Sheridan vs. Gillette: The Rivalry

Sheridan+vs.+Gillette%3A+The+Rivalry

Forrest DeBolt

Every year Sheridan and Gillette face off in the Energy Bowl, the winner being rewarded with a trophy to keep until beaten the next year.

As basketball season rounds up, SHS boy’s and girl’s varsity basketball teams have both faced off against Gillette twice, leaving both sides with losses.This year’s results will just, but the glory of a rivalry is that it’s continuous, and it’s all up for grabs again next year. Regardless of last Thursday’s results it’s clear that both sides have had their fair share of wins and losses with plenty of rowdy student section bouts on the side. All biases ignored, no student really knows why both teams play a little harder, crowds yell a little louder, victory tastes sweeter, and defeat more bitter when the Camels comes to town; what is known is that Sheridan doesn’t like Gillette, and the Gillette doesn’t like Sheridan.

All schools, or competitive teams need another school to compete with, Sheridan High School is no different. According to SHS Teacher Doug Raney a great rivalry should include three things. Similarity: Sheridan and Gillette are both in the northeast corner of Wyoming, making Gillette closer in size to Sheridan. Frequency: Sheridan meets Gillette head to head in almost every sport during the school year, leading to the athletes becoming familiar to one another. Parity: For a rivalry to exist the outcome can’t be predictable, both teams need their fair share of wins and losses. The trio provide the perfect environment for a competitive and lasting rivalry throughout the years.

Every year in football, fans pack the stands for the rivalry game, whether it be in Sheridan or in Gillette. After the game, the winner is presented with the Energy Bowl trophy, and keeps it for the remainder of the year, until the two teams meet again next football season. An unofficial bragging right of sorts, making football one of the more prominent sports in the rivalry. On the other hand, in a crowded gym the other teams student section is only across the gym, and the chants and taunts of each sides student sections make the gym rumble with school pride. Like any rivalry though, fans can often get out of hand, “I think our school legitimately attempts to stay on top of behavior of our students, but things can happen spontaneously that end up being a black eye on our school and community,” said SHS Student Planner Ed Fessler. With Gillette and Sheridan meeting more than twice a year, situations can arise where student behavior is less than satisfactory. Fessler can recall times where certain schools have showed zero restraint in the actions of their students and fans.

Last year seemed to be Sheridan’s year, from the gridiron to the hardwood our Broncs had their triumphs. It’s hard to forget Riley Ryan’s buzzer beating shot to beat Gillette in their own gym, and to any SHS student and athlete, nothing could have tasted sweeter. But rivalries aren’t just for the teams, fans are just as into the games as the athletes. “Cheering, blue and gold colors in the stands, the pep band and drumline, spelling out SHERIDAN and singing the school song turns fans into family,” said Raney. All SHS students and teachers know the feeling of beating Gillette, as well as the pain of a loss. “There was always a sense of rejoicing for the kids, school and community with each victory…and licking our collective wounds with the losses,” said Fessler

Gillette has been going head to head with Sheridan for some time, but the scales weren’t as even as they are now. “As Gillette grew, became larger, had the money to build the best facilities, they wanted to prove they were equal or better than the rest,” said Raney. Gillette has had it’s fair share of triumphs, beating Sheridan this year in the Energy Bowl. The extremity of the rivalry is only heightened by both sides excessive school spirit, and even though it may seem distant at times, respect. “A common, respected competitor (Gillette) brings us together,” said Raney. Respect is a big part of the game for both teams, adding to the competitiveness of the contest. “They want to win for their respective teams and communities, and consequently they play clean and hard,” said Fessler.

A rivalry is an important part of a school experience. “A common enemy strengthens the group. I think that line of thought gives a degree of credence to the concept of high school sporting rivalries,” said Fessler. Regardless of results, Sheridan and Gillette are, and will continue to be one of the biggest rivalries in the state.