Happy 36th Birthday to The University Of Wyoming’s ‘Dome Of Doom’
This week marks the 36th anniversary of the Arena-Auditorium, which opened on Feb. 20, 1982. At an elevation of 7,220 feet, the "Double A" is the highest Division I basketball court in the country. That advantage has helped the Pokes win nearly 75 percent of their home games.
The venue has also hosted several notable concerts and events; from speeches by future Presidents to professional wrestlers beating each other with steel chairs. Here's a look back at five of the biggest events ever held at the Arena-Auditorium.
1. 2007 WNIT Championship - On Saturday, March 31st, the Wyoming Cowgirls became the first Mountain West Conference team to ever win the postseason tournament, defeating Wisconsin in front of 15,462 rowdy fans. The game set attendance records for the largest crowd to ever attend a women's sporting event at Wyoming. It also drew the second-largest crowd in the history of the AA.
2. 2002 Men's Basketball vs. Utah - On March 2, in the final regular season game, Wyoming and Utah battled for the Mountain West Conference title in front of a record crowd of 16,089. The game lived up to its billing, as the Pokes pulled out a 57-56 victory. Wyoming would later advance to the NCAA Tournament before losing to Arizona in the second round.
3. Elton John Benefit Concerts in 1999 and 2009 - Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Elton John has performed twice at the Arena-Auditorium. His first appearance was a benefit concert for the Matthew Shephard Foundation on June 1, 1999. Sir Elton returned to the AA nearly a decade later, playing another benefit on April 3, 2009.
4. Barrack Obama Speech in 2008 - On March 7, a capacity crowd saw then-Senator Obama speak at the Arena-Auditorium. During the rally, Obama joked that "security here is so tight, Pistol Pete had to give up his guns." The day before, former President Bill Clinton campaigned on behalf of his wife at the Uni-Wyo Sports Complex. Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and John F. Kennedy also visited the University of Wyoming, but Obama is the only President to ever speak at the AA.
5. Opening Night vs. Air Force in 1982 - The first crowd at the Dome of Doom was also one of rhe largest. On Feb. 20, in the final home game of the 1982 season, over 15,000 fans cheered on the Cowboys, who crushed Air Force 59-29 on their way to a second-consecutive NCAA Tournament birth. It was the first of 16 sell-outs in the history of the venue. Over the years, 77 Wyoming games have drawn crowds over 10,000.