The news of Craig Bohl's hiring as the next football coach at Wyoming broke on Dec. 8. Since then, I have been working on an appeal to the infractions committee to regain membership in Wyomania, the stout-hearted group that gathers annually for a Cowboys' game in Laramie, Wyo.
This was a group started in 2003 by Tracy Ringolsby, the Denver baseball writer reknown for his information and his cowboy hats.
Early in the 2000s, Ringolsby was looking for an outlet to fill the void left when a doctor insisted that he quit chewing tobacco. "Life is hardly worth living,'' Tracy told me a few months after that monumental verdict, and then he came up with an addiction less-harmful but just as fulfilling:
Being an ardent supporter of the Wyoming Cowboys, the team for which he had rooted in his youth.
Ringolsby convinced three other veteran ball writers, Bob Elliott of Toronto, Bob Dutton of Kansas City (and now Tacoma) and Phil Rogers of Chicago, to join him for a football game in Laramie following the conclusion of the 2003 World Series.
The gathering gained the Wyomania title, and Ringolsby started recruiting baseball and sportswriting friends to join the group. The date was the first, second or third Saturday in November, depending on the Cowboys' home schedule.
There were a record 34 attendees for Wyomania XI this year, which was a 48-10 loss to Fresno State. This dropped the Cowboys' record to 3-8 in games played in front of the Wyomaniacs. It also was part of a 1-5 record in the second half of the schedule. That put the Cowboys at 5-7 and got coach Dave Christensen fired after five years in Laramie.
I was a member in good standing for Wyomania from 2005 through 2008. I missed in 2009 due to a work schedule. I haven't been back since -- mostly because vacation time in the fall was being saved for trips to Florida to see the grand kids.
I know, that's not much of an excuse compared to the grandeur of Wyomania, but it's the best I have to offer. I can only hope the infractions committee, consisting of the orginal Wyomaniacs, will see fit to rule in my favor upon receiving the petition for reinstatement.
Bohl promised to put in a good word for me to return as a Wyomaniac when we talked on the phone earlier this week.
There's a column on Bohl in Friday's Star Tribune. His challenge is balancing being the new coach at Wyoming and still being the coach as North Dakota State seeks its third straight title in the FCS.
The unbeaten, No. 1-rated Bison have reached the semifinals and face New Hampshire on Friday night in the Fargodome. If they advance, the title game will be played on Jan. 4 on Frisco, Texas, meaning Bohl and the six members of his staff going along to Wyoming won't be able to get into the new task until the following week.
That's a bit of an obstacle, since Bohl told me that Wyoming has only three commitments for this recruiting class. For now, two holdovers from Christensen's staff -- assistant Pete Kaligis and director of football operations Brent Vernon -- are handling the duties in Laramie.
Bohl talks to the pair by phone, but his emphasis is on trying to get another national title for this tremendous collection of NDSU seniors ... 15 starters and 24 in all.
Two of those, left tackle Billy Turner of Mounds View and cornerback Marcus Williams of Hopkins, were named as first-team All-Americas for FCS on Wednesday. Linebacker Grant Olson of Wayzata was a second-teamer.
What's the dedication level for these seniors? Olson tore an ACL on Nov. 9 in a game against Illinois State. The assumption was that his career at NDSU was over, but Olson declined to have surgery.
He went on a rehab program. He was on the practice field in a limited role this week.
"It's possible that he's going to play -- if not this week, perhaps if we're fortunate enough to get to the championship game,'' Bohl said. "Grant has been a phenomenal leader for us, and he's showing that again, trying to play with a torn ACL.''
That's the kind of fire Bohl will be looking to bring to Laramie. My chance to be an eyewitness to this effort will depend on receiving a friendly verdict from Wyomania's infractions committee.
And the grandkids? I can always mail 'em a sweat shirt from the Brown & Gold Store in Laramie that reads, "Powder River.''
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