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Lovell , Wyoming
February 21, 2019     Lovell Chronicle
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February 21, 2019

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6 1 The Lovell Chronicle I February 21, 2019 BY DAVID PECK They called them the Gold Dust Twins, and they were two of the top bas- ketball players in the state of Wyoming in the early 1960s. No one can remember how Lane Brown and Mike Kidgell were given that moniker, and even they don't know exactly what it means, but it was their of Verda and Windy Croft. Verda was the head nurse at North Big Horn Hos- pital, and Win was a lab technician. Like Brown, Kidgell said he loved playing all sports but especially bas- ketball and baseball. "We were playing all the time (growing up), playing basketball outside or base- ball," he said. "We actual- outstanding play at state ly had a basketball court tournaments in 1962 and at the house - with lights. '63 that raised eyebrowsI would shoot and shoot among state hoops coach- es and fans as the Lovell Bulldogs forged a two-year record of success that put them among the very best - at all levels of competition. Longtime teammates and friends, Brown and Kidgell will be inducted into the Lovell Athletic Hall of Fame Friday night during the final home games of the year with Powell. Both are graduates of the LHS Class of 1963. Brown is the son of LHS Hall-of-famer Brown- ie Brown, and Mac Brown. He grew up on the fami- ly farm, Rimrock Ranch, about 2V2 miles south of Lovell, where the family ran Brown's Dairy. Father Brownie was quite an athlete himself, and shoot, and play pickup games. That's pretty much what we did. There wasn't a whole lot to do in Lovell in the late '50s." Like Brown, Kidgell was a top baseball player, bat- ring fourth, playing left field and pitching. "I threw fast (as a pitch- er)," he said. "There wasn't much break to it. I just wound up and let it fly. It's a toss-up between baseball and basketball (as a favorite sport). I loved both of them and was good in both." He also played foot- ball as a wide receiver and went out for track "because Gerke required it" and ran the high and low hurdles. BASKETBALL SUCCESS Lovell Bulldog bas- ketball had been good for even after his high school years and once again rose days, so Lane grew up to prominence during the watching Brownie and old- er brother Jay compete. And he was always outside playing. "Dad put up a basket by the house," he said. "We shot baskets all the time. We didn't do computers or whatever. We were outside playing basketball in differ- ent neighborhoods. And we played a lot of baseball." Asked his favorite sport, Brown replied, "Whatev- er season it was," and add- ed, "I was probably better Brown and Kidgell years, becoming one of the top teams in Wyoming at all levels. In fact, from 1955 through 1962, Lovell was in Class A with the likes of Casper, Cheyenne, Rock Springs and Laramie - and competed well. As a sophomore 1961, Brown played for the strong Lovell team that placed fourth at the Big Horn Ba- sin tournament in Wor- land, then fell to Cheyenne in the first round at State at baseballthan basketball." but came back to win three ,4' He said he joined the Airier- straight, downing :Casper, icaii Legion baseball squad Wheatland and RawllnS to when he was 14 as a short- capture the state consola- stop and loved playing for "Doc Burrell" (Clark Burrell, an optometrist) - his coach. He recalled that when the team advanced to the Le- gion state baseball champi- onship game in Wheatland in the summer of '63, when he and Kidgell were 18, Dr. Burrell left a note on his of- fice door that said "Back in two days," but it became four days because the team kept winning. Brown played quarter- back and safety for coach- es Cliff Revelle and Dean Gerke on the Bulldog foot- ball team and lettered three years, adding, "We weren't very good." And in track and field he compet- ed in the high jump, low hurdles and 100-yard dash. MIKE KIDGELL Kidgell was also a multi-sport athlete, the son tion title and finish with an 18-6 record. One story Brown re- calls during the tourna- ment was when Dick Ste- vens took a jump shot from the corner that hit the rim and shattered the back- board, spraying Gerry Christiansen with glass un- der the basket. The game had to be continued at an- other gym. In 1962, Brown was a 5-9 point guard and Kidgell a 6-1 wing as junior start- ers. Both players starred for a relatively young Lovell team that started the sea- son 0-4 but with Janu- ary wins over Riverton and Lander took over first place in the Big Horn Basin Con- ference standings. After stumbling a bit in midsea- son, the team beat Cody, Powell and Worland to tie FILE PHOTO David vs. Goliath affair. Cheyenne prevailed 70- 69, but not without a fight from the Bulldogs, who amazed fans at War Memo- rial Fieldhouse with their prowess on the court (see related story). The Gold Dust Twins combined for 91 points in two games: Kidgell 47, Brown 44. Both were named all-state following the game. SENIOR YEAR Wyoming split the up- per classification into Class AA and Class A the follow- ing season, 1962-63, and Lovell won the 1963 Class A state title, while Cheyenne won the Class AA crown, the team's third consecu- tive title. The Bulldogs lost their first three games of the season to Laurel, Billings West and Billings Senior, beat Basin and fell to Sher- idan. They beat Worland to improve to 2-3 heading into the Christmas break. After beating Thermopolis and falling to Greybull at home, the Bulldogs fell to River- ton and Lander in Fremont County to fall to 3-6. Then the team caught fire, sweeping Powell career high 35 points but sprained his ankle during the game. It was determined that Brown couldn't go in the semifinal round, so Kid- gell moved to guard and Dave Gilstrap started at forward. Lovell led 25-24 at halftime, and Star Valley went inside to 6-4 Robert McKim and 6-2 Mel Olsen, who scored 8 and 10 points respectively as the Braves outscored the Bulldogs 23- 16 to lead 47-41 after three. Kidgell took over the game in the fourth quar- ter, hitting four baskets and five free throws in the final quarter as his buddy, Brown, shouted encour- agement from the side- lines. He also led the de- fense, according to the Chronicle, which report- ed: "Kidgell barked out his commands to the Bulldogs as they fell back into one of their tightest defensive games, holding the Braves to only six points in the fi- nal eight minutes." And when big Ralph Cockrell fouled out, Gil- strap and Wayne Johnson went to work against the Star Valley big men and Dale Fowler came in and hit and Cody the next week- two key free throws down end, then crushed Ba- the stretch while also play- sin 64-39 and swept Ther- ing well in Lovell's pressure mop and Greybull the next defense. Lovell outscored two weekends as the teamStar Valley 16-6 to win 57- caught fire and improved53. Kidgell finished with to 8-6. Brown scored 25 and Kidgell 19 in the 69-49 revenge victory over the Buffs in Greybull. As the district tourna- ment neared, Lovell beat Lander 49-28 but fell to Riv- erton 55-54, keeping the Bulldogs in a tie with Grey- bull for second place in the 30 points, Brent Burnham 9, Cockrell and Johnson 7 each. Lovell met Greybull for the fourth time in the championship game and won a nail-biter 52-49, the Buffs having eliminated Evanston in the semifinals. The game was a strug- Big Horn Basin standings gle early for the Bulldogs, at 9-4 behind only 12-1 Riv- who trailed 13-7 after the erton. Lovell moved into first quarter and by 12 in sole possession of second the second before trailing place at 11-4 after beat- 27.18 at halftime. , ing Cody and Powell, then : ' Gerke went berserk (fn beat Worland 70-47 to fin- the locker room)," Kidgell ish the regular season 12-7, 12-4 in the conference tied Although kr/own as a long-range shooter, Lane Brown with Greybull behind 15-1 could also get to the rim with his quickness, as shown Riverton: in this 1963 photo of him driving for a layup against the The Big Horn Basin Cody Broncs in a 73-57 Lovell win. Conference Class A tour- with Riverton and Cody for the conference title at 11-5. The Big Horn Basin Tournament was played in Thermopolis, and af- ter going in as the second seedbased on a tie'-break- ing draw, the Bulldogs beat Greybull and Basin to reach the championship game, then fell to Lander to place the Class A State Tourna- ment in Laramie, then in the quarterfinals faced the Cheyenne Central Indians, who were riding a 34-game winning streak. Oddly, the loser of the game would be eliminated from further state tournament compe- tition, under rules at the time. The second-round con- test was considered to be one of the best games in Wyoming State Tourna- ment history as Lovell went toe to toe with a Cheyenne team that was not only much larger in school en- rollment but also in height on the court. It was a true nament was again in Ther- mopolis, and Lovell swept two games to win the ti- tle, beating host Thermop 67-58 and Greybull 70-63 to win the four-team tour- nament. Kidgell scored 20 in the title game, Brown 13, hitting seven of seven free throws. Kidgell hit eight of nine. The larger schools played in a Class AA Big Horn Basin Conference tourney. Advancing to State, the 14-7 Bulldogs battled their way to the state champion- ship. The Bulldogs dumped favored University Prep 82- 79 in overtime in the first round as Brown fired in a recalled. "He said there's no way I'm accepting a sec- ond-place trophy. You can bring it back yourselves." The team fired up, and it was Cockrell's turn to shine. The big Lovell cen- ter scored five baskets in the third quarter as Lovell outscored Greybull 23-11 to lead 41-38 with eight minutes to play, then matched Greybull in the fourth to win. "Ralph really came through in that one," Kid- gell noted. The Bulldogs pre- vailed. As the Chronicle put it: "Twice during the final frame Greybull drew even with the Bulldogs and threatened to regain the lead. Each time the Gerke men managed to pull away with only slight relief to any weak hearts that were in attendance." second. Kidgell scored 53 points in the three games, Brown 37. Foul trouble hampered the Bulldogs in the title game as Brown, Kidgell and Sam Christian- sen fouled out late in the game in a 65-57 loss. Lovell beat Torrington 70-53 in the first round of Please j t o me e t our newest medical provider DNR FNP-BC Special Interests: Family Medicine, Pediatrics/Peds ADHD & Women's Health i,~ sday, February 28 4-6 PM Clinci Lobby i= @rth '3iq 'from gospita( istrict : NORTH BIG HORN HOSPITAL C 1115 Lane 12, Lovell, WY 307-548-5201