The 50 Greatest Sports Figures From Wyoming

December 27, 1999

There's a difference between loyalty to the home team--athletes
imported to play for our local colleges and pro franchises--and
the deep emotional bond we share with hometown heroes, the local
legends we knew back when. They are the boys and girls from next
door, or the next town. We watched them grow up, watched them
play when it was still play. Unfortunately, these luminaries are
almost inevitably dispersed because of sport's mercenary nature,
lured away by scholarships or contracts. Well, we're bringing 'em
all back home for the millennium--not necessarily to where they
were born, but to where they first showed flashes of the
greatness to come. Thus, Broadway Joe is in Pennsylvania, not
Alabama or New York; and the Mailman is in Louisiana, not Utah.
The result: the top 50 from your state and, on the following
pages, a list of those from all 50 states. In short, the ultimate
home teams.

#1
Boyd Dowler
CHEYENNE
NFL Rookie of the Year led Packers in receiving seven times from
1959 to '69; won two Super Bowl rings with Green Bay.

#2
Lance Deal
CASPER
Won silver medal in hammer throw at 1996 Olympics; first
American to medal in the event in 40 years.

#3
John Godina
CHEYENNE
Two-time world champion shot-putter took silver medal in 1996
Olympics; won '98 Jesse Owens Award.

#4
Kenny Sailors
LARAMIE
Two-time All-America guard at Wyoming is considered basketball's
first true jump shooter; led Cowboys to 1943 national title.

#5
Tom Browning
CASPER
Was 20-9 as Reds rookie in 1985; threw perfect game against
Dodgers in 1988.

#6
Jerry Hill
LINGLE
Colts fullback ran for 2,668 yards and 22 TDs over nine NFL
seasons from 1961 to '70.

#7
Jim Crawford
GREYBULL
All-America Wyoming tailback led NCAA in rushing in 1956 (1,104
yards); also set school single-season record for rushing TDs (13).

#8
Richard Babka
CHEYENNE
Matched world discus record in 1960 with 196'6 3/4" throw;
got silver medal at '60 Games.

#9
Curt Gowdy
CHEYENNE
Lettered three times in both basketball and tennis at Wyoming
from 1940 to '42; radio voice of Yankees and Red Sox from '49 to
'66.

#10
Mike Devereaux
CASPER
Batted .254 in 12 major league seasons; outfielder for 1995 world
champion Braves; career-high 107 RBIs for Orioles in '92.

#11
Karen Budge
JACKSON
Won women's combined title at 1967 National Alpine championship;
North American women's champion in '71.

#12
Bruce Collins
ROCK SPRINGS
Weber State forward (1976 to '80) set Big Sky Conference career
scoring mark.

#13
Tom Wilkinson
GREYBULL
Passed for 1,313 yards as Wyoming senior in 1965; quarterbacked
Edmonton Eskimos to eight Grey Cup berths, five titles.

#14
Joe Alexander
CORA
Five-time world bareback rodeo champion; two-time Professional
Rodeo Cowboys Association champion.

#15
Vern Gardner
AFTON
Two-time All-America forward at Utah was member of 1947
NIT champions; played with Warriors from '49 to '52.

#16
Lew Roney
LARAMIE
Three-time all-state in football and basketball at Laramie High,
held state 120-yard high hurdles mark; coached Cheyenne Central
to five Class 4A state titles in basketball from 1973 to '89.

#17
Dewey McConnell
LARAMIE
All-America receiver at Wyoming led nation with 47 catches for
725 yards in 1951.

#18
Marvin Garrett
ALADDIN
World bareback riding champion won titles in 1988, '89, '94 and
'95.

#19
Mike Lansing
CASPER
In 1989 led NCAA Division I with 101 runs for College World
Series champion Wichita State; hit career-high 20 home runs for
Expos in '97.

#20
Dennis Havig
POWELL
Two-time All-America guard at Colorado; named to 1972 NFL
All-Rookie team, with Falcons.

#21
Jim Benepe
SHERIDAN
Won in his PGA Tour debut (1988 Western Open); won '87 British
Columbia Open and '88 Victorian Open.

#22
Rulon Gardner
AFTON
Greco-Roman heavyweight won U.S. Nationals in 1995 and '97; lost
in finals in '99.

#23
Todd Skinner
LANDER
In 1988, world's top free rock climber completed first free
ascent of El Capitan's Salathe Wall, a 3,000-foot climb.

#24
Travis Bell
CENTENNIAL
Won gold medal in four-man bobsled at 1999 America's Cup; won
silver in two-man; first rookie to place in top 10 at world
snowmobiling championships.

#25
David Zuniga
WORLAND
Member of 1996 U.S. Olympic wrestling team qualified for four of
last five world championship teams.

#26
Nick Bebout
SHOSHONI
Three-year All-WAC offensive tackle at Wyoming was starter on
expansion 1976 Seahawks.

#27
Trey Harrington
CHEYENNE
Three-time Wyoming soccer player of the year at Cheyenne East
High; led nation with 0.26 goals-against average with Evansville
in 1990.

#28
Milward Simpson
CODY
Only athlete to captain Wyoming's baseball, basketball and
football teams; state's governor from 1954 to '58.

#29
Shanelle Porter
CHEYENNE
At Cheyenne East High set state track records in 200 meters
(24.26) and 400 (54.78) in 1990.

#30
Mark Miller
LARAMIE
Set state swimming records in 200-yard freestyle and 500 free at
Laramie High; second in 200-yard breaststroke at 1988 NCAAs.

#31
Latner Straley
PINEDALE
Junior national cross-country ski champ in 1980, '81; part of
U.S. national team from '79 to '83.

#32
Stan Dodds
GREEN RIVER
Wyoming forward averaged 16.7 points from 1968 to '70,
eighth-best in Cowboys' history.

#33
David Edeen
CHEYENNE
Walk-on defensive end had six sacks and an interception in
1988 Wyoming victory over BYU; spent two seasons in World League
with N.Y./N.J. Knights.

#34
John Pilch
THERMOPOLIS
Led Wyoming basketball team in scoring from 1947 to '50;
All-America in '50; played nine games with Lakers in '51-52.

#35
Ryan Brieske
GILLETTE
Won Class A super heavyweight title at 1995 Colorado Golden
Gloves; alternate on '96 U.S. Olympic boxing team.

#36
Rondo Fehlberg
WORLAND
BYU All-America placed fifth in 150-pound class at 1972 NCAA
wrestling championships; was 23-2 as a college senior.

#37
Keith Bloom
POWELL
Wyoming's last three-sport letterman (football, basketball,
baseball), from 1947 to '50.

#38
Dick Ballinger
CODY
Three-time All-America wrestler at Wyoming at 167 pounds; was
1960 NCAA champion.

#39
Jan Dukes
CHEYENNE
All-America at Santa Clara threw no-hitter in final collegiate
start, in 1967; no wins, but did have 2.70 ERA in three seasons
in majors.

#40
Don Westbrook
CHEYENNE
Second in Big Eight in catches (33) at Nebraska in 1974;
23 catches in five NFL seasons with Patriots.

#41
Bob Harris
GILLETTE
Spent five seasons in majors, winning career-high 12 games with
Browns in 1941; retired in '42 with 30-52 record.

#42
Scott Freeman
LARAMIE
Passed for 605 yards as Wyoming quarterback in 1970; had 70
receptions and 1,232 yards as receiver in '71 and '72.

#43
Don Bracken
THERMOPOLIS
Two-time all-state defensive end and punter at Hot Springs High;
NFL punter had best year with Rams in '92, when he averaged 41.1
yards.

#44
Bill Strannigan
ROCK SPRINGS
All-state in football, basketball and track at Rock Springs
High; led Wyoming with 10.5 ppg in 1941; 179 wins as Cowboys
hoops coach (1960 to '73).

#45
John Burrough
PINEDALE
Second-team All-WAC defensive tackle at Wyoming; played
with Falcons from 1995 to '98.

#46
Corte McGuffey
RIVERTON
Harlon Hill winner in 1999, runner-up in '98; quarterbacked
Northern Colorado to three Division II playoffs.

#47
J.J. Syvrud
ROCK SPRINGS
Set Jamestown (N.Dak.) College record with 17 sacks in 1998; now
with Jets.

#48
Larry Sandvick
KAYCEE
Has competed in five consecutive National Finals Rodeos; world's
second-ranked bareback rider in 1998.

#49
Daryl Watson
CHEYENNE
Set Augustana (S.Dak.) College records with 24'11 3/4" long
jump and 10.8 for 100 meters.

#50
Allyn Griffin
CASPER
Three-sport standout at Kelly Walsh High led Wyoming in
receiving in 1984 and '85; caught 88-yard TD pass in '84 upset
of Air Force.

B/W PHOTO: JAMES DRAKE #1 Boyd Dowler

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