There’s about an hour left until kickoff for the Wyoming Cowboys and Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament’s first four games. This is the first time the Cowboys have entered the NCAA Tournament since 2015, a season my husband and I were fortunate enough to choose to attend the Mountain West Tournament.
The Cowboys finished fourth at Mountain West in the regular season. I know you’re wondering why go to the Mountain West Tournament that year. We had the opportunity, it was Larry Nance Jr.’s last season with Wyoming, the Cowboys were fun to watch with Nance, Josh Adams, Riley Grabau, Jason McManamen who was from Torrington but I knew when we lived both in Lovell.
So we headed off 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 allowed dogs.
Our main goal in Vegas was to attend the tournament, especially since neither of us were players. With most games in the evening, there was no time for a show.
I had one main priority besides watching Pokes, going to the M&M World store. So on the day the Pokes were playing a late game, we took the dogs (Sarah who crossed the Rainbow Bridge and Ivy) to dog daycare (which they absolutely loved). We returned to the motel and started a long walk to the Vegas Strip and to M&M World, enjoying all the sights and sounds.
Just as the Pokes didn’t disappoint in the tournament, M&M World didn’t disappoint me. I drug Alan on every floor, including the floor with the replica M&M NASCAR car. I didn’t have my picture taken near the car because while I’m a fan of M&Ms and M&M characters, I’m not a fan of Kyle Busch driving the M&M car. Yeah, that’s one of my frustrations and I deal with it every time I watch a NASCAR race.
I bought an M&M slot machine because, well, it was perfect for my M&M machine collection and because it was Vegas.
After lunch and a brief stop inside a casino where I gave a dollar to a slot machine just to say I gambled in Vegas, it was back to the motel and then to dog daycare to catch dogs.
We also had another stop we wanted to do in Vegas and that was the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. No, we did not meet the stars. We’ve confirmed what we had suspicions about, stars only work when shooting Pawn Stars. The store was smaller than I expected, but some souvenirs were impressive.
We checked off our two “touristy” items on our list.
We didn’t know what to expect at the tournament. But, Wyoming beat Utah State in the quarterfinals, then took Boise State to overtime and won the trip to the title game. One more game and we would be Mountain West Tournament champions with an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
Do we dare to hope? We dared. We decked out in our brown and gold, bought some more in the lobby before the game, and cheered our Pokes on to victory over San Diego State in a big title game.
We were heading 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 it would be a long trip back and I was starting a new job on Monday. A new job here.
This year, the Pokes have a better record but did not reach the title game. They’re up against Indiana, a tough opponent, but maybe the Cowboys could be Cinderella’s team this year.
Whatever happens tonight (a hard-fought loss), I will carry the memories of the tournament title with me and I am and will be a Pokes fan forever.