Who wants to be in class when the Denver Broncos are in town?
Definitely not any of the youths at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig on Monday.
"I got out of class early," 9-year-old Deven Mosman said. "This is way better than being in school. I came to see the cheerleaders."
Mosman wasn't alone.
Broncos Mania hit town Monday, with more than 500 Craig residents taking time out of work and skipping class to get a chance at an autograph, picture or simply to catch a glimpse of their favorite team.
Miles the mascot was there. So were the glimmering Super Bowl trophies earned by Colorado's National Football League franchise in 1997 and 1998.
Many thought the trophies and mascot were cool, but most wanted the same as Mosman.
"We're here to take pictures with the cheerleaders," 7-yearold Dylan Huntley said. "The Broncos are the best team in football. Seeing the trophies is way better than being in school. But, I want to see the cheerleaders the most."
Craig earned the right to host the celebration last month, when event organizer Tony Maneotis submitted video footage to the Broncos showing the town's support for the team.
Craig was one of eight cities chosen to host the festivities.
Huntley's brother, Jonathon, was happy to see the Broncos win Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints, but he didn't dwell on the topic very long, nor did he care what went on behind the scenes to make Monday's event happen.
"We are already winning," Jonathon said, "so where are the cheerleaders?"
Hunter Reeves stood in front of the table where cheerleaders Lauren Gardner and Janelle Mangurm signed a team picture for him.
He was shy when they asked him questions, but a big smile erupted from his cheeks when his mother, Kim, told him what the two members of the Broncos spirit squad wrote.
"They signed it 'to the future Broncos football player'" she said as Hunter's eyes lit up. "He swears he's going to play for the Broncos one day, so I took off of work and got him out of school so we could come down here."
Although many who waited in line to speak to Gardner and Mangurm were boys, 10-year-old Summer Henderson was waiting patiently, too.
"I'm going to be a cheerleader one day," Henderson said. "I don't know if it will be for the Broncos though."
Odd coming from a girl wearing a Broncos jersey, but Henderson has a secret.
"I'm a Chargers fan," she said grinning.
Henderson may have been the only one in attendance.
The Boys & Girls Club gymnasium was full of orange and blue from the ceiling to the floor.
John Elway, Terrell Davis and Champ Bailey jerseys were everywhere.
Flashes popped in front of the dueling Vince Lombardi trophies.
The line of fans ran out the door and into the parking lot where cars blocked the entrance.
But, nobody seemed to mind the congestion.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," Mosman said. "If this was every day, I'd never go to school."
Unless the cheerleaders were there.
John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org