Thus far, we have been remiss in failing to mention one of the biggest and most exciting draws in Boise, Bronco football. Like anyone else paying even a moment’s attention to college football (except, perhaps, for the San Diego State head coach), I’ve always found the smurf turf to be a cool and fun tweak. In fact, during my interview at Boise State, I was able to go on the field and have my picture taken - that was pretty cool. I’m pretty sure you’d get run through by a corps member’s sword if you tried the same at my alma mater, Texas A&M University, but I digress.
A long-time hater of the BCS, I’ve had special, if distant, affection for the Broncos for years. But once I received my job offer in late winter, I started tuning in with new motivation. Since then, although I’ve checked in on lots of news sites and blogs, one place has provided me with the kind of real-time analysis mixed with historical context that a new fan needs: One Bronco Nation Under God or, acronymically, OBNUG. The folks who contribute to this site do a great job, especially founding member Kevan Lee. Kevan was good enough to take some time out to reply to some Boise and Bronco-related questions I have, which are posted below.
BoB: Other than Bronco Stadium, where is the best place to watch a Boise State football game?
OBNUG Kevan: You’ll find a lot of good restaurants on Broadway that are packed out on Bronco Saturdays (or Fridays or Thursdays or the occasional odd Wednesday). Busters and Murphy’s are two hot spots, and if you’re okay with non-local places, it’s hard to beat the Ram’s location and wall o’ TVs.
You also may want to go the Falcon Tavern because it is the best burger you have ever eaten. I’m not sure if they even have a TV in there; I was too busy stuffing my face.
BoB: What kind of impact do you think the football program’s success has had on the city itself?
OBNUG Kevan: For sure, Boise State football has brought the city notoriety. There are innumerable broadcasts where the announcers gush about how nice the city is, as if nothing so nice could ever exist in a potato-hick state like Idaho. The football team has also impacted the city’s collective self-esteem. Boise has always been a great place to live, but now Boiseans have a point of national pride where they can go anywhere in the U.S.* and people will recognize the BSU colors and secretly covet living the high life in Boise.
* - Note: Does not apply in Fort Worth, Texas.
BoB: Other than Bronco football, what are your favorite things about Boise?
OBNUG Kevan: In no particular order, except for the first one which is clearly my favorite thing:
Idaho Pizza Company
The Boise greenbelt
Skiing (snow, not water - water scares me)
Proximity to mountains
We have a Barnes & Noble, for a few more weeks anyway
BoB: What Bronco football traditions should a Boise newbie be aware of?
OBNUG Kevan: The Broncos have crazy complicated color schemes for every home game. In truth, it is a marketing gimmick to make you buy t-shirts of every conceivable Bronco color. In practice, it is kind of cool to see a blue, orange, and white pinwheel from the sky (but not as cool as the marketing team probably thought - too much non-conformist camo).
At certain times during the game, the stadium will chant back and forth “Boise!” “State!” from one side to the other. It is pretty cool to experience, and loads uncooler to experience in an airport.
BoB: Where is one place you think every visitor to Boise should check out?
OBNUG Kevan: Go to the Saturday farmer’s market in downtown Boise. Get up early if you want a Mennonite pie.