The Shrine Bowl will be played at Cheney Alumni Field, after all.

The annual high school all-star football game has been moved back to the home field of Natrona County after the start of construction on the stadium was pushed later into the summer.

The game has been at NCHS for the past several years, but with construction looming on the stadium, the game was moved to Kelly Walsh’s Harry Geldien Stadium back in March. But with the construction now delayed, the game is once again scheduled for Cheney Alumni Field.

The Shrine Bowl is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 11 in Casper.


When I first tell people about this website, one of the first questions they ask me is, “Oh, when was the first game?”

Unfortunately, at this point, I have to give the answer I don’t like to give: I simply don’t know.

That’s one of the unfortunate parts of doing a lot of this research — I don’t know where the “start” of this project is supposed to be.

I know Wyoming high school football games go back to at least Feb. 22, 1893, when the University of Wyoming beat a team from Cheyenne High School (the forerunner to today’s Central). Between 1893 and 1920, though, is a whole lot of gray. And prior to 1893 is completely uncertain.

This I can say for sure: Only seven high schools in the state had football programs in 1920.

The seven schools that suited up before the “explosion” of teams in 1921 were Buffalo, Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Natrona County, Newcastle, Sheridan and University Prep.

Prior to 1920, though, there is not much I can say for sure.

What I know about these seven programs is this: University Prep’s first year was 1920. … Sheridan started its program in 1909 and played its first official games in 1910. … Buffalo did not put any teams together prior to 1916. … Newcastle started its program in the late teens or 1920; I don’t know for sure. … Laramie goes back to at least 1898, when the Plainsmen played, and beat, UW. … Accounts at the time said 1919 was Natrona’s first year, but NC games could actually go back as far as 1895. … Central goes back to at least February 1893 but may go back further, although I doubt it.

Throw into the mix the fact that I’ve seen references of Wheatland playing Cheyenne teams in the mid-teens, and it becomes an interesting puzzle to piece together.

The 1921 season, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, was a big one for Wyoming high school. That season, 11 programs (Basin, Cody, Cowley, Douglas, Evanston, Gillette, Greybull, Powell, Thermopolis, Torrington, Worland) started their programs, bringing Wyoming’s total up to 18. By 1924, 38 schools had programs.

That helps me keep going. I know that my research is “done” for all but six schools.

But, even now, I still don’t know where the “start” really is. And I still can’t answer that question about the first game.


South Dakota considers shifting classifications (Rapid City Journal).

South Dakota has six classifications right now — three 11-man, three nine-man. They are looking at changing this to four 11-man and two nine-man divisions… but the top classification of 11-man would have only nine schools in it, as opposed to the 16 or 17 in there now. Thoughts?


Gillette’s school board gave preliminary approval to a new, comprehensive high school in a vote Tuesday. And while the vote certainly has much more meaningful and important ramifications than those of the sporting kind, it’s the changes to the sporting scene that draw my attention right now.

One of the reasons why is because of the success of the Gillette high school athletic programs. The Camels have arguably the best sports programs in the state.

But the Gillette area is growing like crazy right now, and with the city’s largest kindergarten ever scheduled to enter the school system next fall — and with no signs of the growth stopping — the Campbell County School District is preparing for the influx that’s expected to bulge the limits what is already the state’s largest high school.

Tuesday’s decision guarantees nothing; it only was a vote to submit a plan to the School Facilities Commission, which oversees school construction in Wyoming. But, more than likely, Wyoming’s largest high school will be chopped in half sometime in the next 10 years, and we will see another full-on athletic program born in Wyoming, much like we are seeing now with Cheyenne South.

Even so, the average daily membership, the number the Wyoming High School Activities Association uses for reclassification, for each school will likely be close to — if not more than — 1,200 by the time the new high school opens.

It will be another Class 4A school. And it may mean time for massive reorganization of the conferences and classifications used by the WHSAA.

Maybe as massive as changing the number of schools in Class 4A.

Wyoming has been at 12 schools in Class 4A for all sports except football since about 1990, and although the schools in that mix have changed, the number 12 has remained fairly static.

Gillette’s new school, coupled with Cheyenne South’s entry into 4A in 2012, may prompt the WHSAA to do more than just shift the smallest school in the ADMs down to 3A. Right now, that means Green River, which would move from 12th to 13th with Gillette’s new school, gets bumped down to 3A.

Another option is 14 schools, which would most likely bring Star Valley back from 3A to 4A.

But, this time around, the WHSAA may need to look at something more dramatic: a 16-school Class 4A. Bring up Star Valley, Cody and Jackson. There is a beautiful natural break right now between what would be school 16, Jackson (ADM 654) and school 17, Lander (ADM 502).

The timetable on the opening of a new high school in Gillette is still five to 10 years, maybe more when you factor in design, budget and construction time.

Even so, for argument’s sake, here are the ADM figures used by the WHSAA for the 2012-13 senior class, with Gillette split in two, just to see what it looks like:

1. Natrona 2,036
2. East 1,457
3. Rock Springs 1,429
4. Kelly Walsh 1,400
5. Central 1,302
6. Gillette 1,119
7. Gillette new 1,119
8. South 1,086
9. Laramie 1,039
10. Sheridan 916
11. Evanston 898
12. Riverton 793
13. Green River 771
14. Star Valley 734
15. Cody 689
16. Jackson 654

Compounding the confusion in this is the news that the Natrona County school board support for its plan of adding a satellite campus to Natrona County and Kelly Walsh high schools rather than building a new, comprehensive school may be wavering.

If Casper can build a new high school, with the new school taking 1/3 of the students out of NC and 1/3 of the students out of KW, the ADM numbers might look something like this when Gillette’s new school is factored in:

1. East 1,457
2. Rock Springs 1,429
3. Natrona 1,357
4. Central 1,302
5. Casper new 1,146
6. Gillette 1,119
7. Gillette new 1,119
8. South 1,086
9. Laramie 1,039
10. Kelly Walsh 933
11. Sheridan 916
12. Evanston 898

And THEN, 12 makes sense because of the large gap between Evanston at 12 (898) and Riverton at 13 (793).

Of course, any decision the WHSAA makes is still, at minimum, five years away. Probably closer to 10 than five. And any decision the WHSAA makes will also take into consideration ramifications beyond 4A — how having 12, or 14, or 16, or 10 schools in 4A will affect 3A, 2A and 1A — and how regional alignments will be constructed.

Remember, too, that football uses different classification cutoffs than other sports. Will 10 schools still fit into 4A, with Evanston or possibly even Sheridan most likely making the move to 3A? Will 4A have to expand? Will other classifications have to change?

Cheyenne South’s entry, all in all, created just a few ripples to the structure of Wyoming’s sports scene.

The entry of Gillette’s new high school could end up being the impetus of a complete transformation.


A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine posed me a question on Facebook: Which Wyoming high school mascot was my favorite? And, maybe even more importantly, which was my least favorite?

This friend was from Guernsey and briefly summarized the origin of the Guernsey-Sunrise Vikings: the (Sunrise) Miner + the  (Guernsey) Longhorn = the Viking. What once was a fairly neutral mascot for me quickly became one of my favorites.

I have done my fair share of research on Wyoming high school mascots, but somehow that story had passed me by. But it also made me start thinking about some of the state’s mascots and which ones I really liked — and which ones I didn’t.

So here’s a brief rundown of some of my favorites, and some of my least favorites, both past and present:

Best mascots: In short, I like originality. And I like schools that try to find something that’s both original AND reflects something unique about their community. There are plenty of those in Wyoming — the Big Piney Punchers, the Lingle Doggers, the Hanna/Sunrise Miners, the Midwest Oilers, among others.

Western heritage obviously has a pull in Wyoming, and I like to see schools playing that up: Newcastle Dogies, Glenrock Herders, Laramie Plainsmen, Kemmerer Rangers, Shoshoni/Pinedale/Medicine Bow Wranglers, Meeteetse/Rock River Longhorns, Ten Sleep Pioneers, Kaycee/University Prep Buckaroos and a ton of Broncs and Bison and Buffalo(e)s. I like most of these; some of them are a bit predictable and dopey, but I can’t hate them.

I love Oregon Trail references: Torrington Trailblazers, Fort Laramie Pioneers. I also love the courage it takes for Rawlins to maintain the Outlaws name.

One of my favorites from the closed-school division is the Dayton Elks. I should hate it, but I kind of like the flaunting of bad grammar. I also love the Elks’ Sheridan County neighbors, the Ranchester Rustlers. Of course, these two schools combined to make Tongue River… but more on that in a second.

The Carpenter Coyotes also comes off the tongue nice. I appreciate any school that will name itself after an animal most people in this state are willing to kill for a $2 bounty.

But I think my all-time favorite is the Farson Pronghorns. How in the world is Farson the only Wyoming high school, past or present, to pick the Pronghorn as its mascot? That is incredibly confusing to me. The fastest mammal in North America, about 90 percent of all of them in the world live in Wyoming, and only one high school picks that as the mascot? Not only that, but Farson is the only high school in the nation with Pronghorns as its mascot. Mad props to Farson for doing so; shame on everyone else for ignoring the obvious.

(By the way, the only other original-to-the-country mascot in Wyoming is the Lingle Doggers.)

Worst mascots: My friend tried to make the case for the Camels of Campbell County being the worst mascot in the state. I disagree; I love wordplay and, although not totally original, the Campbell County Camels does have a nice ring to it. I stay neutral to it. Not one of my favorites, but certainly not in the discussion of the worst.

My least favorites are the ones that you can see coming from a mile away, like the Buffalo Bison or the Hawk Springs Hawks.

More than that, though, I hate the common mascots that have nothing to do with the school itself. How many Panthers and Eagles and Bulldogs do we need? Unless an actual eagle made its nest in the tree out in front of the school, or an actual bulldog saved the school from burning down, or an actual panther ate an entire class of kindergartners back in the day, then you need to come up with something more original.

Which leads me to my least-favorite mascot in Wyoming: The Tongue River Eagles. How do you take two fantastic, original mascots like the Ranchester Rustlers and Dayton Elks, end up disposing them both and coming out with something so generic?

Clearly, this is nothing against the school or the fine folks of northern Sheridan County. The people there now had nothing to do with this choice, certainly made in the the post-World War II, post-Korea fervor of all-American patriotism. St. Stephens opened at about the same time and went with Eagles, and the Heart Mountain Japanese internment camp was also known as the Eagles. And we can’t forget the area at the base of the Big Horns IS great for eagle sightings….

But come on. Eagles is the most common nickname for high schools in the country, with more than 1,200 high schools claiming it. Rustlers and Elks were both so unique, so different, so cool, and Eagles is just so… just so… frustrating.

Come on. Who wouldn’t root for the Tongue River Elk Rustlers?

How about you? Your favorite? Your least favorite? Post it below and let’s have some fun, just be nice, as always.


Wright NFF photo

Wright coach Larry Yeradi, center, poses with players Ryan Haefele, left, and Holden Fauber at Saturday's National Football Foundation Wyoming Chapter banquet in Laramie. Photo courtesy of Ernie Over.

For the first time in its 17-year history, the Wyoming Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame could not choose just one overall scholar-athlete winner.

So, on Saturday, the Wyoming Chapter announced its two scholar-athlete winners for this year.

However, the group can still say it has never chosen winners from two separate schools.

Ryan Haefele and Holden Fauber, both of Wright, were named the chapter’s two scholar-athlete scholarship award winners at Saturday’s banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn in Laramie.

“As a coach, it’s just so much easier to do your job when you have kids who you tell them once and they do it,” Wright coach Larry Yeradi said after the banquet. ” … I was just fortunate to be there whey they came through the school.”

A total of $22,200 in scholarship money was awarded to 12 high school scholar-athlete finalists and two University of Wyoming winners. Each finalist was awarded a $1,200 scholarship, while Haefele and Fauber each earned an additional $1,000 scholarship for being named the chapter’s top scholar-athletes in the state.

In Saturday’s keynote address, National Football Foundation CEO Matthew Sign extolled the virtues of the game of football and noted the NFF’s national reach — 121 chapters, 47 states and $1.3 million in scholarship money.

Sign was attending his first state chapter banquet of the year.

“It doesn’t get any better than celebrating football in March,” he told the crowd.

UW offensive line coach Pete Kaligis also spoke on Saturday, emphasizing football as a metaphor for other life lessons. He also praised the crowd of more than 300 for helping the scholar-athletes reach their goals.

“This is what Wyoming’s all about,” he said. ” … The family atmosphere, the love, that’s what this is all about.”

Six other special awards were given on Saturday (see list below). Of the special award winners, it was Clyde and Joan Cundall of Glendo who brought the crowd to its feet. Married for 73 years and devoted fans of football, Joan Cundall said the experience of traveling roads and watching games together over a 62-year span was worth it.

“If we could do it all over again, we certainly would,” Joan Cundall told the crowd. “We’ve enjoyed the ride.”

Saturday’s award winners included the following:

Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football: Frank Gambino, Casper.
Greatest UW Football Fans: Paul Rechard, Laramie, and Doug Campbell, Saratoga.
Greatest High School Football Fans: Rita Moore, Evanston, and Clyde and Joan Cundall, Douglas.
Ox Zellner Football Official Career Achievement: John Bard, Laramie.
Football Coach Career Achievement: Jim Wiseman, Torrington (posthumous).
Keith & Joyce Bloom Scholar-Athlete Courage Award: Jacob Hepp, Buffalo, and Derek Bacon, Pine Bluffs.
President’s Chapter Award: Wendy Sweeny, Worland.

University of Wyoming: Chris Prosinski and Dax Crum.
High school: Sean Rietveld, Snake River; Shawn Straub, Kaycee; Jessee Wilson, Rocky Mountain; Beau Petersen, Cokeville; Holden Fauber, Wright; Ryan Haefele, Wright; Trent Boner, Douglas; Hayden Barker, Douglas; Mitch Espeland, Douglas; Lucas Rowley, Natrona County; Dawson Osborn, Sheridan; Jim Shellenberger, Natrona County.




NFF group

National Football Foundation Wyoming Chapter scholar-athlete finalists and courage award winners pose for a group picture after Saturday's banquet in Laramie. Finalists include, bottom row, from left, Dawson Osborn, Sheridan; Jim Shellenberger, Natrona; Lucas Rowley, Natrona; Holden Fauber, Wright; Ryan Haefele, Wright; Hayden Barker, Douglas; Trent Boner, Douglas; top row, from left, Chris Prosinski, University of Wyoming; Shawn Straub, Kaycee; Jacob Hepp, Buffalo; Sean Rietveld, Snake River; Derek Bacon, Pine Bluffs; Beau Petersen, Cokeville; Jessee Wilson, Rocky Mountain; and Dax Crum, University of Wyoming. Not pictured is Mitch Espeland, Douglas. Photo courtesy Ernie Over.

With my ability to fill in the holes in my research becoming more and more limited by what is available to me in Laramie, I made a quick trip to Cheyenne today to visit the Wyoming State Archives. The microfilm there helped me fill in a big gap in my research — Lingle from 1923 to 1939. The microfilm from the Lingle Review is not available in Laramie, but it’s on hand at the State Archives. Conversely, I added 16 new games for Lingle in this span and patched up numerous gaps in my missing games list. The updates for Lingle and associated teams:

1923: Noted that the Wheatland-Lingle game on Nov. 2 and the Lingle-Guernsey game on Nov. 9 were both canceled.

1925: Noted that Torrington later forfeited its victory over Lingle on Oct. 9. … Posted the location and the correct date for the Oct. 16 game for Lingle’s game with Sunrise (in Lingle). … Posted the date for the Lingle-Sunrise game on Oct. 23. … Added three games: a 13-0 victory over Harrison, Neb., on Nov. 11, a 30-6 loss to Gering, Neb., on Nov. 14, and a 32-0 loss to Harrison, Neb., on Nov. 26.

1926: Noted the location for Lingle’s game with Lusk on Nov. 12 (in Lingle).

1927: Noted the location, the specific date and the score for Lingle’s 18-0 home win over Minatare, Neb., on Oct. 7. … Noted the location and corrected the score for Lingle’s 43-0 victory over Lyman, Neb., on Oct. 14 (in Lyman). … Added Lingle’s 39-0 victory over Lyman, Neb., on Oct. 28. … Corrected the score for Lingle’s 19-6 victory over the Lusk JV on Nov. 3 (I had 20-6 Lingle). … Added Lingle’s 19-0 loss to Minatare, Neb., on Nov. 11. … Noted the correct location for Lingle’s 6-0 loss to Sunrise on Nov. 18 (in Sunrise). … Added a canceled game between Lingle and Harrison, Neb., that had been scheduled for Nov. 23.

1928: Noted the location for Lingle’s game with Mitchell, Neb., on Oct. 5 (in Mitchell). … Added Lingle’s 25-0 victory over Lyman, Neb., on Oct. 12 (also added to the missing games list because I couldn’t pin down a location).

1930: Added Lingle’s victory over Guernsey on Oct. 3 (added to missing games list because I couldn’t find a final score). … Added Lingle’s 0-0 tie with Lyman, Neb., on Oct. 10. … Added Lingle’s 20-6 victory over Guernsey on Oct. 17. … Noted the locations for Lingle’s two games with Sunrise, Oct. 24 in Sunrise and Oct. 31 in Lingle.

1931: Noted the location for Lingle’s victory over Guernsey on Oct. 2 (in Guernsey).

1932: Noted the location for Lingle’s loss to Guernsey on Oct. 14 (in Guernsey).

1933: Added Lingle’s 18-7 loss to Sunrise on Sept. 14. … Noted the date of Lingle’s 6-6 tie with Guernsey on Oct. 12. … Added Lingle’s 0-0 tie with Sunrise on Oct. 20.

1934: Noted the score of Lingle’s 73-0 victory over Manville on Sept. 21. … Added the score for Lingle’s 6-0 victory over Guernsey on Oct. 5. … Added the score for Lingle’s 6-0 victory over Sunrise on Oct. 26.

1935: Noted the correct date and location for Lingle’s victory over Lyman, Neb., on Sept. 13 (in Lingle).

1936: Noted the date and location of Lingle’s victory over Lyman, Neb., on Sept. 11 (in Lyman). … Added Lingle’s victory over Guernsey on Sept. 18 (added to the missing games list because I couldn’t find a final score). … Added Lingle’s 45-0 victory over Fort Laramie on Nov. 5.

1937: Corrected the date for Lingle’s Sept. 10 game with Lyman, Neb. … Noted the correct date for Lingle’s victory over Sunrise on Oct. 6. … Added a canceled game between Guernsey and Lingle on Oct. 15.

1938: Noted that the Sept. 16 game with Guernsey was canceled. … Added the score for Lingle’s 12-6 loss to Sunrise on Oct. 6.

1939: Corrected the score of Lingle’s 33-0 victory over Guernsey on Sept. 29 (I had 30-0). … Noted the date and location for Lingle’s victory over Manville on Oct. 13 (in Lingle). … Added Lingle’s 14-0 loss to the Scottsbluff, Neb., JV on Nov. 4. … Noted that Lingle won its game with Sunrise on Nov. 10 by forfeit, as Sunrise was overrun with a case of the mumps.

I also made a lot of headway with Lingle coaches’ names for the Coaches Project. I now only need Lingle coach names for 1922, 1932 and 1933.

The State Archives also helped me patch some holes for three other seasons: Jackson in 1932, Lovell in 1929 and Powell in 1924.

For Jackson’s 1932 season, I added five new games, all against Idaho schools — a 28-0 loss to Idaho Falls on Sept. 10, a 6-6 tie with Madison on Sept. 23, a 6-0 loss to Ashton on Oct. 8, a 67-6 victory over Driggs on Oct. 21 and a 49-0 victory over Driggs on Oct. 28. I also fixed the score in the game with Star Valley on Oct. 14 to 19-6 in Star Valley’s favor (I had the score transposed, Jackson winning 19-6).

For Lovell’s 1929 season, four games I had listed as missing were not played: games against Cowley on Oct. 11, Nov. 11 and Nov. 28, and a game against Greybull on Nov. 7.

For Powell’s 1924 season, I added a 13-6 loss to Billings, Mont., on Oct. 4, and also added a canceled game with Byron on Oct. 11. I also pinned down the location for Powell’s Nov. 1 game with Lovell (in Lovell).

Here are some other updates I found, as well — some at Coe Library at UW, some at the State Archives:

Missing games

Found the score for Big Piney’s 15-0 victory over the Green River JV on Sept. 2, 1995

Found the score for Cowley’s 50-27 victory over Meeteetse on Sept. 26, 1952

Found the score and the correct date for Shoshoni’s 18-7 victory over the Worland JV on Oct. 14, 1949

Found the date and corrected the score for Shoshoni’s 37-0 victory over the Thermopolis JV on Oct. 28, 1947

Corrected Upton’s opponent in its Oct. 14, 1960, game from Rapid City, S.D., Cathedral to the Rapid City HS, S.D., JV team

Added a game between the Riverton JV and Shoshoni on Oct. 14, 1947 (added to the missing games list because I couldn’t find a score)

Coaches Project

Updates for Burlington, Cowley, Hanna, Jackson, Shoshoni and Sunrise. See those individual team pages for the new lists and click here to see what I’m still missing.

Also, Mike Mitchell once again was my Torrington connection. He helped me out with the Torrington coaches I was missing for the Coaches Project. Thanks, Mike!

All the updates have been made on all the relevant pages.


Just a quick update to post the top 10 coaches in terms of victories, now that the years 1920-29 are accounted for. The list really has not changed that much; only Okie Blanchard’s numbers have changed, and no new coaches entered the top 10.

Coach Wins Losses Ties
Dayton, Todd 253 49 0
Deti, John E. 205 94 8
Deti, John R. 188 102 2
Fullmer, Jerry 174 82 0
McDougall, John 156 115 2
Blanchard, Okie 149 55 7
Eskelsen, Joel 148 81 0
Hoff, Dallas 144 95 6
Gray, Walter 140 87 0
Moon, Mike 136 79 1

The only other coach of the 1920s era to even come close to entering the discussion is John Powell. Powell, who coached Cheyenne Central from 1924 to 1939, finished his career with a 94-50-7 record. The 94 victories has him 27th on the all-time Wyoming list.

By the way, according to the records I have compiled so far, victories leader Todd Dayton will achieve another milestone next fall — he is only five games behind John E. Deti for the state record of most games coached. Deti has 307 games logged; Dayton has 302. Deti Sr. still has Dayton beat in the number of seasons coaching, as Deti’s 35 years total is four better than Dayton’s 31.

My big question with Deti Sr. is if he coached in 1943, the season before he started at Laramie. I have him coaching in Meeteetse in 1941 and Shoshoni in 1942, but I don’t know his whereabouts in 1943 before coming to Laramie in 1944. It’s worth noting that I don’t know who Shoshoni’s coach was in 1943. It might have been Deti. Still trying to track that down. (Here is where I put the obligatory link to my Coaches Project notes.)

(The other coach on the top 10 list I’m still tracking is Dallas Hoff. I think he was probably the coach at Superior in 1961 — which would add two victories to his total — but I haven’t been able to prove it yet.)


Assistant coach Jon Vance has been promoted to fill the vacant head coaching position at Kelly Walsh. Click here for video of Vance’s press conference Tuesday. (Casper Star-Tribune)

Update: The full story from the CST.


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