Hi there and welcome to my new blog regarding everything Wyoming Cowboys. Let me start by explaining a little about me and how this blog is going to develop over the next few years.
I'm Michael Gooding, 25 years old from Cardiff, Wales in the United Kingdom. I first became involved with US sports through the NFL around 6 years ago. After 5 years of remaining a neutral, at the start of the 2012 season I decided to take the plunge and choose a team. I ended up choosing the Chiefs, mostly because of their small following over on NFL UK (forum.nfluk.com) compared to teams like the Patriots, Eagles and Dolphins.
From this I started to become more and more involved with the sport and started to develop a love for the NBA, MLB and college football and basketball. I decided it was now time to choose a college team to follow. There was a thread over on the NFLUK forum with a list of everyones college teams. Looking through the list I seen that there was no one following the Wyoming Cowboys and so decided to find out about them. The more I read, the more I decided that they were the team for me. A small school located pretty much in the middle of nowhere that get next to no media coverage. This was the team for me.
From here, I emailed Matt Hargleroad who runs Cowboy Altitude over on sbnation who gave me more information and pointed me in the right direction in terms of websites to check out and twitter handles to follow. I then had the idea of mapping my journey, from knowing next to nothing about the pokes program, to garnering more and more information and knowledge. I thought this blog would be a good idea, hopefully gaining followers and giving US fans an idea of how their sports and teams are viewed from across the pond. In time I hope to be able to contribute more to Cowboy Altitude and start to express my own opinions about everything Wyoming Cowboys. Thanks to Matt I will also be writing my blog posts as fanposts over on his site.
What better way to start this new blog than to have a Q&A with Matt himself. Done via email I hope you all enjoy it.
Knowing that Matt is not a Wyoming native himself, the first thing I was intrigued by was his own reasons for following the Pokes. In his own words..
''I grew up outside Chicago and followed all the Chicago based sports teams. Baseball was my first love and I really didn't pay that much attention to college sports when I was young. As I got older my interest in college football grew as well''
Matts had a passion for the Nebraska Cornhuskers instilled in him through his dad and also went to a couple of Northwestern football games growing up. He was a track and cross country field runner in high school and went on to attend a division 3 school in Illinois where he shared a quad with some teammates from the track team.
''One of my roommates had a playstation 2 and a copy of NCAA Football 2003 with Joey Harrington on the cover. The game featured 200 fight songs, 144 schools and 23 rivalry game trophies. We were bored one afternoon and decided to create a dynasty league in NCAA Football with all four of us''
The 4 of them decided that they would obey one rule. That they could only pick a one of two star prestige team. His teammates chose Rutgers, Air Force and Northern Illinois.
''I was last to pick and went through the entire list of schools till I came to Wyoming. They only had one prestige and also had some unique school colors. I always love an underdog and they seemed like a perfect team. I remember being terrible when I first started and winning my first game on a late field goal. Eventually I got better and after a few seasons built Wyoming into a powerhouse that won a National Championship''
In 2005 Matt moved a couple of hours north of Seattle.
''I do enjoy the Seattle teams but they will always be second to Chicago''. He also goes to a lot of Seattle Sounder MLS games at CenturyLink Field.
I asked Matt about getting Wyoming news and what his thoughts on overseas fans were.
''I don't really know much about overseas supporters. You are the only twitter follower I have that lives in the UK. It seems the NFL and NBA are popular overseas but not as much with college sports.
The internet makes being an out of state Wyoming fan much easier. The Cowboys don't get much national coverage so you mainly have to rely on the Casper and Cheyenne based newspapers for coverage. I'm able to see almost every Wyoming game that is televised. If a home basketball game wasn't televised then the university will stream it online through their website. You have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription to watch those games.''
So what was it that started cowboy altitude?
''I first started a free blog on blogger.com that covered Wyoming. Then I contacted Jeremy Mauss at Mountain West Connection who was already a part of SB Nation. I wrote about Wyoming for his site for awhile and then when SB Nation wanted to add a few more blogs they brough Cowboy Altitude over.
I've spoken with members of the Athletic Department and I am on their mailing list for news releases. I even had a chance to interview Coach Christensen over the phone. I was able to get a press pass to cover the border war last year. It gave me the opportunity to go on the field at War Memorial.''
This really inspired me. This is pretty much the kind of thing I want to achieve with this blog. Something that can start off small and hopefully gain a lot more readers over time. Something that can help me learn more about the pokes.
Living out of state, I wonder if Matt manages to get to many games each season.
''I make it a goal to see a Wyoming football game in person at least once a year. Last year I saw one road game and one home game. My brother lives in colorado so it is easy to visit him and see the Cowboys at the same time. My first game at War Memorial was in 2007 and Wyoming beat TCU. I've only been to one basketball game at Arena-Auditorium.''
Having just got into the college game and having followed the pokes for even less time, I knew the mens basketball team were unlikely to make the NCAA tournament this year but wondered how the basketball and football teams would fare going forward.
''I don't think the basketball team will make the NCAA tournament next year but they will still be competitive. I do expect them to contend for the Mountain West title in 2014 and make the NCAA tournament because they will have so many seniors. I will miss watching Leonard Washington play. He can make your jaw drop with plays on both sides of the court.
The football team could easily improve after a down year. There were several close losses that could have gone in the Cowboys favor. The key to improvement though is the defense that has gone downhill the last two years. If Wyoming can outscore their opponents it will be a step in the right direction. Brett Smith is an incredible playmaker and he will continue to rewrite the record book''
High praise indeed. I'm really looking forward to learning more and more about the program and can't wait for the football season to get under way.
I want to thank Matt for his time in responding to my emails and giving me such in depth answers to my questions. You've made this blog possible and thank you for your continued input.
Please follow me on twitter and help me learn @MCGooding