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New Charge Filed Against Beleaguered Laramie County DA Leigh Anne Manlove

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Another formal charge against Laramie County’s district attorney has been filed with the group that oversees the behavior of Wyoming’s attorneys, this one accusing her of improperly blaming police for errors that led to the release of two men accused of violent crimes.

The latest charge filed with the Board of Professional Responsibility on Oct. 18 alleged that Leigh Anne Manlove’s actions led to the release of two men, including one accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl.

“These are a continued demonstration of her lack of competence, her lack of candor and indefensible decision-making on her part that is plainly prejudicial to the administration of justice in Laramie County,” said the charge, filed by W. W. Reeves, special counsel for the State Bar. “She is a persistent and ongoing threat to public safety in Cheyenne.”

Manlove, elected to office in November 2018, is already facing a formal charge before the Board of Professional Responsibility on allegations she has failed to “competently perform the duties of her office” by exaggerating budget pressures faced by her office to justify the dismissal of hundreds of cases in Laramie County. In that charge, filed in June, Manlove was also accused of incorrectly blaming her predecessor in the office for delays in court proceedings and failing to follow through on the prosecution of two men accused of dangerous crimes.

The most recent complaint accuses Manlove of lying about evidence in two cases that ended with the two men being released.

The complaint stems from Manlove’s handling of one case involving a man accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl and another involving a convicted violent felon.

In the sexual abuse case, the Cheyenne Police Department recommended the prosecution of the man, but Manlove declined to prosecute the case.

The complaint said police collected DNA evidence, but Manlove made her decision not to prosecute without looking at the lab results, which were stored on a website designed to be accessed by law enforcement officers such as prosecutors.

Manlove blamed the police for failing to deliver the results of the DNA analysis even though they had posted the results on the website for access by her office.

“Manlove knew that excuse was baseless,” the charge said. “The results were positive and provided conclusive support for the victim’s statement.”

In the other case, about one year earlier, a man convicted of four prior felonies was charged with first-degree sexual assault, strangulation of a household member, domestic battery and other crimes. The man’s defense attorney asked to see some of the evidence against his client so he could ask that it be excluded from his trial.

Manlove failed to submit the evidence and the case against the man was dismissed.

The evidence included reports of DNA analysis from the Wyoming State Crime Lab, which the complaint said was posted on the website.

But Manlove blamed the Cheyenne Police Department for failing to send her office the DNA test results.

“Manlove knew from an experience one month earlier that the lab reports were available on her computer via the (website) … “ the complaint said.

The charge alleged that the problems stem largely from Manlove’s decision to fire all but one of the office’s prosecutors on her first day in office, resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge.

“These conditions resulted in inadequately trained and overworked employees in a hostile work environment, delayed prosecutions, late court filings, missed court appearances, failures to comply with court orders, and late delivery of evidence to defense counsel, all covered over with unfounded excuses,” it said.

The charge asked for a formal hearing before the Board of Responsibility that would result in a recommendation for discipline to the Wyoming Supreme Court.

A phone call to Manlove and an email to her attorney, Stephen Melchior, were not immediately returned.

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Mother, Son Arrested Near Rock Springs In Oklahoma Murder

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A mother and son sought in connection with an Oklahoma murder were arrested near Rock Springs this week, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Debbie Senft, 47, and Zachary Mussett, 26, both of Texarkana, Texas, are currently in custody at the Sweetwater County Detention Center and are awaiting extradition to Oklahoma to face charges related to the murder of 56-year-old Michael “Andy” McGuffee, the OSBI announced Friday.

Both the mother and son have been charged with one count of first-degree murder. Senft, who is McGuffee’s half-sister, and Mussett are being held without bond.

On Oct. 15, McGuffee’s wife was contacted when he did not show up for work in Blanchard, Oklahoma. She sent a family member to check on him.

When that family member arrived at the residence and saw signs of a fire, he contacted the Blanchard Police Department. After officers arrived at the scene and found McGuffee’s body, the Blanchard Police Department asked for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s assistance with the investigation.

When OSBI agents arrived on the scene, they determined McGuffee was the victim of a homicide.

While agents processed the crime scene, it was discovered that a fire had been started intentionally and many items were stolen from the residence, including McGuffee’s pickup truck.  

Early this week, agents discovered that items stolen from McGuffee were pawned in Salina, Kansas. At that point, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation went and collected the evidence from the pawn shop.

A few days later, agents recovered the pickup truck at a car wash in Oklahoma City.

The investigation then led agents to Wyoming.

Senft and Mussett were located 15 miles east of Rock Springs on Interstate 80 this week. The Wyoming Highway Patrol pulled over the moving truck Senft and Mussett were driving and agents with Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation took the pair into custody.

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Wyoming Dept Of Health Says More People Should Get COVID Booster Shots

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming residents’ eligibility for COVID vaccine booster shots has been expanded to include seniors, along with those who may be at a high risk for the illness, the Wyoming Department of Health announced on Friday.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added booster dose recommendations for the COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Moderna and by Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) for certain groups of people to previous recommendations issues for the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer.

The updated CDC recommendations follow authorization by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

“Booster doses do just what the name implies: they ‘boost’ the strong protection the vaccines already offer. This ‘boost’ is especially important for those who are most likely to experience severe illness or exposure to the virus,” Harrist said.

Among people who received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, those eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their second dose include people who are:

For people who previously received a Johnson and Johnson vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

The CDC also approved a “mix and match” approach for booster doses, which means people may receive COVID-19 booster doses produced by a different company than produced their original vaccine. For example, those who previously received the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine may choose a booster dose of either a Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“We continue to see high numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Wyoming and the state’s low vaccination rates contribute to our vulnerability to the aggressive Delta variant,” Harrist said. “For those people who are not yet vaccinated, getting started with COVID-19 vaccines remains a key priority and the most important step available to help prevent COVID-19 illness.

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be safe and effective against COVID-19, including the variants, and are especially good at protecting against severe illness,” Harrist continued.

All COVID-19 vaccine doses continue to be offered at no cost to those who receive them.

Harrist noted it is considered safe to get a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine dose at the same time.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving either of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The CDC earlier recommended an additional dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems.

Available data has shown that the vaccine’s protection decreases over time following initial doses. With the Delta variant being so contagious, health officials are seeing evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate cases of the disease.

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Legislator Names Anti-Mask Bill In Honor Of Laramie Teen Arrested For Not Wearing Mask

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A bill named after and and inspired by the Laramie teen arrested at her high school for refusing to wear a mask has been filed for consideration by Wyoming’s Legislature.

The Grace Smith Medical Freedom Act would require county and state health officers to grant waivers from coronavirus immunization or face mask use requirements to any K-12 student who requests one. This bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Ocean Andrew, R-Laramie, and Sen. Bo Biteman, R-Sheridan.

Andrew told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that he named the bill after Grace because he was inspired by the courage shown by her and her father in ignoring Laramie High School’s mask mandate.

“They took a stand for not only their rights but all people’s rights,” Andrew told Cowboy State Daily. “I felt it was important that I sponsor this bill because her arrest happened within the boundaries of the district I represent.”

He added that the state’s statutes need to be updated to reflect the health freedom rights guaranteed by the state’s Constitution.

“The Wyoming Constitution says that the State of Wyoming shall act to preserve these rights from undue governmental infringement,” Andrew said. “I believe that it’s our duty as a legislature to update our statutes to reflect the rights guaranteed by the constitution we pledge to uphold.”

The bill will likely come up for discussion during the Wyoming Legislature’s special session next week.

Biteman did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment.

Grace was arrested earlier this month for trespassing after she refused to wear a face mask at Laramie High School as required by school district policy. She was cited for trespassing for refusing to leave the school after being told she could not stay unless she wore a mask.

Grace went into custody willingly and was polite with officers when arrested, videos taken and shared by her father show. The teen was also fined $1,000 for trespassing.

Albany County School District No. 1, which includes Laramie High, adopted a requirement for the use of facemasks in September. The requirement was extended until mid-November by school board members earlier this month.

Grace has withdrawn from the high school due to the controversy, but has not ruled out enrolling again for her senior year.

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Women Severely Burned At Yellowstone Beginning To Wake From Coma

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The woman who was severely burned earlier this month at Yellowstone National Park is beginning to awaken from her medically-induced coma, her family announced this week.

Laiha Slayton, 20, was burned when she jumped into a hot spring to rescue her dog, which had jumped out of the family’s vehicle and into the hot spring. Her father pulled her out of the spring. The dog ultimately died from its injuries.

Laiha’s sister, Kamilla Slayton, gave a brief update on Tuesday, noting that her sister’s doctors are slowly waking her from the coma. However, she was not fully awake at the time of the posting.

“She’s pretty uncomfortable right now,” Kamilla Slayton wrote on the family’s GoFundMe campaign for her sister. “She most likely can hear us that doctors say. She did try to move a lot of her upper body and her tongue.”

In addition to the GoFundMe campaign, which had raised almost $70,000 as of Friday, the family is now selling t-shirts to help raise money to cover Slayton’s medical bills and recovery.

Last week, Kamilla Slayton announced that her sister was receiving cadaver skin grafts to replace the skin she lost due to the burns.

Slayton said her sister was in scalding hot, 190-degree, water for about eight seconds.

“My sister’s palms are completely gone and will have to go into surgery and possibly for the rest of her body too,” Slayton said.

She said Laiha has burns on 91% of her body, a mix of third-degree and second-degree burns.

“The burns seem to be better than they had initially thought. She still has some 3rd degree burns but mostly 2nd degree burns after they have got a better look at the skin today,” Kamilla wrote. “This means that our dad pulled her out insanely fast. She’s incredibly lucky. Dad saved her life.”

Slayton said her father was not in pain and his wounds on his foot were being treated. She said his blisters’ average size were about 1.5 inches.

Slayton’s was second significant injury in a thermal area in 2021. The first occurred in September at Old Faithful when a 19-year-old woman left the boardwalk on the park and suffered second- and third-degree burns to 5% of her body.

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Powell To Go Dark While New Electrical Substation Equipment Is Brought Online

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By Kevin Killough, Powell Tribune

As part of the Vining Substation renovation, the City of Powell will cut off power to all customers for two nights next week.

The first outage will begin on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 11 p.m. and is expected to end around 3 a.m. During that time, crews will energize new equipment in half the station. Over the next couple days, the city will monitor the equipment to make sure it functions properly. 

Then at 11 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1, power to the city will again be shut off so that crews can switch the city over to the new equipment. That outage is expected to last six hours. 

Once the entire substation renovation is complete, it will have two 20-megawatt transformers active, up from two 10-megawatt transformers. However, next week’s outages will only be for half the new substation, meaning the city will be powered by a single 20-megawatt transformer until the next phase is ready in early spring. When that portion is ready, the city will need additional outages to bring it online. 

The city had planned to perform the first set of outages during the summer, but electrical equipment is as prone to supply issues as so many products today. City Administrator Zack Thorington said the city was fortunate to have ordered most of the items for the project before supply chain issues arose, or the delays would have been much worse. 

“We were just lucky we had parts ordered before anyone knew what COVID was,” Thorington said. 

Councilor Zane Logan, who was city administrator the last time the city installed transformers at the substation in the early 1990s, said those outages occurred on a cold February morning with subzero temperatures and winds.

The city will benefit from  having brought the first transformer online after summer, as it won’t have the kinds of loads placed on it that occurs when air conditioners are running high, as the substation did during this summer’s high temperatures. 

The weather for next week’s planned outages will have temperatures in the mid-30s, with low winds. Thorington said the city is prepared to delay the outages should the weather take a turn for the worse. 

He and Powell Electric Superintendent “have discussed this scenario, and as of now the weather looks to be cooperating,” Thorington said. 

Thorington advises residents to crank up the heat when they go to bed those evenings so they have some heat stored up in their homes during the outages. He added that the outages could be shorter than planned, but there are too many uncertainties to say for sure. 

The Vining Substation caught fire in June 2019, leaving the city without power for several hours. The city was able to get the substation functional while it carried out a $3.1 million renovation. The entire project is expected to be completed in spring 2022. 

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Laramie County GOP Calls On Wyoming GOP To Censure Park County Republican For Obscene Email

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Laramie County Republican Party has called on the state GOP to officially censure a Park County Republican because of an obscene email he sent to a senator from Cheyenne last month.

The Laramie County party’s central committee, during a meeting Tuesday, voted to send a resolution to the state party calling for the state party to immediately censure Park County Republican Precinct Committeeman Troy Bray for an email he sent to Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne.

In the email he sent last month, Bray criticized the senator for how she handled a bill that would have banned the state from requiring its employees to get the coronavirus vaccine.

“If I were as despicable a person as you, I would kill myself to rid the world of myself,” said the email, a copy of which was obtained by the Casper Star-Tribune. “You sicken me. Thank you for ensuring that the people of Wyoming are subjected to tyranny once again. F— YOU C—.” 

Bray signed the email with his titles as a precinct committeeman and as secretary of Park County Republican Men’s Club, the latter of which he resigned from.

In her response to Bray’s initial email, Nethercott did not mention either Bray’s suggestion that she commit suicide or the obscenity the message contained. Instead, she thanked the precinct committeeman for reaching out to her to share his opinions.

The resolution from the Laramie County GOP called Bray’s conduct “foul” and said that he both dehumanized and “vilely degrad[ed] Nethercott with the words he used.

“It is incumbent upon us as members of the WYGOP to condemn such abhorrent behavior done by a fellow member of the WYGOP under signature of his official title in the Park County Republican Party,” the resolution said.

Leaders of the Park County Republican Party decided not to take action against Bray for his actions.

State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, who serves with Nethercott, applauded the county party for its defense of the senator.

“I’m proud of the LCGOP for standing up for Senator Nethercott,” Brown told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “The comments from Mr. Bray show the worst side of politics. Politicians face scrutiny every day and that is expected. Inciting hate and calling for such egregious behavior is reprehensible at best and absolutely grotesque at worst. LCGOP continues to lead the way with civil discourse and appropriate responses.”

After the contents of Bray’s message were published by the Casper Star-Tribune, the Wyoming House Speaker Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, and Senate President Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, called on Bray to resign his position within the Park County Republican Party.

“Attacking a state legislator through use of violent, lewd and derogatory language cannot and will not go unanswered in Wyoming,” Barlow and Dockstader wrote on Sept. 22, calling on the county and state parties to join them in seeking Bray’s resignation.

Bray refused to do so.

“I have resigned as Secretary of the Park County Republican Men’s Club after being asked to by the executive committee, but I will not resign as precinct committeeman,” he said on Facebook. “I have also received a bit of pressure from the leftists/ RINO class of scum, including a gentleman calling my employer demanding that I be fired.”

In the same social media post, he again apologized to Nethercott for the language he used, calling it “inappropriate”.

“The cowardice and pettiness being shown by you and your supporters proves every other word of my e-mail. I will not be bullied, nor will I allow bullies to win. Have a wonderful day,” Bray said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Wyoming GOP has not yet censured Bray.

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Cheney Infuriates Marjorie Taylor Greene With Jewish Space Lasers Comment

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney has proven many times that she’s quick with a quick comeback.

As evidence, just review an exchange today with rightwing firebrand Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia).

The drama came during a vote to hold Steve Bannon, a strategist for former President Donald Trump, in contempt for failing to cooperate with the committee investigating with the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

Greene, who is no stranger to heated conversations, walked up to Cheney and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) and asked them, “Why don’t you guys investigate something that matters for the people.”

According to media reports, Cheney dismissed her by asking: “Like Jewish space lasers?”

“I never said that Liz,” Greene yelled.

Cheney was referencing Greene’s 2018 Facebook post where she theorized that California fires may have been started by space lasers to benefit a banking firm with a Jewish name.

Cheney then called Greene a joke to which Greene said Cheney was a joke.

“You’re done. You’re a joke, Liz. Your party rejected you. Why don’t you go investigate something that matters to the American people?” Greene said.

Describing the exchange to reporters, Rep. Raskin said Greene “seemed to have some kind of ancient beef with the former chair of the House Republican Conference Liz Cheney over the Jewish space lasers thing or something like that. And she denied that she’d ever said that and then blamed it on the mainstream media.”

The House of Representatives voted by a 229-202 margin to hold Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress.  Nine Republicans voted with all 220 Democrats to pass the resolution.

The resolution will now go to the Department of Justice, which will decide whether Bannon should be prosecuted.

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of October 13 – 17, 2021

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By Jen Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Oct. 13 – 20. Our condolences to family and friends:

Oct. 13:

Oct. 14:

Oct. 15:

Oct. 16:

Oct. 17:

Oct. 18:

Oct. 19:

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Homecoming to Feature Wyoming Cowboys vs. New Mexico Lobos on Saturday

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By Tim Harkins

The Wyoming Cowboys will play their 96th Homecoming Game on Saturday.  This year’s Homecoming opponent will be the New Mexico Lobos.  The game will kick off at 1:30 p.m., Mountain Time.

The Cowboys will be looking for their first conference win of the season on Saturday.  UW will enter Saturday’s game with a 4-2 overall record and an 0-2 record in the Mountain West.  The Lobos are also in search of their first Mountain West win this season.  New Mexico brings a 2-5 overall record and an 0-3 record in the Mountain West into this week’s game.

Ticket Information

Tickets to Saturday’s Wyoming-New Mexico game are available online at GoWyo.com/tickets, by emailing tickets@uwyo.edu or by calling the UW Athletics Ticket Office at (307) 766-7220.

Homecoming 2021

This week’s game versus New Mexico will mark the 96th Homecoming game in University of Wyoming history, and the 71st Homecoming game to be played in War Memorial Stadium.

Wyoming renews its Homecoming tradition this season.  In 2020, there was no Homecoming Game due to COVID-19.

The last time Wyoming hosted a Homecoming Game was in 2019 and that game also featured the New Mexico Lobos as Wyoming’s opponent.  Wyoming won that 2019 Homecoming contest over New Mexico by a score of 23-10 on Oct. 19, 2019.

      •UW’s Overall Record in Homecoming Games                     47-45-3 (.511)

      •UW’s Homecoming Record in War Memorial                       42-26-2 (.614)

One of the Best in the Nation — Cowboy Linebacker Chad Muma

A year ago in 2020, Wyoming middle linebacker Chad Muma ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation in total tackles per game at 11.8, and he ranked No. 5 in the MW and No. 16 in the FBS in solo tackles (5.5/game).

In 2021, Muma is averaging 9.7 total tackles per game to rank No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 12 among all FBS players. 

Muma is averaging 7.2 solo tackles per game to rank No. 1 among all FBS players in the nation.  He is also tied for No. 1 in the nation in most interception returns for touchdowns in 2021 with two “Pick Sixes”.  He is tied with Iowa defensive back Riley Moss.

2021 Pokes Have Developed Into One of the Top Defenses in the Nation

As you look at Wyoming’s defensive rankings this season, defending opposing offenses’ has become a strength for the Cowboys.  Wyoming is tied for No. 3 in the nation in defensive touchdowns scored (3), ranks No. 7 in the NCAA in fewest passing yards allowed per game (158.7), is No. 13 in pass defense efficiency (108.56) and ranks No. 29 in total defense, allowing opponents only 319.8 yards per game.

Cowboy Offense Performing in Key Situations

Two key offensive statistics are how an offense is able to convert in third-down situations and how effective an offense is at scoring points once in the red zone.  The Wyoming Cowboys are among the best in the nation in 2021 in both of those key stats.

UW ranks No. 24 in the country in third-down conversion percentage at 46.3 percent, converting 38 of 82 third-down plays.

The Pokes are also No. 28 in the FBS in red-zone offense, scoring on 90.0 percent of their red-zone opportunities (18 of 20).

Home Success

The Wyoming Cowboys have been very successful at home over the last six seasons.  Since 2016, Wyoming has won 23 of its last 31 home games for a winning percentage of 74.2 percent.

Wyoming’s 23 home wins during this stretch began with the first game of the 2016 season when they won a triple overtime thriller over Northern Illinois by a score of 40-34. 

The Cowboys went on to post a perfect 6-0 regular season in 2016 before hosting the Mountain West Conference Championship Game, which they lost 24-27 to San Diego State to finish 6-1 at home.  UW also posted a perfect 6-0 regular season home record in 2019.

The Pokes have also won 11 of their last 13 home games, dating back to the last two home games of the 2018 season thru the 2021 season.

Bouncing Back After a Home Loss

Coming off last week’s home loss to Fresno State, the Wyoming Cowboys are looking to continue a tradition of bouncing back at home following a home loss.

Since 2016, Wyoming has suffered only eight home losses.  Following six of those home losses the Cowboys have won their next home game.

Only twice have the Cowboys lost consecutive home games since 2016.  In 2017, UW lost its last home game of the season to Fresno State and lost its 2018 home opener vs. Washington State.  In 2018, UW lost consecutive home games to Boise State and Utah State.

The Cowboys and the Lobos

The Wyoming Cowboys and New Mexico Lobos will play each other for the 74th time this Saturday.  Last year’s meeting was a first as the two teams played in Las Vegas, Nev., due to COVID-19 conditions in the state of New Mexico forcing UNM Football to play its home games in the state of Nevada.

Wyoming leads the overall series between the two schools with 39 wins against 34 wins for New Mexico.  In games played in Laramie, Wyoming leads the series 20-15.

The Cowboys and the Lobos have been members of the same conference since 1951 when they were both members of the Skyline Conference.  Wyoming and New Mexico are meeting for the 23rd consecutive season since both became founding members of the Mountain West Conference in 1999.  Prior to that, they were founding members of the Western Athletic Conference in 1962.

Where to Watch and Listen

For fans who are unable to attend Saturday’s game in War Memorial Stadium, there are several ways to watch and listen.

Radio Broadcast Information for the Cowboy Sports Network (CSN):

Every Cowboy Football game is broadcast live on the 26 affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network

Announcers are Dave Walsh, Play-by-Play (38th year), Kevin McKinney, Color Analyst (24th year) and

Reece Monaco, Sideline Reporter (11th year)

The pregame show begins 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Television Broadcast Information for Wyoming vs. New Mexico Game

Saturday’s game will be televised on Stadium.  Announcers will be Chris Vosters (Play-by-play) and Sed Bonner (Color Analyst).

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