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They're Jumping For Joy
Curry Kirkpatrick
November 18, 1987
All Wyoming is wild about the Cowboys, whose Fennis Dembo could lead them to the NCAA title
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November 18, 1987

They're Jumping For Joy

All Wyoming is wild about the Cowboys, whose Fennis Dembo could lead them to the NCAA title

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The Deeses of Georgia—Benny from Mount Vernon and Nancy from Alma—are out on the town in Laramie, Wyoming. Wyoming? Well, actually, Lahrmuh, Wyomin', as pronounced by the Deeses, who, since they moved here in April, are never so much understood in Wyomin' as they are believed in.

At this moment they can't even be heard above the shrill carousers in Bud's Bar, a tiny wall in the hole across the tracks in Lahrmuh that most flatlanders couldn't find with a canine search party. You have to listen closely to hear that the Deeses are discussing their move to this unique little college town 7,165 feet above sea level or most any place where either of them has coached a basketball team before.

"Small?" Benny is saying. "You want small? In Alma, the 7-Eleven closed at eight."

"Shoot, you used to leave Mount Vernon to come to Alma just to go out" says Nancy.

When Benny, 50, showed up in Laramie to take the job as the Cowboys' head coach, he wasn't really a stranger to the place, having attended the school on a baseball scholarship in the 1950s. This time around he knew enough to bunk down at Foster's Country Inn and to remark as to how he would have to go out and recruit only guys who already had their shots and passports. After Nancy arrived, they found a nice house, a salad bar with croutons and, before long, a buckboard-load of friends. Not to mention Bud's, which is a regular hangout for those nifty Wyomin' Cowboy Joe Club boosters who, among other notable achievements, have been known to 1) drink a tavern completely dry in New Orleans, 2) get kicked out of a football stadium in Provo, Utah (for smoking, not drinking) and 3) chant "We're despicable" at a home basketball game right there in Lahrmuh.

" Wyoming is still the land of the free and the home of the——, honey," shouts a woman named Marge sitting on a pool table puffing on a long, brown cigarillo. It's difficult to ascertain if she is shouting "brave" or "depraved," such is the noise in Bud's. Marge, it turns out, is the wife of the Cowboys' athletic director. "What're you drinkin', Nancy?" shouts Marge.

"You know, this is just like home," says Nancy. "A blizzard would have to blow me down this winter for me not to like Wyomin'."

"It will," says Benny.

"Bud's is just Bud's," says Nancy. "Why, you might see the governor walk in here."

And sure enough...breaking through the revelers, unescorted and unassuming under his wide-brimmed cowboy comes the honorable Mike Sullivan. "Had to be here. This is a pilgrimage. What're you drinkin', Marge?" he shouts. A pizza appears. Sullivan goes for his wallet. "I'm treatin'," bellows the governor of Wyoming.

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