Sunday, April 21, 2013

The mystique of War Memorial Stadium

The mystique of War Memorial Stadium

September 11, 2030

Weekly Report Posted: December 18, 2012 07:17

Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium is an outdoor football stadium on the campus of the University of Wyoming in Laramie. It is the home field of the Wyoming Cowboys of the Mountain West Conference. It is the highest Division I FBS college football stadium in the nation; the playing field sits at a lofty elevation of 7215 feet (2199 m) above sea level. The next highest Division I FBS stadium is Falcon Stadium at the U.S. Air Force Academy, about 600 feet (182 m) lower in Colorado Springs.
War Memorial Stadium was built (along with the War Memorial Fieldhouse) in the spring and summer of 1950. The stadium, which replaced tiny Corbett Field, originally sat 20,000 in grandstands on the east & west sides of the field. In 1970, the western upper deck, containing 5,500 seats and a new press box, was added, and in 1978 the eastern press box and northern bleachers were added, bringing capacity up to 33,500. The playing field runs mostly in the traditional north-south configuration; it is slightly skewed to the NE-SW, about 10 degrees.
In 2001, a new video scoreboard was added, and the bleachers in the north end zone were moved to the south end zone. In 2004, the western stands were refurbished and the press box expanded, bringing the stadium to its current capacity. In 2005, the natural grass at War Memorial Stadium was replaced by infilled artificial turf, similar to FieldTurf. The new surface, known as "Desso Challenge Pro 60 Monofilament Synthetic Turf," is the first of its kind in Division I-A football. The field itself was renamed "Jonah Field" in honor of the Wyoming gas fields owned by the primary benefactors of the turf project, the Martin and McMurry families.
Below the new north end zone scoreboard is a 62" (1.6 m) statue named "Cowboy Tough" by Chris Navarro. "Fanning a Twister", located to the north of the stadium at the main entrance to the athletic complex, is modeled after a photo of Guy Holt riding "Steamboat," the 1909 winner of "Worst Horse" at Frontier Park in Cheyenne. In the 1920s, an equipment manager named Deane Hunton had found the picture. Thinking it embodied the spirit of the athletics program and the cowboy life, he stenciled an outline of it, which has become the familiar logo of the university (also found on state license plates and many other places around the state).
In addition to UW home games, the stadium also hosted the WHSAA State Football Championships in 2009 and 2010 and in 2011.
Capacity was reduced in 2004 to 32,580, in 2007 to 30,514. Before the 2010 season, the new Wildcatter Stadium Club and Suites opened and capacity was reduced to 29,181. The Wildcatter features 12 individual suites along with a stadium-club area that contains 256 indoor seats.

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