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Dave Walsh: It’s A Time For Family, Which Is What The Pokes Are

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By Dave Walsh, Columnist

What a wonderful time of year!

The Holiday Season has begun, a wonderful and certainly a favorite time of year for most. It’s a time of counting one’s blessings and looking forward. 

And it’s a time for family.

We tend to gather during the holiday season as a family or a group of the people who mean so much to us. 

In the sports world, that may mean a gathering together of your seasonal group of brothers or sisters. 

Your “team” becomes your family. Your teammates are your brothers and sisters. Coaches are often looked upon as father or mother-figures, or even older brothers or sisters. 

And in the sports world there are many teams, or “families,” gathered together at many various sites away from home, perhaps to compete. An example: The Wyoming Cowboys play tonight in Fresno, California. 

The schedule says that the Cowboys and Bulldogs play their final conference games tonight in Fresno. In fact, it’s the final regular season game for both. 

Yes, here it is the day after Thanksgiving Day and the very start of the Holiday Season, and the Pokes will knock heads in a very important season finale.

The most important aspect of this great time of year, of course, is the “family” part. This is the holiday season and, most importantly, the family season. I think that is what is best in the real world, and in the sports world too. 

In the sports world, most of the teams that are successful talk about their affection for the group. They are fully convinced that the close-knit family feel is key. With that, the intense motivation that can come when one feels they are playing for “team” is special. 

It’s not about individual achievement for the members of great teams, it seems. That’s not to say that there aren’t great individual talents who can be members of a great team. There are indeed great leaders, by performance and position, who are exceptional. 

But the thing they are most exceptional at is helping their teammates be their very best. Great leaders, and great players, make their teams and their teammates better.

And they do so within the “family” concept.

The very best teams, the most successful teams, seem to have that one thing in common.

Like a close-knit family, the good team confides and relies on one another. The popular claim of “having one’s back” really does hold true in today’s team sports. It’s the popular term that makes the simple claim that, “I’m behind you, I care for you and I support you.” 

And really, if you have that family feel going, that positive and passionate vibe going on, it has to increase the odds of being successful. What is more important than having the support of those who love you, the family and friends closest to you?

The answer to that one is nothing.

And that holds true win or lose. 

The Wyoming Cowboys said as much, and proved the point of just how important “family” is. And they did so, even in defeat.

The Pokes suffered a heartbreaking loss to Boise State last Saturday in War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys went toe-to-toe with a very good team and battled their highly favored opponent to the very end. They gathered together, banded together as one, and represented themselves, and their family, very well.

After the game, the Cowboys stayed united in their response. The Pokes accepted the result and accepted responsibility for the result. And they did so as a group, as a team, as a family. 

It was made very clear that this Cowboy team will continue to perform after this last effort, just as they did during it.

There was never any mention of the silly “moral victory” theory or the “close, but no cigar” false comfort.

The Cowboys appear to be determined to continue with a great deal of hard work, together, as a family. That’s their best theory, and best formula, for success.

Here’s hoping you are off to a great start to this wonderful season with a belated happy Thanksgiving Day! 

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Bill Sniffin: Lots To Be Thankful For – Mainly That Pandemic Is In Our Rearview Mirror

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By Bill Sniffin, Columnist

Masks, guns and banks. Out here in Wyoming, that sounds like Butch Cassidy and The Wild Bunch. 

Butch was famously asked why he robbed banks. “That’s where the money is,” he answered, looking like he had just been asked the dumbest question on the planet. If Butch did not say it originally, I am sure he thought it. 

Two years ago, right now, I recall seeing a local Lander sportsman standing before a teller in a local bank, with his pistol on his hip, wearing a mask and making a withdrawal. 

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this happened all the time, but those were strange times indeed. It was not odd then because everybody in the bank was wearing a mask.  

I was thinking about this while contemplating things that a person should be thankful for here during Thanksgiving weekend. 

Besides that peaceful money transaction described above, vaccines come to mind when I think of things to be thankful for. Just two years ago, the entire world had shut down because of the COVID-19 virus and more than 1 million Americans have died from the disease. 

Most of us were housebound and working remotely. People were spending the easy money that came from the government and smart businesspeople were filling out forms and working with their bankers and accountants to collect money from programs called PPP and CARES. 

The WBC Really Stepped Up

Here in Wyoming, the Wyoming Business Council did an absolutely magnificent job of passing out millions of dollars to small businesspeople. I know dozens of small businesses that would not have made it without that good work by the WBC. The number of businesses saved by its good efforts was probably in the thousands.

Gov. Mark Gordon caught a lot of flak during this time as he and his health officer tried to navigate the state through the crisis. From today looking back, Gordon appears to have done a good job in how he handled things. 

We are thankful to have lived through the pandemic, and we lost some good people during that awful time. A lot of folks got sick and our medical community paid a high price for their dedication and good work.

New ways of doing business evolved. Remote meetings and telehealth were probably the biggest. School kids had classes at home.

Wyoming has always been famous for its long-distance driving. People in our state drive more miles per capita than any other state. A typical Wyoming meeting was described as driving three hours, meeting for two hours, and then driving three hours home. Not so much anymore. 

Zoom meetings became the norm and continue to be the norm. What a luxury is it to sit in your home office and be at a meeting 160 miles away. We all just gained six extra hours plus not having to risk our lives on dangerous roads or dodging wildlife at night. 

The term “Zoom casual” came into being where a person would wear a nice shirt but might be wearing shorts below the waist and out of camera view. 

I have lots of scenic photos and Zoom has an option where you can put a different backdrop behind you. My home office is very cluttered and a mess. My wife says I have a piling system, not a filing system. Thus, I always put up a nice scenic image behind me. At this morning’s Cowboy State Daily zoom meeting, it was a photo of a giant bison in Yellowstone Park. 

Two years ago during the COVID-19 crisis, there were many months in the early days when Wyoming seemed to be spared from the scourge. On June 28, 2020, we had just 20 deaths, which was the third least of any state in the country, behind Hawaii and Alaska.

Ultimately, that changed and we ended up with our share of deaths. A lot of good folks died because of it.  

Summer 2020 Was Crazy Safe

A true oddity occurred during the summer of 2020. Millions of tourists came to Wyoming because of our open spaces and wonderful sites and sights. Instead of an explosion of COVID-19 cases, it was benign until fall. 

Looking back, that is something I continue to be thankful for.

I had made a promise to myself to never write another column focused on COVID-19, but when it was time to reflect on things to be thankful for this week, there just were no other options.

We are also thankful for our family and our friends. Please be safe if you are traveling this week and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Greg Johnson: How I Made My First Real Date Projectile Vomit The Night Before Thanksgiving

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By Greg Johnson, Cowboy State Daily

It’s usually about a week before Thanksgiving when I get what’s become a predictable phone call.

It’s mom wanting to know if I’ll be at the family Thanksgiving dinner. It’s the same call she’s made for the past 20 years or so. And for many of those Thanksgivings I’ve had to tell her that no, I couldn’t make it back. 

That includes the seven years I was in Alaska about 4,000 miles away, which never really registered with her that making a trip back would’ve been a little inconvenient.

Last year as we went through what’s become an annual ritual of her asking and my having to decline, Mom hit me with, “Are you sure? Maybe we could invite the Keiths.”

Instant flashback 38 Thanksgivings ago to 1984.

I was 16, had just realized the freedom of having my own car (a $300, 1971 Plymouth Satellite with 200,000 miles on it) and finally had my first “real” date.

I’d been out with girls before, but always was driven by my parents or hers. This was the first time taking my own wheels out alone with a girl.

That girl was Lori Keith.

By that time, the Keiths and Johnsons had been family friends for years (and still are). I had known Lori since we were about 8. 

And of course, I had somewhat of a crush on her all that time. 

For about a 10-year stretch or so, our families would take turns hosting Thanksgiving dinners. That year was the Keiths’ turn.

But first there was the date, which happened the night before Thanksgiving.

I worked at a little mom-and-pop deli/pizza parlor at the local mall and got an employee discount. Also, it was in the same mall as the movie theater, so I picked Lori up and we went out for some pizza and a movie.

The pizza was great, as was the movie (I think we saw “The Terminator,” but can’t remember for sure). 

As I was trying to muster up the courage to hold Lori’s hand, she grabbed mine.

This first “real” date was going great.

Then the movie ended, and while walking out to the car, Lori suddenly stopped, bent over and projectile vomited all over her shoes and the parking lot.

Guess the pizza wasn’t so great after all. 

I knew she was embarrassed, and I didn’t know what to do other than run back into the theater to grab some napkins.

I remember thinking I must not be that great of a date if she has to throw up before it’s even over. And it goes without saying that the post-movie ice cream I’d planned wasn’t going to happen.

So, I took Lori home while she apologized the whole way and expressed how mortified she was. 

Before getting out of the car, she made me promise to never tell anyone about what happened that night.

I held up my right hand: pinky swear, double-dog-dare I promise. It’s our secret.

Of course, the first thing I did when I got home was tell my mom — after also swearing her to secrecy.

Then came the kicker. Mom reminded me I was going to see Lori again the next day because we were going to her family’s house for Thanksgiving.

For the most part, the day went well. We pretty much just pretended the night before never happened and everything was fine.

Then we all sat down and had a great dinner. In that blissfully content moment after you’ve stuffed yourself with Thanksgiving but haven’t yet thought about the cleanup, mom blew the lid off our secret.

Seems after I spilled the beans the night before, mom went to her sewing machine and made Lori a little gift — a plastic-lined barf bag with a green-faced teddy bear stenciled on it.

She handed it to Lori, who immediately shot me a look that pretty much confirmed that first real date would be our last.

We actually did go out a few more times, but then went our own ways in school and life. 

But the families remained close for years after and on that one day we’d all get together to stuff ourselves, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the mostly heavily embellished retelling of the somewhat unappetizing story of how Greg made Lori puke on their first date.

Like watching “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” regurgitating the story of Greg and Lori’s not-so-excellent adventure has become a Johnson family Thanksgiving tradition.

Decades later I’d heard that Lori still has that homemade barf bag, and to my knowledge, has never had to use it.

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Pennie Hunt: Are You A Number Person Or A Word Person?

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By Pennie Hunt, Columnist

I believe everyone is either a number person or a word person. Which one are you? There isn’t a right or wrong answer. 

A number person loves spreadsheets filled with numbers, tracking amounts and calculating percentages. When they don’t feel well, they will say things like, “I only feel about 50% today.”

They like to give you scales to rate things – on a scale from 1-10 how strong is your pain. They remember the date and time that everything happened, like birthdays, anniversaries and the day they bought their first car. They know the make and model of every car they ever owned. 

They can rattle off statistics about every topic they are interested in.

Does this sound like you? 

Not me. I like numbers. I am fascinated with numerology and the connections numbers make to our name, our birth date and events that happen in our life. That may be where my fascination with numbers ends. 

I do have spreadsheets filled with names. I track my progress in journals filled with words explaining how much better or worse I am doing. 

Percentages? I don’t go there. 

When I don’t feel well, I will explain what hurts, how much it hurts and how long it has been hurting. I feel terrible, mediocre or fantastic! No 1-10 in my mind. My thoughts process is feelings and emotions, not percentages or scales.

I might not remember the exact date when events happened, but I can tell you what season it was, how the air smelled, if the wind was blowing, how happy everyone was and what I was wearing. 

My memory clicks through scenes as if there is a movie camera in my mind rewinding and playing the video. 

I remember seeing my first car for the first time. I danced circles around it and couldn’t wait to slide into the blue seat that smelled the way old vinyl smells. I can tell you how the radio belted out Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” and how the windshield wipers sounded when they swooshed from side to side. 

I do remember what kind of car it was because it became her name – Rambler! 

Word people name everything. My current car is named Ruby. She followed Liberty, Blaze and so many others. My refrigerator is Kevin. And a few years ago, on a blustery fall day when the leaves were swirling yellow and red in my driveway, Thelma and Louise were taken away to a place where old washers and dryers retire. That is the day Lavern and Shirley came into my life. They sparkle and shine proudly in my laundry room. 

I love words. I love the way they sound rolling out of my mouth. I love playing with them, rearranging them and creating stories about life’s progress and setbacks with them. 

Number people love numbers. They love the way they bounce around in their minds. They love playing with them, rearranging them and creating stories about life’s progress and setbacks with them. 

Word people and number people aren’t that different. We may speak a different version of the same language, but we are saying the same thing. Sometimes the two types of people collide in disagreements and disconnection. When we realize we are just framing life in a different way communication becomes easier. 

I may describe my life and progress with colorful words and descriptions. A number person may chart their life and progress with percentages and monetary increases. In the end, we tell the same story.

Are you a number person or a word person?

Pennie’s Life Lesson: Number people and word people frame life in a different way.

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Coy Knobel: Fear Is Partly To Blame for Lackluster GOP Election Performance

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By Coy Knobel, Cowboy State Daily 

The recent general election was not the “red wave” in Congress some folks hoped for and many predicted. Oh, our state remains staunchly Republican, and Wyoming even increased its number of GOP state legislators. 

In Congress, the GOP took the House, barely, but overall Democrats did a lot better than polls and history predicted. 

My Cowboy State Daily colleagues Bill Sniffin and Dave Simpson termed it a red “ripple” and “dribble” respectively. But whatever you call it, it was unexpected by most. Politicians and pundits of every denomination are trying to figure it out. 

When Democrats lose, they sometimes say they didn’t do a good job conveying their message. They didn’t “educate” people properly. To me that sounds like, “The voters were not smart enough to realize our party and the experts we put in place know how to run things (including individual lives) best. We failed to enlighten enough people to this truth.” 

But this time the GOP fell short. 

Conditions Were Ripe For Red Wave

Inflation is at a 40-year high. Crime is way up in big cities. We have a border crisis with illegal immigrants and deadly drugs making their way north into our country. 

We also have an unpopular president. It was a midterm election. In midterm elections, the party of the sitting president traditionally fares poorly. 

How could an election result like this happen? 

Some say former President Donald Trump, who announced he’s running for president once again, and his “election-denying” candidates were to blame for the GOP not winning as many races as predicted. Some say it was simply poor-quality candidates. Some say the GOP leadership was not organized and that the GOP was not prepared for new election realities like early voting. 

Many states no longer have AN election day. It’s election days, or even election weeks, now with some states’ early voting and mail-in ballots. 

Did abortion politics play more of a role than the GOP figured? Did the Democrats’ “democracy is in peril” strategy work? Were people really worried about President Biden’s proclaimed MAGA threat? 

Or what about the nearly $40 million that crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried gave in support of causes helping Democrats? He founded FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange that suddenly and mysteriously went bankrupt soon after the election. As far as Democratic donors go, he was second only to George Soros this election cycle. 

Caring Too Much About The Wrong Thing

All of these factors and others may have played a role, but I think there is something else at work here, something more basic. 

Fear … the fear of losing the election. 

That is a big reason the GOP did not do as well as people thought they would. 

This is nothing new or localized to one party or region of the country. Officeholders of every party work hard to be where they are, and they want to keep and gain power. It’s a basic part of human nature, but it builds on itself year after year. I saw it increase during my years in Washington, D.C. I can see that fear continues to grow. 

Elected officials motivated by the fear of losing put most of their efforts into campaigning. Every day of the year, every year, actions are measured by how many votes they will win or lose in the next election. 

Do everything to win because after all, if you don’t win you can do nothing, right? The other side is free to wreck the republic if you aren’t there to stop them. There is logic and truth to that, until it becomes the end rather than the means. 

The majority in the House, no matter the party, has always run the show in that chamber and it carefully chooses which issues to bring up and how they are brought up. That’s the way the House was made. 

Unfortunately in the Senate, a body made to empower individual senators and states, the parties also have enacted a system that consolidates power in party leadership and is geared toward elections. The Senate has become more and more like the House. 

In exchange for the power given to them, the party leadership protects incumbents and recruits and supports candidates likely to help the cause. One of the ways party leaders protect members and the party is by avoiding direct votes on controversial issues. After all, votes can be used by the opposition in elections. 

When votes are unavoidable, issues are bunched together and massive “omnibus” bills are put together. Hundreds of pages and billions of dollars in one bill and it’s take it or leave it. The leader of the party allows only what the leader wants in that bill and does not allow changes. No amendments unless the leader approves. 

When the leader does allow amendments they are often just designed to embarrass the other party. They are for show and designed to help with the next election, to show the folks back home the senators are trying. Sometimes on the GOP side a rebellious senator is able to force the leader’s hand and get a vote on an amendment, but the leader slaps a 60-vote requirement on it to ensure it won’t pass. 

More show. But maybe voters know what’s show and what’s real. 

Democrats challenge their own leadership even less than the GOP challenges theirs because the Democratic leader in the Senate has more power to demote Democrats, to take away their committee positions. 

The leadership of both parties frown on senators cooperating with the other party at least when it’s close to election time and especially if the other party’s senator is up for re-election. Leadership will sometimes stop things from happening if credit will go to or have to be shared with members of the other party. 

A GOP Bright Spot In Florida

“Good policy is good politics.” I hear that said once in a while, but I don’t see it practiced that often, at least in Washington. 

I did see one example of this from the GOP, though, during this last year. It was in Florida where there was a red wave. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis campaigned hard and many of his policies purposely lent themselves to the election, but he did not forget to govern along the way. 

Since he took office, DeSantis has done what he thought was right without fear, knowing he would face reproach. He did it anyway. At least that’s what he says and the way it seems. That’s the way it should be done in a representative democracy. 

Those in office want to win the next election, to gain members on their side. They want to keep their jobs. But they need to do their job first. They may want to put messaging, demographic studies, focus groups and fundraising second. Perhaps they should be willing to lose to do what they think is best. 

Easier said than done, I know. But defying leadership, taking some political risks to do something they believe in, might end up paying off later. 

Campaigning should not stop. It’s necessary and usually helps separate the wheat from the chaff, but it would be nice if national leaders, especially in the Senate, would not let elections be the all-consuming reason for existence that they have become. 

Look for leaders who care about more than elections and keeping power. Look for problem-solvers. 

Voters Are Responsible Too

But this problem with our officeholders in Washington isn’t all on them. There is a reason they fear for their political lives with every word they utter, every gesture they make and every action they take. They represent a constituency that has the ability to mobilize in a heartbeat and spew vitriol and rancor like a Yellowstone geyser. 

And people have shown a willingness to do it. Everyone has a world-wide platform with social media. It’s never been easier to join ranks and target people. 

Just because one can do something doesn’t mean one should do something. Office-holders should be held accountable. People in our “free” society should be able to express their opinions, but it would be better if people went after policies rather than the people and personalities. 

Where To Spend New Capital The GOP Did Win

I think this latest election shows that putting getting elected as your No. 1 priority doesn’t always work out. Try concentrating on governing. 

I hope our new representative Harriet Hageman and the narrow GOP majority in the House remember this when they take control next year. Yes, there is plenty to investigate. There are lots of juicy subjects to tackle in hearings, wrongs to be righted, but I hope the new chairmen don’t concentrate too much on making the Democrats look bad even if the GOP can. They would be doing the very thing they complained about with the Democratic Jan. 6 “show trial” and various “witch hunts.” 

I would like to see Congress work hardest on finding ways to bring down inflation. I would like to see the GOP do all it can to convince people that an all-of-the-above energy policy is better for the country than a green new deal. 

I do want them to stop the policies most harmful to Wyoming and the country, and I don’t think they should compromise their principles by making deals to include things they don’t like. 

But they should be able to find areas of agreement with the opposition party and accomplish some things. It just may translate into better results at the ballot box too. 

Or not, but at least they will have done their job. 

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Dave Walsh: ‘Safety Dance’ Was Born From Wyoming’s First And Only Win Over Boise State

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By Dave Walsh, Columnist

What a way to finish-up your home schedule. The Wyoming Cowboys have saved one of the most important games in years for their home finale. 

The Cowboys will play their last home game of the season tomorrow in one of the great venues in College Football, War Memorial Stadium. And the stage could not be bigger. The scenario is absolutely perfect.

The Mountain Division lead is at stake, with just one more league game to play next week. The winner of tomorrow’s Wyoming-Boise State game will have the inside track to the league title game and a shot at the biggest prize, a Mountain West Conference Championship.

There is a whole lot on the line tomorrow evening in War Memorial Stadium, and the Cowboys will have to defeat the Broncos to take the next step toward all of those lofty goals. The Pokes will have to beat a team they have faced 15 times over the last 20 years. Most of those meetings have been as league rivals.

And I know that the past really has very little to do with the present, but just as a matter of record, Boise State has had the better of it in this series. The Pokes are 1-14 versus Boise State. The Broncos have won the last five meetings.

But again, that was then, this is now. And these Cowboys have put themselves in a great position. 

Besides, this match-up – Wyoming against Boise State – brings back memories of a great Cowboy victory of just a few seasons ago. It was a Wyoming win in War Memorial Stadium. This big win was a conference victory, over a nationally-ranked opponent, and it kicked off at 5 p.m., too.

It was actually six seasons ago, late in 2016 season, when this big Cowboy victory took place. 

This particular Wyoming victory was a first for the Cowboys, and it remains the only.

This memorable Cowboy victory had everything: comebacks, big plays, a game-clinching safety of all plays, and maybe the most memorable thing of all, the safety dance.

Ah yes, there it is, the dead giveaway, the safety dance.

It was the first Wyoming win over Boise State, and it is still the only Wyoming victory over the Broncos.

The Wyoming-Boise State game in 2016 was played Oct. 29, it was the eighth game of the season for both teams. The Cowboys were 5-2 overall, 3-0 in conference play and riding a three-game winning streak. Boise State was a perfect 7-0 and 3-0 in league games. 

And the Broncos came into the game ranked 13th in the country.

Things did not start well for the Cowboys. The Pokes had nothing going offensively, and early in the second quarter Jeremy McNichols scored his second touchdown to give Boise State a 14-0 lead.

But then, with 9 minutes left in the second quarter, the Cowboys’ dynamic quarterback-tight end duo hooked up for a score. Two Wyoming greats, now stars in the NFL, would get things rolling for the Cowboys. Josh Allen hit Jacob Hollister for the score, and the Cowboys had cut the lead in half.

Current NFL player Alex Mattison,would score on a 16-yard run for the Broncos. Wyoming’s Cooper Rothe nailed a 40-yard field goal, and with under a minute remaining in the first half, Allen found Hollister again, this time 28 yards out. 

The Cowboys trailed 21-17 at halftime.

The second half turned into a slugfest. Neither team would score in the third quarter.

An amazing fourth quarter started with a 39-yard field goal by Cooper Rothe, and the Pokes were within a point, 21-20. But just two minutes later with 11 minutes to play, Boise State’s Brett Rypien, another current NFL player, threw a touchdown pass and the Broncos led 28-20.

The Cowboy’s thrilling comeback began with just under 7 minutes to play. That’s when Allen hit Tanner Gentry, yet another player who would go on to play in the NFL, in the deep corner for the score. It was an incredible throw and a spectacular catch. Gentry had to fully extend and stretch out to snare the laser-beam throw by Josh.

The Cowboys had pulled to within two points, so here came the 2-point try. And here came another outstanding throw, this time Allen to Jake Maulhardt, for the 2-point conversion, and the game was tied at 28.

Both defenses would stop the others’ offense in the waning moments. And with less than 3 minutes remaining and the score still tied, the Cowboys would punt the ball back to the Broncos. Wyoming’s Ethan Wood stepped into a beauty, and the ball was downed at the Boise State 10 yard line.

And the stage was set for a very unusual, and unthinkable, finish.

On the first play, first down at their own 10 yard line, Rypien dropped back and threw from his own goal line. Incomplete.

On second down, Rypien dropped back to throw again. This time, Wyoming nose tackle Chase Appleby broke free and nailed Rypien in the end zone, causing him to fumble. As I recall it, the football rolled through the end zone and out. The play was officially ruled “fumble recovered by BSU TEAM at BSU-0.”

It was a safety! 

The Cowboys had scored a safety with 1:25 showing on the clock and had taken the lead, 30-28. Cowboy defensive end, Josiah Hall, led the end zone celebration. Hall shuffled across the end zone with his hands clasped above his head, signaling safety. 

The “safety dance” was born.

And the Cowboys had a very big win, their first and only, over Boise State!

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Bill Sniffin: Wyoming Is Tougher Than Shitium, According To These Periodic Tables

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By Bill Sniffin, Columnist

Mike Jones is a Fremont County Commissioner who leads a double life. Besides being a politician, he is a creative and inventive guy.

Last year in his spare time, he invented a T-shirt all about Wyoming, based on the Periodic Tables of Elements – and it is all about the Cowboy State. 

He took the symbol, which is “Wy” and gave it an atomic number of “307.” So far so good. But he could not resist putting in the line “Tufferthanshitium.” The shirt has sold well and you can see him modeling it next to this column. It is available at Wind River Outdoor Sports in Lander.

Not sure there is an element called “shitium,” but it is always hard to argue with Jonesy.

A Periodic Table Of Wyoming?

Last year we received an amazing gift from Nancy and Mark Anselmi of Rock Springs. It was for our 55th wedding anniversary.

Not sure where it came from but it is a dish that contained 28 so-called descriptions of, again, the periodic elements pertaining to the Cowboy State. 

Although it did not contain any reference to shitium, it had some wonderful items, such as:

• Mo for Moose

• El for Elk

• Gp for Grand Prismatic Spring

• Fd for Frontier Days

• Eq for Equality State

• Os for Old Steamboat

• Plus 22 others

It was pretty clever. It makes a great gift. 

The Most Dense Element

And then there is the recent discovery of the densest element yet known by science. 

I would love take the credit for writing about this, but this comes from Rob J. Whitney, who I found on Facebook. It is a fun read, but discouraging:

“Oxford University researchers have discovered the densest element yet known to science.

“The new element, Governmentium (symbol = Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

“These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pillocks.

“Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

“A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete.

“Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years.

“It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

“In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

“This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration.

“This hypothetical quantity is referred to as a critical morass.

“When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (symbol = Ad), an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as many pillocks but twice as many morons.”

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