SHERIDAN — He’s traveled well over 4,000 miles, reaching every corner of Wyoming. He’s visited more than half of the high school football stadiums in the state with a goal of seeing each and every one.
He’s “the Wyoming Guy,” Joe Thornock, and he sat down with The Sheridan Press prior to his trip to view all four Sheridan County high school football stadiums.
The Sheridan Press: Where are you from?
Joe Thornock: I’m from Kemmerer, I currently live in Johnstown and I go to school at Northwest College in Powell.
TSP: How did you come up with your goal to see every stadium?
JT: I just really like going to high school football games, and I said, “Geez, I want to something really cool.” So I started doing this.
TSP: When did you start, and which stadium did you visit first?
JT: I started in the summer of 2017, and the first one was Rawlins. I went to Rawlins, Hanna-Elk Mountain, Rock River and then did all three Cheyenne schools all in one day.
TSP: Which high school left the strongest impression on you?
JT: Medicine Bow. I went out there, and they have a high school there that they built — and they had a basketball team, a football team everything — and then they had some crises. Something happened where they stopped mining whatever they mined there, and the place basically became a ghost town overnight. They built this brand-new high school, and they never opened it. There are desks inside and everything. It’s sitting there, and it’s just an empty shell now.
TSP: Which football team left the strongest impression on you?
JT: When I went out to Guernsey-Sunrise to see them play Farson-Eden, and Farson-Eden, they sent me shirts and sweaters, and I talk to their head coach like every day about how the team is doing. They made me feel like I’ve got a family there, and I haven’t even been there.
TSP: Which town left the strongest impression on you?
JT: Pine Bluffs. So I went out there, and they have a restaurant there called the Rock Ranch Grill, and I ate the best prime rib you’ll ever eat in your life. I went to the game and talked to the coach, and they sent me some shirts. And all the people are very, very kind. I went out there again and got their high school logo painted into the bed of my truck, and they’ve been extremely good to me.
TSP: What’s the most beautiful area you’ve seen?
JT: Up here. Oh my gosh, this place is absolutely gorgeous. You go to some places in Wyoming and the landscape, it’s really flat, which has its own beauty in and of itself. Up here, you have the Bighorn Mountain slope, and this place is absolutely gorgeous. I love it up here.
TSP: State championship game predictions?
JT: 4A, Natrona County vs. Thunder Basin; 3A, Star Valley vs. Torrington; 2A, Buffalo vs. Glenrock; 1A, Big Horn vs. Cokeville; 6-man, Farson-Eden vs. Hanna-Elk Mountain.