By The Associated Press
LARAMIE — So long, prairie gold.
The University of Wyoming has retired the beige color first paired with brown on team uniforms in 2000, reverting to bold yellow.
On Saturday, Wyoming’s football team will wear “game day gold” in its season opener against Virginia. Free T-shirts in that color will be given to the first 10,000 people to enter War Memorial Stadium.
Athletic Director Tom Burman said prairie gold will still have a place at Wyoming, such as on brochures and for wall paint.
“But when we compete, we’ll wear the traditional brown and gold, or yellow,” Burman said. “I think prairie gold has a place, but I don’t think it has a place, at this point, on our uniforms.”
“I refused to wear the new colors,” said longtime UW fan Carrol Orrison. “I would show up with the brightest yellow shirt I could wear to everything I went to.”
Prairie gold was controversial ever since its debut under then-President Phil Dubois.
Dubois at the time said the change was needed to boost merchandise sales and raise the university’s profile locally and nationally. The university paid a consultant $50,000 to develop the new look.
Dubois explained that the university used a variety of shades of yellows over the years, until bold yellow was adopted on uniforms around 1980.
Dubois left Wyoming to become president of University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2005. He has since been replaced by Tom Buchanan.
Casey Campbell, owner of the Brown ’n Gold Outlet store in Laramie, said merchandise sales did increase after prairie gold’s debut.
“At that time, some of the items were very stagnant, and it was time for a change,” he said. “For us, it was the right change. For the university, it was needed because licensing numbers were pretty low.”
But Campbell also supports the move back to the traditional colors. Along with previously ordered apparel with prairie gold, he plans to stock some clothing with game day yellow.
“That’s a good game-day color,” he said of the brighter yellow. “But it’s not a shirt you’d necessarily wear out on the golf course.”
Joe Dearinger, 91, of Laramie, attended UW in the 1930s. He has been a season ticket holder for many years and thinks bold yellow is the way to go.
“I love the university, and I want to stick with the original colors,” he said. “I don’t think there should be any deviance from that.”
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