If Los Angeles is the Coors Events Center west, then Albuquerque is the CEC’s southern headquarters.
A pre-game at Kelly’s Brew Pub came complete with appearances from C-Unit regulars, Chip the buffalo and the spirit squad. Fans said the experience was fun and helped them get into their full school spirit.
Even before the match-up between the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Colorado got underway, CU fans refused to be silenced. Black and gold scattered The Pit, but a definitive student section assembled in the upper rows behind the school band.
Most Buffs fans were rooting for South Dakota State, who eventually lost to Baylor in the game played before the CU-UNLV match, chanting “defense” when the Bears had the ball.
Fans from Colorado and other Southwest states drove for hours, even incurring some speeding tickets along the way, to make it to the game in Albuquerque.
“We can’t not go when it’s right down the street,” Ann Scott, director of development of the CU engineering school, said.
Fred Bradford, a CU booster, agreed. Bradford made the reasonably shorter drive from Santa Fe. He said CU’s enormous fan turnout to recent post-season games has really been a great asset to the team.
“Mike Bohn should really be congratulated,” Bradford said.
While some students came in a shuttle bus, courtesy of Bohn and the athletic department, others drove themselves and stayed in self-described “grungy” hotels just to see their Buffs play in the NCAA Tournament.
Many students also took their passion to a higher level, decking out in specially designed CU attire. Kevin McKechney, Dakota Burke and Steven Owens dressed in matching tuxedo shirts and black and marigold overalls. They made sure to add their own personal touches to their outfits as well.
McKechney was the resident athlete, wearing multiple sweatbands. Burke wore a necklace designed specifically for beer money. And Owens was, well, a miner, complete with goggles and a helmet. Owens described himself as a CU superhero.
“I’m the Batman of Denver and Boulder,” Owens said.
The Buffs filled the stands that were otherwise occupied by the sea of red from University of New Mexico and UNLV fans, and came with the intention of making a lot of noise.
“If you had a scale from one to 10 and it had CU after that at a nuclear level, I’d be beyond that,” Owens said.
By Marlee Horn for the Colorado Daily