Mike Priest Award Historical Recipients

Year Player Team Shrine Bowl
2013 Will O'Dell - Big Horn North 4oth
2013 John Lesard - Southeast HS South 4oth
2014 Jeremiah Nicholson - Buffalo North 41st
2014 Matthew VandeBossche - Niobrara County South 41st
2015 Kerry Powers - Big Horn High School North 42nd
2015 Danny Bradfield - Laramie High School South 42nd
2016 Mauricio Caballero - Worland High School North 43rd
2016 Kyle Jeffres - Pine Bluffs High School South 43rd
2017 Lane Tucker - Campbell County HS North 44th
2017 Jesse Barker - Evanston HS South 44th

Mike Priest Award

Mike Priest was a young man who graduated from Natrona County High School in 1995. He was a multi‐sport athlete at that excelled in both football and track & field. In football, he was an all‐state player who lead the Mustangs in defensive points. He made the CST Super 25 after his senior season, where he was also named the Super 25 Defensive Player of The Year. He also played in the Shrine Bowl that summer where he had several sacks and enjoyed a great game.

In track & field and made the NCHS Track and Field Hall of Fame. He was a terrific pole vaulter and ran the 400. Not too bad for someone that played defensive line during football.

Those who coached Mike, played alongside him and spent time with him, more important than his accomplishments on the field and on the track were his personal attributes. Many remember Mike as a ‘motor’ that never gave less than 110%. He had a positive ‘never give up’ attitude that energized his teammates and is remembered as an all‐around great guy who brought out the best in people.

After graduating from NC, he went to the University of Mary in Bismark, North Dakota and played football. He and the team had a very successful campaign that season … They lost a tough semi‐final game that would have propelled them into the National Championship Game had they won. Mike’s dad Bill recalls that the week before in the quarter final win, Mike had played the best game of his career; finishing with ‘4’ QB sacks and recovering a fumble for a safety. He went on to say that even though Mike had a great time and experience at Mary, he’ always wanted to be a Wyoming Cowboy. So, following this life‐long dream he transferred to the University of Wyoming after his freshman year.

He sat out the first fall in Laramie due to transfer rules but started playing with the Pokes in 1997; his first Laramie. He unfortunately became ill during a Saturday practice and was rushed to a hospital in Fort Collins. There he was diagnosed with a broken blood vessel in his brain. Tragically, the next day Mike succumbed to this injury and passed away April 20th, 1997. He was 2o years old.

He leaves behind a legacy that won’t be forgotten. It is etched in stone, forged with words like commitment, hard work, dedication, devotion, effort, loyalty and desire. He was truly a great teammate. He continues to be missed by many, including his father Bill who lives in Jackson; his brother Mark who is a Wyoming State Highway Patrolman here in Casper; his sister Sandy who lives in North Dakota; along with his friends, teammates and many others that he had contact with.

A scholarship in his name has been awarded to about four dozen student‐athletes over the years who have displayed many of these same fine traits. His legacy continues as this scholarship helps others that were very much like Mike.

Wyoming Shrine Bowl recognizes two players from each All‐Star Football Game in Mike’s. The honor recognizes similar traits in character and integrity, both on and off the field. These athletes are voted on by their coaching staff and announced at the Formal Banquet on the evening preceding the annual game; one player from the North one from the South.

In being recognized with this award; the leadership, sportsmanship, athleticism of these recipients will forever be linked to the legacy of our friend, Mike Priest.

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