With the Buffaloes, it’s about respect. With the Fighting
Falcons of Air Force, it’s about Mountain West Conference
supremacy. However, when the Wyoming game rolls around, there’s
something much more than that. Forget pride, conference records,
BCS rankings and bowl projections, when the Rams square off against
the Cowboys Saturday afternoon, there’s something else on the line:
a 36-year-old combat boot.
But all comparisons aside, Saturdays’ Border War with Wyoming
marks the 36th time these two rivals have squared off on the
gridiron for year-long bragging rights and the coveted traveling
As of late the rivalry has been on the backburner to other games
most notably the Rocky Mountain Showdown between Colorado.
Historically, however, the rivalry with Wyoming is far stronger in
“Historically, this is our biggest rival. It’s still a big game,
but it’s not on the same level as the Colorado game when we’re
playing in front of 75,000 fans at Mile High,” said Colorado native
and senior linebacker Drew Wood.
This weekend marks the 95th time these two teams have met and
will be the 36th presentation of the Bronze Boot trophy. The CSU-UW
rivalry is one of the longest running in the region and was ranked
among the top 20 trophy rivalries in the nation by Sporting News
“The game is really important to the community, the alumni and
ROTC program and we understand the tradition and pride involved
with the rivalry,” Wood said. “It definitely gives us extra
motivation to go out there and get a win.”
The history of the Bronze Boot begins in 1967 when Captain Dan
Romero, an instructor at CSU, conceived the idea of having some
sort of traveling trophy for the annual winner of the CSU-Wyoming
game. Romero donated his combat boot from the Vietnam War, had it
bronzed and the tradition was born. Today, the Bronze Boot is one
of the longest standing traditions associated with Colorado State
football. The cadets from each school’s Army ROTC program relay the
game ball from the previous year’s winner to the Wyoming-Colorado
border where it is then relayed back to the site of the game.
“It’s a great opportunity as a cadet to carry on such a
wonderful tradition like this,” said former CSU ROTC cadet and
recently commissioned 2nd Lt. Michael Henry. “To be working with
the athletic department and our football team means a lot to the
cadets and is very important to our program here.”
Despite the boot’s Laramie County roots, the trophy spent its
first five years of existence sitting in the trophy case of
Wyoming’s athletic department when a struggling Rams football
program couldn’t find a ‘W’ at UW.
For many CSU football players, the rivalry with Wyoming has even
more significance, especially for players who have grown up in the
Northern Colorado/Wyoming region and seen the game played.
“This game means a great deal to me, after growing up and
watching the game as a kid in Laramie,” said Cheyenne native and
sophomore cornerback, Ben Stratton. “I know how important it is to
get a win for our community. I’ve had this game marked on my
calendar since the day I committed (to CSU).”
The Bronze Boot series stands at 18-17 in Wyoming’s favor. The
Rams get a chance to even the score Saturday on their way to
regaining some ground in the Mountain West standings.
“At this point in our season every game is a must-win situation,
we’re just going to have to focus on Wyoming and play our kind of
football,” Stratton said. “With this kind of rivalry emotions are
sure to be running high, but we’ll be ready to play come Saturday
and get the win.”
This rivalry may not have the hype of the CU game, or the
importance of the annual meeting with Air Force, but tradition
cannot be overlooked in college football. With the Bronze Boot on
the line, CSU looks to make it four straight against the Cowboys
and keep the trophy where it belongs: at home.