Cowboy victory in War Memorial Stadium history, and remains so, some 34 years later.  And it was the 1988 Cowboys, to be inducted in this year’s UW Athletics Hall of Fame, who did it.

Dave Walsh: The Old Rivalry Is Back As Wyoming Will Play BYU This Year

in Dave Walsh/Column
20624

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By Dave Walsh, columnist

Athletic competition is so interesting.  Sports, and the games people play, draws a great deal of interest from folks that just get a kick out of watching others compete. 

There is a distinct passion for the “game” that those people play.  But any and all sports, team or individual sports, have become a natural curiosity for so many. 

The true fan relishes every game that their favorite team plays. The real sports fan enjoys every moment that their favorite athlete competes. Every game on the schedule is special, and every game will provide its own unique experience. 

Wyoming fans show these traits every time the Cowboys and Cowgirls play.  Every gameday is important. You only get so many. College football teams, for example, are only “guaranteed” a dozen games a season, at the most. 

Other sports play more games, but any player will tell you that they are all important. They’ll also tell you that some games are more important than others. They’ll say conference match-ups carry a bit more weight, and they’ll admit that “rivalry” games are even more intense.  And from what I’ve seen over the years, Wyoming fans feel the same way.

Cowboy football is just a little over twelve weeks away from its season opener. The Pokes will begin the 2022 season at Illinois for a first-ever meeting with the Illini. 

The Pokes will play two more non-conference games before taking on the Air Force Falcons in their first Mountain West Conference game of the year. And then, on September 24th, the Cowboys will play Game 5 on the schedule, their final non-conference game of the year. 

And it will be a game that most certainly will have a “rivalry” feel for Cowboy Football fans. I’m not sure that Wyoming players will have that same intensity that a game against a rival brings, but any veteran Cowboy football fan will absolutely feel it when the Pokes take on the BYU Cougars in Provo.

This year’s Wyoming-Brigham Young football game doesn’t have all the traits that most rivalry games have, but it has the history. 

These two don’t play in the same conference, like most rivals do. These two don’t play each other on a regular basis, and haven’t since the 2010 season.  The Cowboys and Cougars haven’t met on a football field in six years, not since the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. 

But for nearly a century, from the time they played one another for the first time in 1922, until that last meeting as conference foes in 2010, Wyoming played BYU 77 times.   

They first met as league foes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 1922, continued as conference rivals in the Skyline/Mountain States Conference, the Western Athletic Conference, and the Mountain West Conference until 2010 when BYU left the Mountain West.   

This season’s Wyoming – BYU game will be a rivalry “re-kindling” of sorts. 

For so many years, particularly for fans in the western half of Wyoming, this game was the biggest game of the year. 

There was just a natural extra bit of intensity that the match-up generated each year. And it didn’t matter where the game was played, it could have been played on the moon. The fan fervor followed. 

Now, BYU fans would always say that Wyoming wasn’t really a major rival, they would claim the Utah Utes were their main rival. But for many Cowboy football fans, the Cougars were the enemy, and the Cowboys number one rival.

A Wyoming victory over BYU was a bit more fulfilling than other wins. And that held true in all sports.   These two could have been playing a tiddlywinks match and it would draw a crowd, and it would be intense. 

Cowboy football fans will long remember the win in a Laramie snowstorm over Jim McMahon and the 13th-ranked Cougars in 1981, the Cowboy victory in Provo in ’87, and of course, the Wyoming win over the Cougars the next season in Laramie. 

It was the ’88 season opener and Wyoming’s first-ever night game played in Laramie and War Memorial Stadium.

The Cowboys have had many rivals over the years. There are front-range rivals like the Air Force Falcons. 

There are bordering state, long-running rivals like the Utah State Aggies.  There seems to be a newly-developing rival in Boise State.  

And then there’s Wyoming’s longest-running rival, their most intense rival, the Colorado State Rams. And again, this is a rivalry that involves all sports. The Border War is as intense for the Cowgirl Swimming and Diving team, as it is for the Cowboy Football team.

This year’s Border War will be staged in Ft. Collins, Colorado, on November 12th. And it will be as wildly intense as ever. The Wyoming-CSU football game will be the 114th in a series that has covered three different centuries, and started in 1899.  Now that’s history, and that’s rivalry.            

So, this season Cowboy Football will play two games against a pair of old rivals.  Every game is special.  But those played against a rival, even more so.    

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Dave Walsh: University of Wyoming Sports, A Family Affair

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20183

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

I love the “life lessons learned” as a participant in athletics. There are so many things one experiences when competing. 

Handling the highs and lows, and moving forward. The value of teamwork and dedication, to name just a few. And, of course, the support of others who are dear to you, is so important. 

And how about when It becomes, very literally, a family affair. Like when brothers play with brothers, or sisters play with sisters. It’s a deep connection with tradition and history when a son or daughter ends up playing where their father or mother played.

We have seen this wonderful show of tradition and sheer affection for the programs at the University of Wyoming for years. I just think it is so interesting, and a great show of respect, when a next-generation of Cowboys and Cowgirls end up representing Old U-Dub in competition. It’s the same feeling a Wyoming alum gets when a son or daughter attends UW. We see it in all sports at Wyoming, and it’s especially out front and a common occurrence for Wyoming football.

Just last season we enjoyed the senior year of an outstanding Cowboy linebacker, Ty Muma’s son, Chad Muma. Chad would go to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft. 

Cowboy Offensive Tackle, Frank Crum, returns this season for the Cowboys. Frank is a third-generation Wyoming Cowboy. Father Gary and grandfather Earl both wore the Brown and Gold. Jack Walsh, the son of former Cowboy, John Walsh, will suit up for the Pokes this season. Nic Talich enters his first season for the Pokes, the redshirt-freshman linebacker carries on the Talich name. Cory Talich and Jim Talich were outstanding Wyoming linebackers a generation ago.

Many seasons ago, when I first went into the Wyoming Radio Network broadcast booth, a Cowboy linebacker by the name of Tim Gosar was making plays for the Pokes. Gosar was a Pinedale native, a junior that year, and would play his senior season in 1985. The very next season Tim’s younger brother, Gaston, would become a Cowboy, and the next season, in 1987, Pete Gosar would become a Wyoming football player. 

Tim was the first of three Gosar brothers to play for the Cowboys. Gaston and Pete would play together on the same Cowboy football teams for two years. It was back then when the Gosars performed so well for the Cowboys, and Pinedale became “Linebacker City”.

About that same time, in the mid-1980’s, the Earl brothers, Craig and Sam, from Rawlins were playing for the Cowboys. Jim and Marty Eliopulos, brothers from Cheyenne, were Cowboy linebackers in the 1980s Jim and Marty’s Dad, Alex, wrestled at Wyoming.

About a decade later, right at the turn of the century and the new millennium, a pair of Wyoming locals, who happened to be brothers, were playing Cowboy football together. They, like the Gosar brothers, played the same position. The two brothers from Wheatland played quarterback, and played it well. 

First came Casey in the year 2000. His younger brother, Corey, would letter for the Pokes in 2002, and would serve as Casey’s back-up for two seasons. 

And a Bramlet would hold down the starting quarterback job through the 2005 season. Casey and Corey Bramlet would both be named “captains” their junior and senior seasons. Casey Bramlet still holds Cowboy career passing records for yards, attempts, and completions. He threw for 9,684 yards, was a sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2004 NFL Draft and would play four seasons in the NFL with the Bengals, the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins.

Of course, this display of tradition and loyalty within families has been going on for as long as Cowboy Football has been played. The renowned Simpson family has been represented. Father Milward Simpson was a senior on the Cowboy Football team in 1920. The former Wyoming governor’s son, Alan, lettered for the Pokes in 1952. 

Over the years there has been a so-called “passing of the torch” by many. I suppose it’s somewhat natural to become a fan as a youngster of the school and team that your mother or father or sister or brother attended and played for. And it’s very natural to want to compete for the Cowboys and Cowgirls if your mom or dad or sister or brother did.

It’s very much a team effort, a family effort, when it comes to carrying on the family name in the Brown and Gold.

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Dave Walsh: Big Game, Big Crowd, Great Venue? 2002 MWC Basketball Championship Had It All

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19962

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

There’s nothing quite like a big event, staged in front of a big crowd. And if that big event is staged in front of that big crowd at a great venue? Well, all the bigger and better.

There have certainly been some events that fill the bill quite nicely staged right here in Wyoming over the years. Many of those events have been games played in Laramie, in the beautiful Arena-Auditorium and in historic War Memorial Stadium. These two venues have played host to Wyoming’s largest football and basketball crowds in state history.

Now, that makes sense in so many ways, but for two very good reasons. War Memorial Stadium happens to be the biggest football stadium in Wyoming, and there is no basketball venue in Wyoming that seats as many as the Double A. And the Wyoming Cowboys and Cowgirls get statewide attention. The venues are outstanding, recognized as such on a national level. And they welcome active and avid fan bases.

There have been so many big games played in War Memorial Stadium over the past 72 seasons. The list of important games played in front of large crowds is long. Maybe it was a game that would gain post-season eligibility, or better yet, it could be a match-up to crown a regular season champion. It’s a very special place when War Memorial hosts events like that.

The same can be said for the Arena-Auditorium. When there is a big basketball game to be played, there is no better place to play it than the “Double A.” There may be bigger arenas that can accommodate more people, but the experience that is created in the “Dome of Doom” is as impressive as anywhere.

A packed “Palace on the Plains,” filled with loyal Cowboy and Cowgirl fans and spearheaded by a very-involved student section, is very special. And really, only special places have so many special monikers, so many descriptive nicknames.

I was fortunate enough to take in 36 years’ worth of Cowboy Basketball games played in the Arena Auditorium, working the radio broadcasts. And I was lucky enough to witness, close up and personal, almost 600 Cowboy games in the Double A. And really, they were all special to me. But there were some games that took it to another level of “special.”

This Cowboy Basketball game, this special game, took place a little more than 20 years ago. Wyoming was to play its Mountain West Conference rival, Utah, in the Arena-Auditorium. Great league match-up on the Cowboy’s home court! That’s special right there.

But there’s more!

This game, played on March 2, 2002, was the final game of the regular season, the last conference game of the year.

And there’s more!

The Cowboys and Utes came into the game with identical league-leading 10-3 records. This game was for an outright Mountain West Conference regular season title!

Ironically, the Cowboys and Utes were both coming off a league championship season. Wyoming and Utah, along with BYU, would be regular season tri-champions, with 10-4 records in 2001. A regular season championship is the common and consistent pre-season goal of every team. Winning a league title, shared or otherwise, is big. Winning a conference championship outright, no sharing, is special. Cowboy Basketball has won or shared 16 regular season conference championships over its 129-year history, about a handful of those were outright titles.

So, a very big stage was set for a very big game. The 2002 regular season finale tipped off that Saturday afternoon, and would feature the beloved Cowboys, in their beloved home, the Arena Auditorium.

It had been a popular place all season long, as the Pokes would average over 10,000 fans a game. That’s still the second-best per game average ever. The Cowboys had gone 11-1 overall that season in the Double-A, and an Arena-Auditorium record-crowd of 16,089 would show up for this game.

This conference championship game was a tough, physical struggle from the start. Every shot was contested, it was very intense, and low-scoring.

Utah’s Karl Bankowski would lead all scorers with 24 points in the game, and he would help Utah to a 2-point lead at halftime, 24-22.

The second half belonged to the Cowboys. Two future Hall of Famers, Marcus Bailey and Josh Davis, led the way offensively, while teammates Uche Nsonwu-Amadi, Donta Richardson and Jayson Straight filled out the starting lineup that dug in defensively to create 15 Utah turnovers. Cowboy guard Paris Corner came off the bench to score 7 points in 21 minutes.

The Cowboys would get a number of free-throws down the stretch when Utah was forced to foul, and the Cowboys would hit them all. Bailey nailed many of them, but the Cowboy team would make 10 out of 10 free throws in the second half, they would make 16 of 18, 89%, in the game. Bankowski would throw in a three-pointer from near mid-court as time expired and the Cowboys had won, 57-56.

Wyoming had won their first outright Mountain West Conference championship. The Pokes had picked up their first outright regular season league title since winning the Western Athletic Conference Championship in 1982, 20 years prior. The Cowboys did all that on their now-legendary home court, in the presence of the largest crowd to ever attend a Wyoming home game. And some 20 years later, it is still the biggest Wyoming home crowd ever.

It was one of the biggest wins ever, played in front of the biggest home crowd ever.

Now that’s special!

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Dave Walsh: Remembering Wyoming’s First Football Game Under the Lights

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19743

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame will induct its 29th class this fall. And like the twenty-eight classes before, this list of inductees is a veritable “who’s who” of Cowboy and Cowgirl sports. 

The 2022 UW Hall of Fame class includes six individuals and one team. A Cowboy basketball star from the 1930’s, Les Witte, former Cowboy Cross Country star, Wayne Jensen, and 27-year Cowboy Basketball Office Administrator Mary Johnson, will be enshrined. Wyoming native and two-sport Cowgirl performer Erin Kirby and Cowboy football players Walter Goffigan and Grant Salisbury round out the list of individual inductees. 

And the team, “oh the team” — the 1988 Wyoming Cowboy football team.

First of all, it’s hard for me to imagine that this will be the 29th Hall of Fame class! I happened to be a member of the very first Hall of Fame selection committee back in 1993.

The UW Hall of Fame was the brainchild of and was created by Wyoming Athletic Director Paul Roach. Roach was in his seventh year as the AD, it was the 100th anniversary of Wyoming Football and the very-successful former head football coach had put together a group of people to select that very first class. I was honored to be a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee for 19 years.

What a class this 2022 Hall of Fame class is! And what a team this Hall of Fame team is!

I’ve been around long enough to witness and enjoy the talents and performances of four of the six individual inductees. And it was my honor to experience and broadcast each and every game the 1988 Cowboys played.

It was a magical season for the Cowboys, one in which the Pokes would win a record 11 games! And still, some 34 years later, and after 125 years of Cowboy football, it holds the Wyoming record for most wins in a single season.

Everyone knew after the very first game of the 1988 season that this could very well be another special year in the offing for Cowboy football.

Not many were so sure before the season began. Even though the Cowboys had gone a perfect 8-0 in Western Athletic Conference play and had won the Conference Championship outright in 1987, Wyoming was picked to finish in the middle of the Mountain West Conference pack in 1988. But, again, the first game of the 1988 season hinted at a very different scenario.

All “season openers” are important. Home openers are big. Add to that the fact that the opponent is a major conference rival and you’ve got the trifecta of big-time openers. The Cowboys had all of that, and more, for their first game in 1988. 

Wyoming would face the BYU Cougars in their home and season opener at War Memorial Stadium. It was BYU that had been named the pre-season conference favorite just weeks before.

This season opener got the interest of a major television network, which would televise the game, but only if it could be played and aired in an evening timeslot. They wanted a night game, and they wanted the game to kickoff at 8:15 pm, Mountain Time. And that demand would set the stage for a great game and a historic one, as well.

The first night game to ever be played in War Memorial Stadium would take place on Thursday, Sept. 1 1988. Many believe it to be the first Cowboy football night game ever played in Laramie, but there are veteran Cowboy fans who claim there was a game played in the 1930’s on the field that was located just south of where the Fieldhouse is today.

The game got started a bit late in the afternoon, and it got dark in the fourth quarter. The story goes that those fans who drove to the game lined their vehicles, side-by-side, along each sideline, and turned on their headlights. The game concluded “under the lights”, so to speak.

That Cowboy 1988 season opener is “officially” the very first Wyoming home game played “under the lights.” And since War Memorial Stadium did not have lights, they had to be brought in. Musco Lighting was a company that supplied portable, crane-operated, banks of stadium lights to venues in need.

So, the lights were wheeled in, the opening kickoff sailed into the 58-degree night air at 8:48 p.m., the game was played in a light breeze in front of almost 29,000 spectators and ended at 12:09 a.m., Friday, Sept. 2.

And what a game it was for the Cowboys. The Pokes scored first and the score was tied at one point during the second quarter, but the Cowboys would grab a 21-7 lead before halftime and never look back. 

The Cowboys were led by Hall of Famers Randy Welniak and Grant Salisbury on offense and Hall of Famers Mitch Donahue, Pat Rabold and Mike Schenbeck on defense. Cheyenne native and Cowboy defensive end, Dave Edeen, had five sacks.

The Cowboy defense would sack BYU quarterbacks Sean Covey and Ty Detmer a total of nine times, and the Cowboy defense would record seven takeaways, four interceptions and three fumbles. 

Meanwhile, the Wyoming offense, with Welniak at the controls, would roll up 300 yards of total offense. The Wizard of Ord accounted for 219 of those yards, with 172 yards passing and 47 rushing yards. Welniak would figure in all three Wyoming touchdowns, two passing and one rushing.

And the Cowboys beat BYU, 24-14, in that historic, nationally-televised and “well-lit” first-ever Wyoming home football game “under the lights.”

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Dave Walsh: Following The Pokes In The Pros

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19513

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

Don’t you love it when there are those “Pokes in the Pros” to follow as they take their talents and abilities and try to apply them at the very top level? And it really doesn’t matter which Cowboy or Cowgirl it is or the sport in which they compete. 

When someone who has gained our interest while competing in the Brown and Bold advances to the next level, most Wyoming fans just have to keep up and keep tabs.

Cowboy football fans now have their latest and newest possible Pokes in the Pros to root for. Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars a week ago. Muma, like Logan Wilson two NFL drafts ago, was picked early in the third round. 

A pair of Cowboy linemen have also been signed as undrafted free agents. Cowboy center Keegan Cryder and defensive end Garrett Crall will get NFL shots too. And there could be more Cowboy free-agent signings. 

All three of these Cowboys will report to rookie camps in the next week or so. Of course, there is the matter of “making the team” for any player, drafted or not. I think these three are all NFL-worthy. 

Muma, of course, would seem to have the best opportunity, being the 70th player picked in the draft and going to a team that could sure use the help. But Cryder will get a great look at Tampa, and Crall will get strong consideration in Miami.

And won’t it be fun watching it all play out! Wyoming football fans are as passionate and faithful as any in the country. And their passion and interest doesn’t fade, it follows their former Pokes wherever they go. And it’s always been that way. 

The Josh Allen craze that continues here in the Cowboy State is certainly not the first example. The Logan Wilson infatuation will not be the last. Will there be a flurry of Jacksonville Jaguar jersey sightings coming soon?

It seems impossible to go anywhere in Wyoming, especially a Wyoming athletic event, without seeing a Buffalo Bills article of apparel. It might be a T-shirt or a sweatshirt with the number 17 and the name “Allen” on it. It could have “Bills Mafia” emblazoned upon it. 

Have you noticed the “Wilson” Cincinnati Bengals jerseys out and about? I even spotted a Mitch Donahue San Francisco 49ers jersey at the Cowboys Spring Game last weekend.

And again, this has been going on for a long time. Forty years ago, when I finally found home here in Wyoming, I encountered many Jim Kiick Miami Dolphins Jerseys. Kiick hadn’t played for the Dolphins since 1974, and would also play for the Broncos and Redskins, but here in Wyoming in 1982, the former Wyoming Cowboy‘s pro jersey was very popular. There were also Ken Fantetti Detroit Lions tops and Aaron Kyle Dallas Cowboys AND Denver Broncos jerseys.

I had the pleasure and honor of broadcasting Cowboy Football games during the senior season of one of the best Wyoming athletes ever. My first season on the Cowboy radio broadcast was Jay Novacek’s senior season at Wyoming. Novacek was a two-sport star at UW. He was a decorated decathlete on the Cowboy track and field team and a tight end on the Wyoming football team. 

Novacek was drafted in the sixth round of the 1985 NFL draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. So you would see a few Novacek-Cardinals jerseys around the state. Then, in 1990, Novacek was traded to the Dallas Cowboys, where he would play for seven mostly Pro Bowl seasons. And the Novacek-Dallas Cowboy apparel exploded in popularity here in Wyoming.

When a home grown Wyoming product gets drafted, well, those jerseys become immediate collector’s items. Imagine the run on Chris Prosinski Jacksonville Jaguars apparel in 2011. The John Wendling Buffalo Bills jersey was very popular in 2007, the Casey Bramlet Cincinnati Bengals jersey was hot in 2004, and we saw lots of John Burrough Atlanta Falcons tops in Wyoming back in 1995.

I understand that NFL fans are much like college football fans. Both are just fans of the game, they love the sport. I enjoy watching any level of football, no matter who is playing. But like most football fans, we tend to closely identify with a single team, and the players on that team. And when those players, Cowboy football players in this case, continue on in their pro careers, we cannot resist, we must follow.

The NFL certainly has become more interesting to me over the years because of that. Like many others, I can’t help but seek out NFL games in which former Wyoming Cowboys are involved. The pro game is a great product, made even better by those Pokes in the Pros.

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Dave Walsh: The Wyoming Cowboys Played The First-Ever American Football Game In Australia

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19305

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

Here it is. It’s into another important milepost in the 12-month, 365-day journey that is college football. And for many of us, we who are Wyoming Cowboy Football fans and followers, the playing and staging of the Spring Game is the very moment of the entry into this next important phase. 

Whatever you want to call this next phase, don’t be calling it “the off-season.” No one takes time off here. Not the players, not the coaches, and certainly not the fans. It’s merely a space of time where no “games” are on the schedule, but a lot of preparatory hours leading up the next game are. Fall drills, and that big game on Aug. 27 lie ahead, with a whole lot of conditioning on the schedule in between.

And just think about it, we are now just 17 weeks away from that big day. The Cowboys are just 119 days from their 2022 season opener. And Cowboy fans are just as close to that first–ever football match-up between Wyoming and Illinois. The Cowboys and the Fighting Illini will play one another on a football field for the first time in Memorial Stadium. Not War Memorial Stadium, but Memorial Stadium, the Illinois homefield in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.

Now, there is still some football going on, even now. But if one is a college football fan, or a high school or even NFL fan for that matter, the next game is coming. And those who are connected, in some way, with actually following, or should I say “covering,” one of those football teams, well, we are always looking forward to the beginning of the next season. 

I admit it, heading into what would be my 39th consecutive season of calling Cowboy Football games, I still can’t help staying obsessed with what is coming next for the Pokes. Let’s see, “announcer” and “fan” sure seem like the same thing, don’t they? Now there’s a prime topic for a future column. What it’s like and how does one become an open and admitted “homer.” I’m your guy! But later!

Back to Cowboy Football, and really the sport of football itself. It’s amazing as to just how important this sport has become to so many. Not unlike other sports, most certainly, but the passion and dedication that seems to grow among those who participate in football are truly amazing. 

We are seeing interest and participation back at peak levels, after two seasons of scheduling and playing on-the-fly. The interest has returned in a big way here in the States for American Football. And curiosity in the game apparently continues to grow abroad as well. The NFL will play more regular season games in Europe, Mexico and Canada in seasons to come and is said to be considering putting a franchise in London or Mexico City. Didn’t the Buffalo Bills recently play an exhibition game in Canada? 

Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association have been in business in international markets for years. College football still isn’t dabbling much in scheduling games abroad. And by the way, games in Honolulu, Hawaii, do not count as being played “abroad.” I’m talking about games played outside the United States. Most schools, at all levels of college football here in America, have never played a game outside the U.S.

The Cowboys have.

The Wyoming Cowboys have played more than 1,100 games in their 125-season history. To be exact, the Pokes have represented Old U-Dub some 1,167 times, that includes regular season and post-season games. And the Cowboys have played all but one of those 1,166 in one of the 50 states in America. Just one Wyoming Football game has ever been played overseas, outside the United States.

Oddly enough, it was a regular season game, popping up on the 1985 schedule. The Cowboys would play the UTEP Miners “Down Under,” on Dec. 7. It was the last game on the schedule, and would be played in Melbourne, Australia. Ironically, the game would be played in the South Pacific, exactly 44 years to the day, of that fateful attack on Pearl Harbor. 

This would be the farthest the Cowboys had ever travelled for a roadie, and of course, a Wyoming football team hasn’t gone that far from home to play in the 36 seasons since. It was also a game “the Voice” almost missed. It would have been the only one I’ve missed in 39 seasons, but it almost happened. 

You see, in Australia, all on-air radio announcers are members of a union. And until Wyoming Sens. Al Simpson and Malcolm Wallop got involved on our behalf, we were not allowed to do the broadcast. But we were finally cleared to broadcast and were off to Melbourne for the ‘85 season finale.

There were other unusual facets to this game. This would be the first-ever American Football game ever played on the continent of Australia. The Australians were big Rugby and Australian Rules Football fans, but had never seen the American game before. And although this was not a post-season bowl game, it had three different names — the Down Under Bowl, the Gridiron Bowl, or the Australian Bowl, take your pick. 

This game also featured two head coaches who had already been fired! Wyoming and UTEP had given Al Kincaid and Bill Young the old heave-ho after their last games three weeks prior.

The Cowboys would win the game, played before 19,000 fans in the massive 100,000 seat Victoria Football League Park in Melbourne. The Pokes beat the Miners, 23-21 in Al Kincaid’s last game, led by Scott Runyan and his two touchdown passes, and Toriano Taylor’s 125 yards rushing.

And how about one last trivia tidbit!

When the Cowboys won that game in Australia back in 1985, they became the first American college football team in history to win games in both the northern and southern Hemispheres!

Just 119 days from creating even more Cowboy Football memories. Can’t wait!

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Dave Walsh: Remembering Joe Dowler And George Kay, Two Wyoming Sports Legends

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19079

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

We lost a couple of true Wyoming legends over the last few weeks. These two icons who recently passed were exceptional in their chosen fields for many years and were even more impressive as genuinely kind and caring people. 

I had the honor to meet both four decades ago. And the privilege to work with, and learn from, both George Kay and Joe Dowler for many of the past 40 years.

It was about this time of year, in 1982, when a young Walsh family came rolling into the Oil City, with a full U-Haul and full of excitement. I had taken a job at KVOC Radio in Casper, Wyoming, having never even been there. 

Coming from a three-year stint in Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah, this was a new opportunity in the Cowboy State. Here we were driving into a new town on CY Avenue to begin a new chapter in the crazy life of a radio play-by play man. I would be the Voice of the Wyoming Wildcatters, a first-year expansion team in the Continental Basketball Association.

George Kay

And one of the first people I met was George Kay.

George was the sports director at KTWO Radio and Television. George had worked at KTWO for 15 years before we met and as the sports anchor on KTWO-TV, he was one of the most recognizable sports figures in the state. 

George was right there on KTWO-TV each evening with news anchors Pete Williams, Susan Anderson, Charles Brown, and Tom Edwards. Doc Mueller did weather. And George Kay was the sports guy. The camera, and the viewers, loved George.

I would get to know George Kay quickly. He was easy to get to know, and we were running into each other often. George covered every Wildcatter home game, and many of the roadies too. 

And in 1984, our working relationship took a big jump. First, in June, George asked me to join him at KTWO-TV and serve as the weekend sports anchor. Wow, what a huge opportunity! I started doing Saturday and Sunday newsblocks, the 5:30 p.m. and the 10:00 p.m. sports on KTWO-TV, with George Kay as my teacher and mentor. 

It was just two months later, in August of 1984, when I was offered the best play-by-play job in radio. Another Wyoming icon by the name of Curt Gowdy, hired me as the play-by-play Voice of the Cowboys!

I would call my first two seasons of Cowboy games while still living in Casper and working at KVOC and KTWO-TV. And on many of the drives over the Basin, through Medicine Bow and Rock River, all the way to Laramie, I would enjoy the company of George Kay. 

The drives home were even better, with long discussions about the Cowboy game we had just witnessed. A couple of middle-of-the-night drives back to Casper were delayed and made even longer during a post-game snowstorm out on Shirley Basin. 

Three years later, the rights to broadcast Cowboy games went to KTWO. I was asked back to handle the play-by-play, and I would have a new partner in the radio booth. George Kay was the new color analyst. We would do 10 years of Cowboy football games together. George and I would do around 125 Cowboy game broadcasts together. So many enjoyable hours of airtime with one of the classiest gentlemen, and true legends, in Wyoming broadcasting. George Kay passed away on Feb. 13.

Joe Dowler

I met Joe Dowler in 1984. I had just been named the Voice of the Cowboys, and was attending a Cheyenne Quarterback Club meeting when I was introduced to the very successful and popular Cowboy wrestling head coach. 

Coach Dowler had been Wyoming’s wrestling coach for 11 years by then and had won multiple Mountain Intercollegiate Wrestling Association and Western Athletic Conference team titles. Dowler would win 104 dual matches and coach 35 individual conference champions and two All-Americans at Wyoming.

The Walshes moved to Laramie in 1986 and Joe Dowler had retired from coaching to become associate athletics director and right-hand man to Athletic Director Paul Roach. Roach and Dowler would lead Wyoming Athletics to unprecedented success. 

Joe was a great administrative leader in the Athletics Department as associate athletic director for 14 years, until 2001. Dowler would then initiate and coordinate the “W” Club for all UW athletic letter-winners. All told, as a coach and administrator, Joe Dowler would serve UW Athletics for 28 years, and was inducted into the UW Hall of Fame in 2005. Joe Dowler passed away last weekend.

George Kay and Joe Dowler were living legends who will be remembered and appreciated for a long time. These two classy family men, with Marge and Glenda by their sides and in full support, would achieve so much during their Wyoming careers. They would win the respect of untold numbers of Wyoming fans, including yours truly.

George…Joe…Rest in Peace.

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Dave Walsh: Springtime In Wyoming Means Only 19 Weeks Until Cowboy Football!

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

I just love springtime in Wyoming! Of course, you could get just about anything “weather-wise” this time of year. One day it feels a lot like winter, others it may seem a bit “fallish” There may be a day or two in April that give you a summertime feel.

And “sports-wise” here in the Cowboy State, we are plenty busy following our springtime favorites. I hear that there are even a few professional leagues back in business and well into their regular season schedules, but as a U-Dub fan, and especially a Cowboy Football geek, spring has sprung in a big way. In fact, the only way I know that it’s technically and officially spring is that Cowboy Football is involved in spring drills. 

Spring Football is just one phase, and a very important one, of the entire process of preparing for the upcoming season. The Cowboys are midway through the spring and two weeks away from the Spring Game in War Memorial Stadium on April 30.

Another thing we love about the spring is that it means we are that much closer to the fall. We are that much closer to the start of the 2022 Cowboy Football season. Cowboy Football fans will tell you that the Pokes are, right now, just 19 weeks from starting the 2022 season. The Cowboys are just a little more than four months from “kicking off” the season in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. The Cowboys will face the Fighting Illini on Saturday, August 27, a mere 133 days from now!

Springtime is a time of reflection, and a time of attending to the here and now, but it’s also a time of moving ahead. We are all kind of “springing forward” I suppose. For this veteran broadcaster, it is all of the above. The old voice still reflects on a Cowboy Football season that ended just four months ago in Boise, Idaho. And can’t help but get excited for the next season that begins in four months in Illinois.

I’ve said many times, on many broadcasts over the years, that I am the most fortunate person. I’ve been lucky enough to spend my entire time in the workplace doing the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, something that was anything and everything but work. I knew at a very tender age, I was 8 years old, with my transistor radio on my pillow, listening and falling asleep to a baseball or basketball game in its final stages, well, I knew then what I wanted to do when I grew up. I wanted to be that announcer, the play-by-play guy describing the game.

Lucky, fortunate, me. Here I am, and here we are just 133 days away from “living the dream” and calling a Cowboy Football game. Back in the booth, back in the headset. Back with the crew, the entire broadcast team.

And back with Kevin.

Like I said, I am the most fortunate person. I am so lucky to have had Kevin McKinney as my partner on Cowboy Football broadcasts. We did 36 years of Cowboy Basketball together, and will head into the 39th consecutive year of announcing a Cowboy Football together. We even did a few Cowboy Baseball broadcasts 25 years ago. 

From 1999 through 2008, Kevin and I co-hosted Sportsline Live, a nightly sports call-in talk show in southeast Wyoming. That’s some 1,200 talk shows and close to 1,500 Cowboy broadcasts, and all were done “live.” Those are a lot of broadcasts to get comfortable with one another, develop a rapport, and just do good radio.

You may have heard me refer to, and often introduce Kevin as “the Armani of Analysis – Kevin Mc Kinney.” The Armani reference is to one of the Kings of Fashion, Georgio Armani. And anyone who has ever met or seen Kevin is immediately impressed with how nattily-dressed the man is, a style that is very Armani-esque. And analysis? Well, there is no one who can breakdown what we have just seen, and provide quick and knowledgeable analysis, better than Kevin McKinney.

I’ve always been very open and honest about how I feel about broadcast, and the Cowboys. I fully admit that I am a “homer.” It’s been a love that began to develop almost exactly 40 years ago. I’ve learned a lot about this great state, its wonderful university, Wyoming athletics, and especially Cowboy sports, from Kevin McKinney. 

Born and bred in Cheyenne, Kevin was a Cowboy fan from the start. He attended Wyoming games all through his childhood, would earn a degree from UW, and has worked in athletics at Wyoming, in so many ways, for more than 50 years.

How lucky am I? The luckiest ever! That’s how much!

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Dave Walsh: NCAA Tournament Brings Back Memories Of Wyoming’s ‘Sweet 16’ Season

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

Well, college basketball season has officially come to an end. The men and women staged what, as always, are always the best tournaments in sports. 

Of course, college fans who have a passion for Wyoming basketball are coming off of enjoyable seasons, the Cowboys and Cowgirls had great seasons, and both are poised for outstanding campaigns ahead.

The men’s championship on Monday night was the classic finale for all of it. And while taking in the three games that made up the semifinals and championship, I found myself flashing back to very fond memories of a historic event, and very important game, in Cowboy basketball history. 

A number of things were similar with these two Big Dance happenings, which took place some 35 seasons apart. This year’s Final Four took me back to the Cowboys final game of the 1986-87 season.

And it was the venue, the actual backdrop of this year’s final, that tossed me back to the last time Cowboy basketball payed a visit to the Sweet Sixteen and played a huge basketball game in a football stadium. Caesars Superdome became the Seattle Kingdome. 

There weren’t 70,000 spectators in the Kingdome 35 years ago like there were in the Superdome on Monday, but the “feel” was certainly the same. The former home of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners seemed similar to the current home of the New Orleans Saints and when the Cowboys took on the top-ranked team in the country, there were more than 23,000 fans in attendance in the 59,000-seat Kingdome.

The other obvious connection was the very nature of the event. We’re talking the NCAAs here, the advanced stages of the tournament, to boot. The game the Cowboys played in Seattle in March of 1987 was coming off of two of the very biggest wins in Wyoming’s long and accomplished history. 

Just days before, the Pokes had beaten Virginia, out of the powerful ACC, in the opening round, and followed that up with a CBS-televised upset over mighty UCLA. The Cowboys, the No. 12-seed in the West, had knocked-off the No. 5 seed and the No. 4 seed in Salt Lake City. Those two wins will probably serve as content in future columns and will be remembered for many years to come.

The Cowboys fed off of a truly home crowd advantage in Salt Lake City. Fennis Dembo became even more famous, and Wyoming was headed to the Pacific Northwest, the West Regionals, the Sweet Sixteen. The Pokes were taking the next big step into the Big Time. And the opponent would be as Big Time as one can get. 

The Cowboys’ next step in the bracket matched them with the top-ranked team in the country. The Pokes would run with the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV, the No. 1 seed in the West and the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. Jerry Tarkanian’s Rebels brought a 35-1 overall record into the game, the Pokes were 24-9.

The game started well for the underdogs from the Western Athletic Conference. In fact, Wyoming held a 1-point lead at halftime. But the Rebels took charge in the second half and, led by All-American Armon Gilliam’s 38 points and 13 rebounds, would end the Cowboy’s season, 92-78.

It was a loss that took nothing away from an incredible season for the Cowboys. The Pokes had won a WAC regular-season Championship, gained an NCAA bid, and made the deepest foray into the NCAA Tournament since the National Championship year 44 years earlier in 1943. And again, it was Wyoming’s best run in the NCAA’s in the last 35 years.

And there was much to look forward to for the Cowboys. Fennis Dembo would be back for a senior season and an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Eric Leckner, Jonathan Sommers, Turk Boyd, Sean Dent and nine seniors-to-be would be returning. 

But ironically, the head coach would not. 

Jim Brandenburg had just completed his ninth season with Wyoming and a very successful run at the helm. Little did anyone know, that NCAA game with UNLV in the Kingdome would be his last as head coach of the Cowboys.

This Cowboy team and its head coach would both be recognized and honored with induction into the University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame. Jim Brandenburg was inducted in 2000, the 1986-87 Cowboy team in 2011. 

That 1986-87 Cowboy basketball season has been referred to as the “Sweet 16 Year” for a long time and that Hall of Fame team will be remembered as the “Sweet 16 Team.” And both will be remembered as such, I suppose, until it happens again.

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Dave Walsh: A Radio Guy Takes A Dive Into The Written Word

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18446

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By Dave Walsh, Cowboy State Daily

I sure didn’t see this coming. An old “radio guy” like me being asked if I’d be interested in writing a column! For Cowboy State Daily no less! 

Yes, it was quite the surprise when Jimmy Orr, the executive editor and co-founder of Cowboy State Daily, contacted me and wanted to discuss the possibility of the “Voice of the Cowboys” contributing to the best “all-Wyoming” website in the business.

I’ve done plenty of writing in my day, but not like this. Most of my writing skills have been used for short, pre-produced radio shows like “Wonders of Wyoming” or the “Cowboy Capsule.” Preparing for the play-by-play broadcast of a Cowboy football or basketball game is entirely different. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to call Cowboy games for almost four decades now, that’s more than 1,500 game broadcasts. And I was also lucky enough to put the first nightly sports/talk radio show in Wyoming on the air back in 1988, “Sportsline Live,” which aired for more 20 years. 

Of course, it was actually a radio play-by-play gig, and a job at KVOC Radio in Casper, that brought me to Wyoming in 1982. I was the “Voice of the Wyoming Wildcatters” and I had found home.

But that was then, and this is now. And now, it is my great privilege and honor to write this column and tell my stories. I can only hope to add to this amazing site in the same manner as great columnists like Bill Sniffin and Rod Miller. I’ll be working with legendary managing editor, Jim Angell, and enjoy the association with old friend Don Day and a most-talented group of reporters in Ellen Fike, Jen Kocher, Wendy Corr, and Clair McFarland. It’s an incredible opportunity, and I am so looking-forward to it.

I’m so excited to tell my stories and share my Wyoming experiences, accumulated over the last 40 years. We’ll be recounting some unique and extraordinary games, and there have been many of those. There have been some big-time performances by great athletes that we will recall. Certain moments that just seem to stick in one’s memory will be discussed. The list of faraway places we’ve been over the years covering the Cowboys and the ‘Catters is lengthy. 

We’ve called games in just about every state in the union and in Australia, Mexico, the Carribean, and Canada as well. And there are some crazy experiences connected to many of those places. There are other stories associated with not-so-faraway places too. I will tell of the many unique experiences associated with rivalries. Wyoming’s match-ups with front-range rivals Colorado State and Air Force, and blood-feuds with BYU and Utah, provide a lot of memorable moments.

I must say that I will be dropping a lot of names in these columns. There are so many places and things to write about, but it’s the people who I have come in contact with over the years who have provided most of the memories, and fodder for these columns. You’ll read about Wyoming coaches, players, and administrators. There are more than a few opposing coaches and players who will be mentioned. And, of course, “fan” is short for “fanatics,” so we’ll tell tales about fanatics we’ve encountered along the way too.

I’ve known for many years now that I’ve had the best “job” there is. Being the “Voice of the Cowboys,” doing the radio play-by-play, really isn’t like a job at all. Oh there’s work to be done in preparing for a broadcast, but gathering information is like rehearsing for a big show. Doing “live” radio play-by-play is all about “painting a picture,” describing the action for a listening audience.

I promise that I will approach this column in much the same way. I’ll make it interesting and fun, and continue to paint a picture. I’ve often said that it can be silly to “live in the past,” but I sure do like “visiting” it once in a while. And I look forward to you logging onto Cowboy State Daily in the coming weeks and joining me.

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