Jackrabbit nation ‘Backs the Jacks’ in Wyoming

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, road closings and semi-trailer accidents could not prevent much of the Jackrabbit nation from watching their beloved team square off versus the University of Wyoming.

“This is nothing. The Jacks always overcome adversity. We’re in good shape,” longtime Jackrabbit fan Keith Jensen said after finally arriving in Laramie, Wyo.

The more than 700 miles from Brookings to Laramie was anything but easy for SDSU fans. The two fans busses were forced to spend the night in Sydney, Neb. because the mountain pass into Laramie was closed. The riders were not discouraged and made the most of their time in Sydney.

“(We) had a good time playing cards in the hotel last night when we got stranded in Syndey, Nebraska,” graduate student Marc Tuschen said.

When the busses finally got rolling on Sunday morning, the Jackrabbit nation still could not breeze right into Laramie. A semi-trailer had jackknifed on the interstate, closing the road for approximately an hour.

“It was a little depressing. It started to make us think we weren’t going to get here,” said 1988 SDSU grad and fan bus rider Roger Thue.

After the road cleared and they could complete their journey, fans were glad they finally made it to the game.

“The attitude was, ‘God, we’re glad to be in Laramie, we made the game,’ ” Jensen said.

Not all SDSU fans rode the bus to the game. Many fans drove themselves.

“We flew across South Dakota at about a 100 miles per hour just to back the Jacks,” said Rick Stevens, owner of Right Angle Construction. “We had absolutely nothing planned. The only thing we had planned was we were going to back the Jacks. We had no idea where we were staying, where we were going. (We) jumped in the car. (It was) a last minute decision. The best decision we made all weekend.”

Stevens drove to Wyoming with his 3 year-old daughter Sierra, his wife, Anna, and two other friends. His whole family are Jackrabbit fans, especially Sierra. Her favorite player is Megan Vogel “because she’s a good player.” Sierra said that when she gets older, she wants to play for the Jackrabbits.

Several students also drove themselves to the game and had to deal with the adverse weather conditions.

“We weren’t too concerned about the weather. We just figured it was an extra element to the adventure,” fifth year chemistry major Sharon Klein said.

Students, alumni and community members traveled to Laramie for one reason – to back the Jacks.

“We love our ‘Rabbits,” Klein said.

Steven Schipke, a sophomore mass communications major, said, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We just had to root for the Jacks against the Cowgirls.”