A longtime voice for Wyoming Cowboy athletic events steps away from the mic after four decades
On November 19, a voice heard by generations of Wyoming Cowboy followers at War Memorial Stadium referred to as out his last recreation: the Cowboys vs. Boise State. Wyoming Public Radio’s Hugh Cook spoke to longtime announcer Jack Nokes about his four decades of expertise as a sports activities announcer.
Jack Nokes: I labored for KTWO tv and radio they usually had been relationship again then [and I was] make radio play for play. I had carried out the aspect mic for the University of Wyoming broadcasts and was truly employed as a stockbroker at the time, and Kevin [McKinney] referred to as me in the future and requested if I needed to be a PA announcer for soccer. My first response was, ‘Well, what about Walt?’ Walt Miller was my predecessor, the solely predecessor. He began out in 1950 once they first opened the stadium, lived in Cheyenne, was truly an insurance coverage man [and] turned a consumer of mine once I was a stockbroker. And I used to be like, ‘Kevin, no one’s changing Walt. That’s unattainable. He’s the voice.” And you understand, 40 years later, Kevin and I’ve talked about this and we each agree that for us, the voice of War Memorial Stadium is not me, it is nonetheless Walt Miller. He’s nonetheless there, 40 years later, he is up right here in our minds and we will hear him. He was class and I believed, ‘Nobody can observe Walt.’ But I did, and it was an honor to take action. I discover it superb that in the historical past of this stadium there have solely been two of us, two full-time guys, so I’m proud to be one in every of them.
Hugh Cook: Two PA announcers in 72 years.
JN: Seventy-two years, sure. Before this 12 months, I believe I had missed 5 video games in 40 years. Well, I missed the first four this 12 months on account of well being causes, however out of these 5 video games I’d solely missed two and I’m certain it was as a result of the roads had been closed or too dangerous to journey, which is superb . We consider Shirley Basin and the way awkward it may be in the fall and winter. [A] I missed a number of others, one due to a job, and I believe two others, if one in every of your kids will get married or two of them get married, they need you at the wedding ceremony. Well, fairly good. When you consider it, it is a greater dedication than folks understand.
HC: Over 41 years, I’m certain there are lots of recollections and lots of issues which have stood out to you over the previous four decades. What are a few of these large moments?
JN: Well, if you do the PA, you see the recreation from an entire completely different perspective. I imply I’ve folks subsequent to me who produce and discuss into the band, I’ve a spotter with me, I’ve the music man at the prime. I believe the issues that I keep in mind, relatively than particular tracks, and there are a number of, are simply how issues have developed since I began doing it. They gave me a script every single day for each recreation that had perhaps 60 bulletins as a result of there have been again then [were] no scoreboards with movies and stuff and adverts, there was no adverts in the stadium. So I’d have a spotter subsequent to me and consider it or not, the metropolis police chief and the campus police chief proper above me in the sales space above me in my sales space to examine the crowd and ensure there weren’t any unruly college students , which is thought to by no means occur. So it was simply the four of us on this sales space and I used to be actually simply making an attempt to slot in the numerous adverts and bulletins between video games. And I hoped to have all of them prepared by the third quarter. Just as a result of there was closure in the fourth quarter and also you did not wish to be in the center of an announcement in the center of a giant recreation, I used to be just about by myself. I used to be a part of the sports activities info division. There was no advertising and marketing division per se. And Kevin [McKinney]when he took over there for Bill Young as sports activities info director and his assistant, now Tim Harkins, sometimes got here right down to the sales space [to] say, ‘We have to do that otherwise you missed that or we now have to… you understand.’ So principally it was simply me. Over the years that has developed into having a video games web site producer related to the band and related to the guys down in the TV studio who do the on the spot reruns and whatnot. There is much more exercise than earlier than, that was the greatest change. The different modifications, I believe, had been extra the bodily format. Grass was then the most sacred piece of grass in the state of Wyoming. I believe Jim Trabing was the man who took care of that. [It] was meticulous however regardless of how properly taken care of it was like concrete on November 1st. There had been no lights. Everything was, there was nothing in the north endzone so far as the app, the IPF or the Rochelle Athletic Center or the high-performance factor, [it] had been simply the timber and there have been some knothole seats there for small children too, so it is these issues that most likely play greater than sure video games. But if you’d like a reminiscence, and I believe it is the identical reminiscence for everybody in my age group now, it is the first night time recreation ever at War Memorial Stadium, the first recreation to be nationally televised on ESPN. And in fact it was Wyoming’s victory over BYU [Brigham Young University] to begin the 1988 season. Amazing soccer recreation. We’re all form of fascinated by being on nationwide TV and having it at night time. Big viewers, Wyoming gained it. And that they had an ideal recreation plan for BYU. They fired her about seven or eight occasions. It was most likely the funniest soccer recreation to recollect the most. Although the extension or the victory in opposition to the CSU [Colorado State University] a number of years in the past in Blizzard with Cash Malula’s fumble restoration was superb. Garrett Crall’s little security dance in the finish zone for the Boise recreation once they then confronted San Diego State in the Conference Championship. Those are nice recollections. And then the one reminiscence that is been protruding currently is Josh Allen, and I’ll let you know why it is protruding. It’s his first recreation and I’ve acquired a model new spotter engaged on campus. [and] is one in every of the Pepsi guys on campus. And it is the first time we’re working collectively and we like his first or second sequence and all of us knew he had an ideal arm. And he decides to run and takes that safety and simply flashes the man. I do not keep in mind what number of hours, however we checked out one another and stated, ‘Wow, he is a giant man. I hope he does not hold making an attempt although.” Next recreation or two later, he goes exterior and tries once more. This time it is a linebacker coming his manner. And we each take a look at one another and say ‘Slide, slide’. And we take a look at one another and say, ‘He did not slip.’ He broke his collarbone in seven locations. We thought, yeah, we each thought, ‘Oh, how did that occur?’ Yes, we did not know at the time that he broke his collarbone, however this monitor stands out simply because we’re model new to working collectively. Here’s a model new quarterback that everybody is trying ahead to, and he is performed about 15 video games and is out for the season. So, some issues stand out like that.
HC: When you first began taking up PA duties 41 years in the past, did you’ve got any inkling that you’d achieve this for greater than four decades?
JN: oh no no You know, taking part in soccer led to basketball. Jim Brandenburg and I had been clearly good buddies when he was a coach, however my media and soccer days led to the query, “Do you want to play basketball too?” And I believed, ‘Yeah, certain. i’m younger I can drive throughout Shirley Basin.” Little did I do know it could take 41 years. Like many individuals in radio and tv and sports activities at the time, I used to be trying for a play-by-play job. I hoped it could be mine [entry]. Larry Birleffi, he was nonetheless taking part in play-by-play [me] Doing play-by-play, so I had no intention of simply doing it. But then there wasn’t PA both, now you have acquired all these guys for the professional leagues and stuff. They receives a commission they usually exit and do public appearances and stuff. It wasn’t an artwork type, if you’ll, prefer it’s turn out to be now. So no, I had no concept it was taking so lengthy. I’m glad it was. It was an ideal run and I additionally love working with the folks in the press field.