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Wyoming basketball great Eric Leckner.

The University of Wyoming is hosting the Mountain West Football Championship Game for the first time in their history. It is the first appearance for the Cowboys in a championship football game since 1996 when Wyoming lost to BYU in the infamous safety game (and yes I’m still mad at Joe Tiller). Although this is the first time the Cowboys are hosting a football championship game, the University and the city of Laramie are no strangers to hosting such events. Let’s take a look at what other conference and NCAA championship events the Gem City has hosted.

Basketball

  • 1986 Men’s WAC Tournament

The just four years old Arena Auditorium hosted nine WAC teams with UTEP winning the conference title over Wyoming 65-64. Even in defeat Wyoming basketball great Eric Leckner was named the tournament’s MVP starting a streak of three straight tournament MVP’s for the Cowboy big man.

  • 1991 Men’s and Women’s WAC Tournament

Laramie hosted both the men’s and women’s WAC basketball tournament this time around. BYU would win on the men’s side with Shawn Bradley taking home MVP honors. The Pokes did make it to the semifinals but lost to Utah. On the women’s side, the tournament was the inaugural one for WAC women and was won by Utah.

Wrestling

The wrestling team often gets overlooked but they have a rich history of producing quality wrestlers and hosting championship meets.

  • 1958 NCAA Championships
  • 1965 WAC Championships
  • 1965 NCAA Championships
  • 1979 WAC Championships
  • 1981 NCAA West Regional
  • 1988 WAC Championships
  • 1992 WAC Championships
  • 1997 WAC Championships
  • 2001 NCAA West Regional
  • 2006 NCAA West Regional
  • 2013 WWC Championships

The above lists are not comprehensive and I am sure there are some Olympic sports (such as track and swimming) who have hosted championships but I wasn’t able to research those quite as well because their record keeping isn’t as robust. If you know of any events in other sports that should be added to this list, please send them my way.

These events have also created memories for many Cowboy athletes and fans alike. This evening’s game is going to provide those very same memories for a new generation of Wyoming fans and athletes and I can’t wait for the Cowboys to take the field.

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