A trip to Wyoming

By Mark Nagi

A few years ago, I came to the realization that life is short, and we shouldn’t take it for granted. Yes, this is something that we might talk or think about in passing, but I made it a point to change my attitude and actions with regard to my mortality.

A big thing that I find myself doing more and more is travel. I love East Tennessee, but I also want to make sure that I see as much of this great country of ours as time and finances allow.

I also try to combine my trips with a sporting event of some sort, and recently I made another trek with some friends to Wyoming.

Why Wyoming you ask? Why not! I visited there a couple of years ago and couldn’t wait to go back.

Now, there is no flying on this trip. One day’s drive to Kansas City, one more day’s drive to Laramie. Approximately 20-22 hours total by car. I’m 6’1” and that’s a long time to be sitting, but still worth every future trip to the chiropractor.

This journey was centered around the Wyoming/Colorado State game, known affectionately as the “Border War.” These teams, these fans, these schools… they don’t like each other. Not one bit. The Cowboys student section had chants that would make a WWII soldier blush.

This would be the 115th meeting between these schools, and Wyoming was looking for its 3rd straight victory. This would allow the coveted “Bronze Boot” trophy to stay in Laramie for another year.

Wyoming prides itself on its altitude, with its campus 7220 feet above sea level. I’ve been out there a couple of times and you certainly can feel the difference. Breathing at times can be a struggle. Sadly, it takes a few days to really get acclimated to the conditions… right around the time I’m heading back to Knoxville.

Despite being 1500 miles from home, we made sure to represent Tennessee with clothing and car stickers. We had a man from Maryville stop by our tailgate, and he proceeded to get a nearby DJ to play Rocky Top and Copperhead Road. While the rest of the Cowboys and Rams fans were confused by the song selections, our group was fired up.

The strangest moment came as we walked into the beautiful War Memorial Stadium. We were stopped by a young man named Tanner Serrato, a Maryville native who saw our group and wanted to say hi. Serrato was at the game with his girlfriend. Taking this chance of fate as a sign from the gods, Serrato pulled a ring out of his jacket pocket, got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend.

She said yes.

Tennessee. Wyoming. Romance.

Oh, as for the game, Wyoming edged Colorado State 24-15, and celebrations lasted well into the night in Laramie as the Boot stays where it belongs.

The rest of the trip was spent seeing the wonderful little towns (Dubois, Sheridan, Parkman, etc.) and beautiful sites (Grand Tetons National Park, Snowy Range, Bighorn Mountains, etc.) of that part of the country.

Words really don’t do them justice. And honestly, neither do pictures.

The drive back was… how can I put this properly… not fun. Drives to your destination are filled with adrenaline. Drives back from your destination are mile after mile of boredom and sleepiness.

That all said, when you are looking to get out of town and see the world, might I suggest Wyoming? Just do me a favor and don’t tell anyone else. Wyoming is one of the best-kept secrets this country has to offer.