Ribbon Cut at Curt Gowdy State Park Visitors Center [PHOTOS]
The ribbon was cut Wednesday night on the visitor center baring the name of the legendary broadcaster, family man and Wyoming native: Curt Gowdy.
The Curt Gowdy Vistor Center will serve the Curt Gowdy State Park, which lies in the Laramie Mountains between the cities of Laramie and Cheyenne. The park itself was established in 1971, through a lease agreement with the City of Cheyenne and the Boy Scouts of America. In the years before the railroad, the area was known to be favored by several different Indian Tribes.
Curt Gowdy himself, was born in July 31st, 1919 in Green River. He grew up in Cheyenne learning, from his father, a love and passion for fishing, hunting and the conservation of the outdoors. While at the University of Wyoming Curt Gowdy was known as an accomplished basketball player and a varsity tennis player. He joined the Army Air Corps and served in World War II. After suffering a spinal injury in the war, Curt Gowdy began what was to be a lifelong career as a sportscaster, calling local Cheyenne football games.
During his career, Curt Gowdy would go national, working for four networks, and earning the moniker of the "Cowboy at the Mike." He called the action for the likes of Oklahoma Football, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. He would also go on to work in television as a creative and versatile broadcaster. Combining his love of broadcasting and the outdoors, Curt Gowdy hosted television's The American Sportsman, which featured Gowdy hunting and fishing with celebrities and presidents.
Gowdy’s love of Wyoming and radio came together when he bought Laramie's KOWB-AM in 1966 and then put KCGY-FM on the air, also in Laramie, in 1983. The “CG” in KCGY are for his initials. Andy Hoefer was hired by Gowdy in 1966 and still works as a salesman for the stations. Hoefer says that during Gowdy’s lifetime he usually came back to Wyoming for his birthday to go fishing and was extremely proud to have Curt Gowdy State Park bear his name.
"His friends are here in Wyoming. He loved Wyoming," says Jerre Gowdy, Curt's widow. "He loved the blue skies and the rolling hills."
Mrs. Gowdy was present for the ribbon cutting Wednesday night, which coincided with what would have been Curt Gowdy's 94th birthday. She says she loves the facility. "I think it's fabulous. My daughter, Cheryl, and I have watched this over a period of a year-and-a-half while it was was being built." Mrs. Gowdy says that she especially admires the outer trim of the building which is made from beetle-kill trees, "The beetle trees died, and then the park re-purposed them and used them in the building. I think it's wonderful."
Mrs. Gowdy was joined by her children Cheryl Gowdy, Curt Gowdy Jr., and Trevor Gowdy as well as their children at the ribbon cutting. The Visitor Center atrium was also filled with friends, well wishers and several Wyoming politicians including Governor Matt Mead, former Governor Dave Freudenthal and former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson.
The Visitor Center was funded, in part, by a donation from John Morris of the Bass Pro Shops and matching funds from the Wyoming Legislature. Representative Kermit Brown and Former Representative Pete Illoway of Cheyenne were also present at the event. They were the sponsors of the House Bill that secured funds matching the donation from John Morris. Other friends and donors were recognized Wednesday night as well.
"My journey through life with Curt has been wonderful," says Mrs. Gowdy. "He blessed my life with family, joy, happiness and friends."
Some of those friends were present at the ribbon cutting, and many agreed that Curt was also there, in spirit.