Bronze Boot Run about to march onto campus

Bronze Boot

One of college football’s oldest rivalries enters a new era in 2018 when CSU hosts Wyoming in the annual Border War.

These rivals – separated by a state line and 66 miles of high plains terrain – started playing each other in 1899 and have squared off 108 times, with CSU owning a 57-46-5 advantage. Their 8 p.m. game on Friday, Oct. 26, will be the first in the series played at Canvas Stadium and, following years of games at Hughes Stadium, the first played on the CSU campus in 50 years.

First Boot on campus in 50 years

So fittingly, the annual ritual that brings the rivalry’s unique trophy to the field – the Bronze Boot Run – will finish on CSU’s campus for the first time. The Bronze Boot – worn in combat by Dan Romero, an assistant professor of military science at CSU and Vietnam veteran – was first awarded to the winning team in 1968, but all previous CSU home games featuring the Boot were played at Hughes Stadium.

Bronze Boot
The Bronze Boot was an actual combat boot worn by Capt. Dan Romero, who taught military science at CSU, in Vietnam.

“We’re really excited to bring this tradition to our campus,” said. Lt. Col. Troy Thomas, commander of CSU’s Army ROTC unit and a professor of military science. “We’re happy to do anything to promote CSU and our football program, but I also teach military science and any time I can show off our cadets, how they fit in with the rest of the university and how the university embraces them, I’m excited.”

The 2018 Boot Run begins Thursday, Oct. 25, in Laramie, with Wyoming ROTC cadets running the game ball 27 miles to the state border, where they will hand off to CSU cadets in a noon ceremony featuring coaches, athletics directors, spirit squads and mascots from both schools.

Fourteen CSU cadets will complete the journey, rotating shifts while running 38-plus miles down U.S. 287 before arriving at the Moby Arena parking lot at Shields and Plum streets at approximately 5:20 p.m. That’s when things get fun.

Join in the fun

For the first time, faculty and staff, students and community members are invited to participate in the final leg of the journey – the Bronze Boot Mile – to Canvas Stadium. Spectators are also invited to line up along Meridian Way on campus to cheer on the ROTC cadre and others joining in.

The New Belgium Porch at the stadium will open at 4:30 p.m.; it should be the perfect spot to watch the Boot Run’s completion.

“We’re hoping lots of people join us; the more the merrier,” Thomas said of the Bronze Boot Mile. “I want to overwhelm the New Belgium Porch and turn this into a true campus event and tradition.”

One of CSU’s treasured traditions

All Army ROTC cadets will participate in the final leg of the journey; a brief ceremony will take place when it arrives at the stadium. Thomas said he’s proud to be part of such a storied tradition.

“We have a lot of really cool traditions at CSU but this is the one I enjoy the most,” he said “I remember watching the game on TV last year and the announcers talked a lot about the Boot Run and the trophy. They called it the coolest traveling trophy in college football.

“The Bronze Boot is a great acknowledgement of the tradition at both schools. It’s a celebration of a great, good-hearted rivalry.”