(Lander, Wyo.) – Summer gatherings of University of Wyoming athletes who lived together years ago in the Athletic Dorm at UW have come to the end of the trail.
The last of the Athletic Dorm reunions was celebrated Aug. 2-4, 2019, at Lander. The events had become every-other-year reunions of athletes who attended UW from 1957 until the end of the athlete-only housing on campus at Laramie.
Lander became the host city under the faithful organizing efforts of “the Lander Crew”: George and Linda Johnstone, Ray (Bugs) and Mary DiFelici and Peggy Zimmer, widow of former Powell coach and Cowboy football player Vince Zimmer.
The host committee only recently came to the decision to end the Lander gatherings with considerations of health, cost, distance and time of travel, ability to attend and the COVID-19 virus. The 2019 reunion was so good, with 77 former athletes in attendance, that it was right to end on that note.
“We have had a great ride over the past years, 1957-2020. We have been blessed with the great relationships developed at UW in the Athletic Dorm,” the Lander Crew wrote. “All of us will never forget its value in our lives.”
Among Powell athletes who were Athletic Dorm residents and Lander reunion attendees through the years were Harold Farmer, football and track; Wes Metzler and Skip McCrary, wrestling; Ken Rochlitz, basketball; and Jim Wysocki, swimming.
Reflecting on his own arrival in Laramie to enroll at UW from Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the late 1950’s, Wysocki noted those were post-Korean War days.
“Those guys came in and got through college so they could take care of their families,” he said. “It was a mission.”