July 20, 1999
LARAMIE, Wyo. - What has become a winter traditionin Wyoming will continue as one, but under a revised format, the Universityof Wyoming and the City of Casper jointly announced Tuesday.
For the past 17 seasons, the Mini Mart-Cowboy Shootout, has become astaple for basketball fans in the state. Through those years Casper hashosted the Shootout as a two-day, four-team tournament. However, due toincreasing costs, and the difficulty of consistently scheduling qualityteams after Christmas, this year's Shootout is being revised to a one-daydoubleheader featuring the Cowgirls and the Cowboys. The new format is partof four-year agreement signed by the University, and the City of Casper.
"The tournament format, as well as the dates, made it more and moredifficult for us to secure teams, and at the same time meet our budget,"Athletics Director Lee Moon said. "The City of Casper, the ShootoutCommittee, and all the many, many volunteers have done a tremendous jobthrough the years in making this a first-class event. It is one of thefinest 'outreach' projects we do. We wanted to maintain our relationship,and preserve the wonderful feeling that so many have for this event. Webelieve this is a very viable alternative."
The first doubleheader under the new agreement is scheduled forSaturday, Dec. 11., at the Casper Events Center. The Cowgirls will open theevening with Montana State-Billings at 6 p.m. The Cowboys will follow,hosting Montana State University at 8 p.m.
Negotiations are on-going with a number of "national" opponents forfuture dates. For example, Oregon State of the PAC-10 has signed to playthe Cowboys for the 2000 Shootout, and the Cowgirls are putting thefinishing touches on an agreement that would bring Wichita State to theEvents Center in 2000.
"We believe the revised format will allow us to attract higherquality opponents which is what the City of Casper, and the fans of Wyomingbasketball deserve," Moon said.
Max Torbert, Director of the Events Center, said, "There have been alot of people who volunteered their time and sacrificed their Christmasholiday over the years to build the Shootout into one of Wyoming's premiersporting traditions. We are happy that we can maintain a presence with theUniversity of Wyoming in Casper.
"The opportunity to showcase the University of Wyoming Women's teamis something we see as a start of a new tradition with a bright future."
According to Mayor Tim Monroe, the City of Casper is pleased to haveUW basketball continue there. "The Shootout has been important to Casper,and the fans from all over Wyoming," Monroe said. "We are happy to extendour partnership with the University for four more years."
"We are extremely grateful for the continued support of Mini Martand First Interstate Bank without whom we could not continue this event,"Moon said. "We also appreciate the addition of a new sponsor, the ParkwayPlaza Hotel, which will be the Shootout's host hotel."
For the first time, the Shootout will include a pre-tournamentbanquet. The inaugural event will be hosted by First Interstate Bank, andis scheduled for Friday evening Dec. 10, at the Parkway. Coaches andathletes from the four teams will be on hand in addition to a special guestspeaker.