LARAMIE, WYO. (WIVB) — As the Buffalo Bills charge through the playoffs, an entire state of people is cheering them on from about 1,500 miles away.
“Wyoming and Buffalo are kind of kindred spirits in a way … just blue collar, tough weather … it just fits,” said Cody Tucker, a Wyoming resident and founder of a sports website there, 7220Sports.com.
Wyoming is the least populated U.S. state, but as Buffalo knows, small can be mighty. And with a state flag that is red, white, and blue with a standing buffalo in the middle of it, many of the 500,000 people there will tell you the Bills became the perfect fit for them to cheer on after their famed college quarterback, Josh Allen, was drafted to the Bills.
Click here to watch the scene at a Laramie bar on Draft Day in 2018. For the first time ever, a University of Wyoming player went in the top ten. And in a state that had always rooted for the Denver Broncos, on April 26, 2018, a shift would begin.
“He’s killing it,” Katie Collard said.
“Watching him play here, and seeing him go big is awesome,” Amanda Andrade said.
Collard and Andrade both grew up in Wyoming and had previously rooted for the Broncos. They are now on the Bills bandwagon, showing up to a Zoom interview in Josh Allen Bills jerseys.
“Our guy went to Buffalo and we follow our guy,” Tucker said.
“As soon as he became the Bills quarterback, Bills Mafia just grew exponentially,” Trent Weitzel said, the owner of Double Dub’s Wings in Wyoming.
Trent Weitzel said about once a week, Allen would get wings from his restaurant while he was a college student.
“His favorite wing was a spicy blue — it’s a Buffalo blue cheese sauce,” Weitzel said.
Weitzel now drives Josh Allen’s favorite Wyoming wing truck 26 hours to Orchard Park for games. He’s been to six games this season, four in WNY and two away games. He said to expect more Wyomingites in Western New York next season, cheering on the Bills.
“We’re going to do a big kind-of sponsored thing to get people to come with us to come to the Bills game,” Weitzel said. “Just to bring the Wyoming Bills Mafia out to the true Bills Mafia.”
Cody Tucker has been to Buffalo for a Bills game.
“It was everything I expected and more,” Tucker said.
Tucker is Wyoming-born as well. He founded a website that covers Wyoming sports and former players. He often covers what Josh Allen is up to.
“We all get proud before every game, when he announces his name and says, ‘Josh Allen, Go Pokes,’” he said.
“When you go to the grocery [or] liquor store [in Wyoming], it’s just Allen jerseys everywhere, Wyoming ones and Bills ones,” Tucker said.
Their guy Allen is also forever engrained into the university’s walls.
“In our, what’s called a HAPC, High Altitude Performance Center, where our football offices are, there’s a big mural at the bottom [and] a picture of Josh on draft night,” Juan Soto said, the Director of Development at the University of Wyoming.
At Westby Edge Brewing, the Bills Backers in Cheyanne gather every game day. It’s just one of many Backers meeting places across the state.
“I travel all over the state, and where I never used to see Bills stuff, because we’re essentially Broncos country, now I see Bills flags, Josh Allen jerseys, I hear ‘Go Bills’ everywhere I go,” Kenny Longfritz said.
And that group will be there through the playoffs … hopefully into the Super Bowl.
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