The Hidden History of Wyoming's Beer Song

It's the song every cowboy fan knows.

"If we didn't have it played we'd have a revolt on our hands." 

Yes, the Wyoming beer song is just that important. Ask University of Wyoming Athletics Historian Kevin McKinney, who's seen the song become a staple in Laramie over the years. 

"It's just been steadily growing until...I think some days it feels like it's played more than Cowboy Joe actually," says McKinney.

But surprisingly...there's no consensus on how this 20th century polka ended up at the University. If you're looking for answers in Laramie
you may come across some people with answers. Dave Corpuz is a former university of wyoming band member and told us he could help unravel this mystery. 

"It's funny knowing the true history to hear the side stories that have evolved from it," Corpuz explains. 

So Dave emailed us and said he was quite literally there when the beer song was introduced. So it only seemed right to come to Laramie's oldest standing bar, the Buckhorn, and finally get the truth. 

"'The beer song! There's a whole story behind that' and it's like you don't know the full story," jokes Corpuz.

So what is the full story? 

"Full story: Was in the fall of 1987. A friend of mine, Dave Harris, a trombone player from Omaha Nebraska, was toodling out this song that he brought from his high school. And we thought, 'hey that's kinda catchy what is that?' And he said 'oh, that's the beer song', and then it became this whole thing for everybody." 

"It started as a little ditty. Nobody thought it was going to get that big. Because a lot of the tunes we played in the stands have kinda fallen by the wayside. But this has gotten bigger and bigger. This has turned into a huge thing," Corpuz mentions. 

But of course we had to hear it from the man himself. Enter Dave Harris. 

"Sophomore year is when I came back and thought you know,I have a song that's kinda neat for the Trombone section," Harris recalls. 
"So I wrote out Beer and it went from there. By my senior year, the student section behind us would yell, 'hey, play beer!' and we'd play it but I had no idea how big it would get." 

So the mystery is solved but the legacy remains...a legacy that ties together generations of Wyoming fans. 

"Everybody has to have their traditions and everyone has to bleed and cry for their colors", McKinney concludes. 

Corpuz sums it up a similar way. 

"It bonds generations of alumni together too because it doesn't matter when I graduated or when you graduated...we can sing the song together."

So raise your glass...Cowboy nation. Sing it loud and sing it proud. 

In heaven there is no beer...that's why we drink it here...and when we're gone from here...our friends will be drinking all our beer.