As Jason Mumm remembers it, the first Bronze Boot Run in 1991 started unceremoniously during the early morning hours of an October day in an empty Hughes Stadium parking lot.

It was dark, cold and windy as the Colorado State University Army ROTC cadets prepared for the 38-mile relay run to take the game ball to the Colorado-Wyoming border.

“There was nobody there,” said Mumm, now 52 and a financial consultant in Boulder. “It was me and the guys in the van. We just sat there until we were supposed to start. Then, I got handed the ball, and I started running the very first leg up the road.”

Mumm is returning to take part in what has become one of most CSU’s celebrated traditions. He will be running the game ball on the final leg of the Bronze Boot Run, which starts at Moby Arena during the intermission between the CSU Women’s and Men’s basketball games on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m.

For Mumm, it’s a full-circle moment to be a part of something that he and his fellow cadets started three decades ago.

“I couldn’t be happier to be running in it again,” he said. “I don’t think at the time, we ever thought it would be going on and on for years. It’s pretty neat now to be completing that circle.”

Jason Mumm

Jason Mumm at his commissioning ceremony in 1992.

In the years since that first run, the Bronze Boot Run has become a ritual between the CSU and Wyoming Army ROTC cadets, with the two schools meeting at the state line on U.S. 287 to exchange the game ball. Participants ride along in support vans, while awaiting their next assigned leg of the journey. Most cadets run between six and eight of the one-mile legs.

“The Bronze Boot easily ranks in the top three experiences I have had or will have here at CSU,” said CSU AROTC cadet Matthew Copley. “The first was taking the oath to defend this great nation and the Constitution; the second will be my commissioning as an officer in the United States Army; and the third is the Bronze Boot Run.”

Lt. Col. Matthew Tillman — a 2004 CSU graduate who now serves as a professor of military science and the department head of Army ROTC at CSU — took part in the Bronze Boot Run his junior year. He explained that the run holds a special place for many of those who have participated in the tradition.

“I didn’t really realize how unique the Bronze Boot Run was until I graduated and talked with my peers across the nation,” Tillman said. “Most ROTC students don’t get to participate in cool activities the way we do at CSU.”

Armed Forces Merit Award finalist

The Bronze Boot Run is so unique that it is a finalist for the 2022 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America. The announcement of the 2022 Armed Forces Merit Award recipient will be made during an ESPN telecast on Nov. 11 between 4-4:30 p.m. (MT).

CSU AROTC cadet Sabrina Hotchkiss, who last year ran a leg near Laporte, explained that the experience will rank near the top of her memories at CSU when she graduates, and not just because of the tradition.

“I had been running a lot at the time in order to prepare for it, so it wasn’t super challenging,” she said. “But I had never run in uniform and boots before. And that is a very different experience than just running in running shoes. The up-and-down elevation is a little bit challenging, but you’re doing it with a group of people. So, it’s not so bad.”

In addition to the boots and uniform, cadets also run with flags, something that didn’t happen when Mumm and his fellow cadets devised the first run. “That’s not how we did it back then,” Mumm said. “We just had our physical training attire. But that’s alright, it’s character building.”

Lt. Col. Matthew Tillman (right) as a cadet with the Bronze Boot.

Mumm explained that he got the idea to run this year after seeing a CSU social media post on the Bronze Boot last year. He reached out to Tillman, and now he’s running the final leg of the relay, delivering the game ball to head coach Jay Norvell.

“I like to call it ‘Mission Complete,’” Mumm said. “I get to finish what I started 30 years ago, which is really unique. I’m just really excited about it.”

CSU Basketball and Bronze Boot game ball handoff

Date: Friday, Nov. 11
Location: Moby Arena

  • Women’s game: 5 p.m.
  • Bronze Boot game ball handoff: Approximately 7 p.m.
  • Men’s game: 7:30 p.m.