‘The Dave’ Roast

On Saturday, Feb. 12, we attended the first “The Sage Grouse Appreciation Dinner” at the Ramkota Inn in Casper. The parking lot was jammed. Several hundred people attended, including a U. S. Senator, several candidates of various stripes, two former governors, broadcasters Bob Dallas Price and Pete Williams and a whole houseful of dignitaries.

Three of the attendees actually told me they read The Sage Grouse. I tried hard to exhibit the appropriate degree of humility in the face of all of this excitement.

WHACK!! Oh my head!! Gee Honey, that kind of hurt! I was just joshin’ a little.

Actually, the event we attended was the roast of former Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a hugely successful event. Former Sen. Al Simpson, University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan, former Gov. Mike Sullivan, former Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Terry Cleveland, former Freudenthal advisor Rob Hurless and

Williams piled it on as roasters. I literally was in pain from laughter. For extra measure, Gov. Dave’s wife Nancy added to the punishment. It was great sport. Gov. Dave took the podium and dished it back extemporaneously in great style.

Dave’s spouse Nancy has a pretty impressive resume, including current service as a U. S. District Judge. But, I wonder who was cleaning up after the pets, taking out the garbage, and sleeping in the other room after this roast. Can’t ask, don’t tell. But Mike Sullivan has some photos on his cell phone…

Ooops, The Sage Grouse starts to emulate Jack Anderson.

Moving beyond sport to the serious:

At times, there has been tension among the participants. (Leaving out the relationship between Gov. Dave and his spouse after her spearing him in public at the roast.)

Game and Fish issues might have created some lively discussions between the Gov and Cleveland. Like wolves, for example.

Simpson and the Gov and his mentor Fast Eddie (three-term Democratic Governor Ed “Lantern Jaw” Herschler) probably got into it a few times.

Buchanan finessed a high-tension candidacy for his present office when the University trustees were advertising for a successor to the hugely popular Philip Dubois. They picked three non-resident finalists, only to watch them all drop out when they realized that walking into a hornets’ nest of popular faculty support for Buchanan would have made for a miserable, short-lived tenure. Buchanan emerged as the default candidate, but, fortunately for the university, he truly is Cinderella. Not that one could tell from that gruff expression. Buchanan is a winner. Buchanan was plainly gloating over the fact that his former superior, Gov. Dave, is now teaching at the UW Law School. “Can you spell ‘subordinate’ Dave?” he gleefully taunted The Dave.

Hmmm. I’m thinking “The Dave” is going to be a popular new moniker for “Gov. Dave.” Hey, he’s every bit as humble as Donald Trump, aka “The Donald.” He’s got that casual hairdo. He’s probably fired a few apprentices, but the ones he kept are loyal. His spouse (usually) does not speak ill of him. He has smart kids. The people he has offended mostly don’t matter to him. He has taken to citing Scripture. I give you: “The Dave.”

Sorry, folks, I didn’t really stick to “serious” yet. But I will.

After all of the marvelous, sometimes edgy, repartee, The Dave solemnly concluded with an observation that the room was filled with notable Republicans and Democrats alike. Republican Sen. John Barrasso and wife Bobbi Brown can share a civil repast with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Leslie Petersen and husband Hank Phibbs. State Sen. Charlie Scott can talk about the Legislature with the undersigned, and other Democrats from Gillette can share a table with Republican officials from Casper. The 45 tables were mixed up with Democrats and Republicans. It was fun.

The Dave noted that Wyoming is one of the few places where such civil discourse can still occur. Simpson, Sullivan and Buchanan — sitting next to each other — simultaneously convulsed over the best jokes. Everyone played well with others. As The Dave noted, this civility has been forsaken in many other places.


And, if you can bribe someone to purloin a video of Tom Buchanan’s tour de force taunting of The Dave, it’s worth the price. Any price.

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  1. Love it — THE DAVE. That moniker will stick!

    It was a great evening, and you captured it well. I agree that Tom Buchanan’s roast was supreme. The Thermop Mafia rules!