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Official Review by Rich Kurtzman, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Laramie, Wyoming is a seemingly sleepy and quiet town on the plains of rural America.
But what outside observers don't realize is that Wyomingites love their Cowboys, whether it is on the football field in War Memorial Stadium or the hardwood of Arena-Auditorium, and those that live in the quiet town are loud and proud of their teams.
Arena-Auditorium is nicknamed the "Dome of Doom" and its unique construction creates an incredibly noisy environment that rattles visiting teams. Double-A opened 30 years ago, in the fall of 1982, and the aging arena holds up in terms of being a functional, fun place for families and fans alike to cheer on their Cowboys.
At an altitude of 7,220 feet above sea level, Arena-Auditorium is the highest basketball arena in NCAA Division I competition, meaning the altitude and crowd noise help give the Cowboys a home-court advantage.
The Arena-Auditorium holds 15,028 rowdy Cowboys fans and cost $15 million to construct.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food and drink at Wyoming’s Arena-Auditorium is better than one might expect, with a solid amount of variety.
There are hotdogs ($3.50), polish sausage ($4.50), nachos, pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, candy and Pepsi products at the main concession stands.
At "Doc's Mexican Food" stand, there are "Ultimate Burrito," Supreme Nachos and Taco Salad for $8.75 each and they also offer an assortment of drinks. Plus, they sell Starbucks coffee!
No alcohol is served at the Arena-Auditorium but there is an "open door" policy, allowing fans to come and go as they please with a hand stamp.
There is a fun, rowdy, family friendly atmosphere inside Arena-Auditorium. People were there to cheer on their Pokes and have a good time in Laramie.
These fans want to make it a raucous atmosphere to give their Cowboys a home-court advantage, and they did just that with the help of the dome construction of the stadium.
There's a reason why it's nicknamed "Doom in the Dome," because you can't even hear yourself think when the fans get going, yelling at full throat, and the arena was less than half full during the game I attended.
The neighborhood surrounding Double-A isn't great. The stadium is on campus, but Laramie is a tiny town, limiting choices.
Of course, there are lots of fast food restaurants within walking distance of the stadium, since it's on campus, and you can find it easily if that's what you're looking for.
For something a bit more upscale, Laramie's Altitude Chophouse and Brewery features steaks, seafood and sandwiches for very reasonable prices. And because they are a brewery, there are a variety of tasty suds to sip on if you're in the mood.
Wyomingites were decked out in yellow and brown to support their Cowboys, which made the arena visually intimidating off the bat.
Fans were certainly in the game from the tip, getting chants of "Defense, defense..." going from the student section and erupting after dunks and three-point baskets made by the home team.
The fans have fun, jumping up and down, yelling like crazy and sporting cut-outs of their favorite players and the head coach.
Cowboy supporters were especially loud and loved giving their team the advantage, which is why they receive such high marks.
There's decent access to the stadium, although parking can be difficult to find since the stadium is on campus.
It's not right off the highway either, meaning you have to drive through the town, which can be a bit sluggish at times.
Access within the Arena-Auditorium is great though, as the expansive concourses allow for more than ample room for fans to comfortably walk around, purchase food or drinks or admire the trophy cases and halls of fame.
Bathrooms are abundant and it means waiting in line is almost nonexistent.
Tickets to Cowboys games are cheap, and since families are welcome, it makes going to a game inexpensive and fun for the whole family.
Games are around two hours long and they are entertaining for all of the senses, meaning it's completely worth it to attend a Wyoming basketball contest.
The Wyoming Band is good, close to great. They play lots of up-to-date songs that get the young crowd pumped up. But they also mix in the old-time favorites and the fight song of course too.
There was also dancing for sandwiches on this particular night, and Cowboy Joe is a fun and funny mascot.
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