© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

The Gillette Mustangs are in search of a new owner and may leave Wyoming

Gillette Mustangs
Steven Titus
Gillette Mustangs
The 2023 Gillette Mustangs.

The Gillette Mustangs, a professional football team in the Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league, may be leaving the community and the state after being put up for sale. Owner Steve Titus, a Gillette attorney that also owns the Billings Outlaws, another lower-tier professional team, placed the team up for sale after being notified by the Arena Football League (AFL) that Billings team was going to get into the AFL.

“They came to us and say, ‘Hey, we'd like Billings to come to the AFL, the Arena Football League,’ and I go, ‘Is this a prank call?’ And they go, ‘No, Steve, this isn't, this is for real. And so, we started talking about it,” he said. “On Tuesday [Aug. 28], we finalized everything and had a press conference and announced that Billings would go to the Arena Football League.”

The Billings Outlaws previously played in the CIF as did the Mustangs. But the two leagues compete with one another, making ownership of two teams in two different leagues a conflict of interest. Titus added that Billings is the smallest city the AFL owns a team in, though the league found the city attractive in that it’s successfully hosted low-level professional teams for around 20 years. Gillette, however, has far too small of a population for an AFL team and doesn’t have the history that Billings has with professional football. Since placing the team for sale earlier this week, there’s been interest in relocating it to the Midwest possibly.

“I want to do everything I can to protect my old league, the Champions Indoor Football league, and help them prosper and grow,” Titus said. “And if that means selling the assets to some teams in Kansas, if we can't find any buyers here in Wyoming, we absolutely have to.”

Titus said the only realistic relocation for the team if it were to stay in Wyoming would be to Casper, which has previously hosted several professional and minor league sports teams throughout the years. There’s also some local interest in keeping the team in Gillette, though this is far from certain. The price of the team isn’t firmly set.

“It depends where they're [potential buyers are] from. It depends on their qualifications and everything's very negotiable,” he said. [It] depends if they're leaving the team in Gillette. Obviously, I'm offering a discount if they're keeping the team in Gillette. If they want to move the team, then the price, I mean, it's very case by case basis.”

The Mustangs achieved some success during their three seasons in Gillette.

“We finished third in our league last year [and] went from last in our league to third in our league,” he said. “We finished the regular season 7-3…we won our first home playoff game ever [and] we had our first home playoff game ever. And then we lost by seven against the defending champion.”

This year, the team won nine of their 13 games in the season. This included a win in the playoffs against the SW Kansas Storm at home.

Having to sell the team wasn’t easy for Titus, but he said at the end of the day, it’s a business decision.

”When they offered me that in Billings, it was a very difficult decision,” he said. “But at the end of the day, this is business and business is business. And the Arena Football League does meet my vision for where I want my football teams to go, and unfortunately, I couldn't bring both of them with me.”

The Mustangs previously signed a deal with the Cam-plex, their home venue, early this year that initially extended their stay in Gillette for three seasons.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
Related Content