Wyoming, a game which has been played 107 times. Or, is that 106 times?

Depending on which side of the rivalry contest you sit, you think this year’s Border War between the Rams and Cowboys is the 107th meeting (CSU) or 108th (Wyoming). That’s because, way back in 1899, the first meeting between the two teams was protested by Colorado State when Wyoming professor E.D. McArthur decided to call the game for the Cowboys and CSU’s Edward House ordered the team to leave the field.

See, back in those days, a person from each university was the referee (House) and umpire (McArthur). The game, which took place in Laramie, got out of hand when House received death threats from the Wyoming fans in attendance as they threw rocks onto the field. The Laramie natives even yelled, per the Collegian, “Kill the __ __ __! Kill the whole outfit! Mob them right here!” So McArthur took over refereeing duties in the second half, and late in the game when the two disagreed on a call, McArthur knocked the rule book out of House’s hand and reportedly said he “did not give a damn for the rules.”

That’s when House told CSU to leave the field, with a 12-11 lead. Colorado State then noted the game a 12-0 victory for a century until in 1999 the NCAA decided to do away with protested games.

So, according to the men in Fort Collins, this will be the 107th meeting, the final at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. (Listen to CSU athletics historian John Hirn tell the story here in this podcast.)

And beyond the great deal of games played, there’s also the addition of the Bronze Boot, which was introduced in 1968, and since then, the series has been 24-23 slightly in favor of Colorado State. It’s one of the most closely fought rivalries in college football today.

“Tradition is what makes college football great,” Rams head coach Mike Bobo said on Monday during his weekly press conference. “This is a game with plenty of tradition.”

You can say that again. The Bronze Boot, which is the trophy these two teams have been fighting over for the last 48 years, a boot which was Rams’ ROTC instructor Daniel J. Romero’s. With both schools possessing strong ROTC backgrounds, the two ROTC groups will run from their universities to the border of Colorado and Wyoming to exchange the boot as well as the game ball for that year.

Sonny Lubick spoke before last year’s game, Bobo said, and he explained that someone special will talk this week to his players about the importance of the rivalry.

“It’s a neat deal to see the two university’s ROTCs run the ball there and just be a part of that,” Bobo said of experiencing the Border War last year, his first season as head coach of the Rams. “This is a game of tradition, and that’s part of the tradition. I love being a part of it.”

And after coaching his Rams against the Cowboys in Laramie last year — Bobo said he was thankful it wasn’t snowing Saturday like it did the Friday before last season’s Border War — Colorado State’s head football coach really got a taste of the rivalry in Fort Collins during the men’s basketball version of the Border War.

“I really learned about the rivalry last year in January when no one was on campus and Wyoming was playing CSU in basketball, and I walked in, Moby was full,” Bobo recalled. “There were a ton of Wyoming people. It was an exciting atmosphere. And you could tell it was a rivalry game. And same thing in football. So, I know it means a lot to them. It means a lot to us … It’s a big game, we know it’s a big game. We’re going to coach it like we would any other game, but we’re not going to lose sight that it’s a rivalry game, and we’re going to get their best shot.”

With his Rams at 2-2 and Wyoming at 2-2, it could be a close game, indeed. Bobo said it was a “very, very important game” this week, and not just because the Bronze Boot is on the line. For Colorado State and Wyoming, it’s each school’s first Mountain West contest of the year. CSU finished their non-conference slate 2-2, ending on a loss at Minnesota last week which was hard fought, though the coaches all agreed Monday there was a lack of execution, especially on the key downs, by the Rams.

As of Tuesday morning, there were only 726 public tickets available for this year’s Border War, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 2 with an 8:15 p.m. MT kickoff scheduled.

Certainly this rivalry is worthy of a sellout, especially during the “Farewell to Hughes” season. We’ll see if CSU and Wyoming fans can make that happen as the week goes forward.

There will likely be a ton of Wyoming backers, as defensive coordinator Marty English, who spent seven years with the Cowboys, explained the importance of this game to Cowboys fans.

“I know how important it is to Wyoming,” English said of the Border War. “They don’t have CU, CSU, UNC, Denver Broncos. They don’t have that. This is their Super Bowl. This is their everything game. I still remember being there and an administrator saying, ‘We can go 1-11 as long as we beat those guys it’s a good year.’

“It has to be as important to us as it is to them,” English finished.

Bobo, English and Co. are working to ensure the Rams know just how important this contest is.

CSU has won the last three Border Wars, meaning Wyoming will be that much hungrier this week. Of course, sending the Rams out a loser in the last rivalry game at Hughes would be a cherry on top for the Cowboys.

Saturday is sure to bring an intense, fun game in Fort Collins.