Karla's Kolumn: A dream season and vacation in Vegas


March 17, 2022

It’s about an hour before tipoff for the Wyoming Cowboys and Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament First-Four games. This is the first time the Cowboys have made the NCAA Tournament since 2015, a season my husband and I were lucky enough to choose to attend the Mountain West Tournament.

The Cowboys finished fourth in the Mountain West during the regular season. I know you are thinking why go to the Mountain West Tournament that year. We had the opportunity, it was Larry Nance Jr.’s final season with Wyoming, the Cowboys were fun to watch with Nance, Josh Adams, Riley Grabau, Jason McManamen who was from Torrington but who I knew when we both lived in Lovell.

So off we went to Las Vegas with two dogs in tow. We did not stay on the strip. We found a motel between the strip and Thomas and Mack Center that accepted dogs.

Our main focus in Vegas was to attend the tournament, especially as neither of us were gamblers. With most of the games in the evening, there was no time to take in a show.

I had one main priority aside from watching the Pokes, going to the M&M World store. So on the one day when the Pokes were playing a late game we took the dogs (Sarah who has crossed the rainbow bridge and Ivy), to doggy daycare (which they actually loved). We went back to the motel and began a long walk to the Vegas Strip and on down to M&M World, taking in all the sights and sounds.

Just as the Pokes did not disappoint at the tournament, M&M World did not disappoint me. I drug Alan along to every floor, including the floor with the M&M NASCAR replica car. I did not get my photo taken near the car because, as much as I am a fan of M&Ms and the M&M characters, I am not a fan of Kyle Busch who drives the M&M car. Yes it is a frustration of mine and one I deal with every time I watch a NASCAR race.

I bought a slot machine M&M dispenser because, well, it was perfect for my M&M dispenser collection and because it was Vegas.

After lunch and a brief stop inside a casino where I gave away a dollar to a slot machine just to say I gambled in Vegas, it was hiking back to the motel and then to doggy daycare to get the dogs.

We also had one other stop we wanted to make in Vegas and that was the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. No, we didn’t go to try and meet the stars. We confirmed what we had suspicions about, the stars are only there working when they are filming Pawn Stars. The store was smaller than what I expected but some of the memorabilia was impressive.

We got our two “touristy” items checked off our list.

We did not know what to expect at the tournament. But, Wyoming beat Utah State in quarterfinals, then took Boise State into overtime and won the trip to the title game. One more game and we would be Mountain West Tournament Champions with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Dare we hope? We dared. We decked out in our brown and gold, bought some more along the concourse prior to the game and cheered our Pokes on to victory over San Diego State in a great title game.

We were headed to Arizona after the tournament to see Alan’s family and toyed with the idea of heading to Seattle to watch the Cowboys in the NCAA Tournament against Northern Iowa but we knew that would be a long trip home and I was starting a new job on Monday. A new job right here.

This year the Pokes have a better record but did not make it to the title game. They are playing Indiana, a tough opponent but perhaps the Cowboys could be this year’s Cinderella team.

Whatever happens tonight (a hard-fought loss), I will hold the memories of the tournament title with me and I am and will be a Pokes fan forever.


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