On September 11, 1971 a school bus carrying the Gunnison High School Jr. Varsity Football team lost its breaks and crashed on the east side of Monarch Pass near the small town of Garfield, Colorado. The accident, the most devastating in the history of the town of Gunnison, claimed the lives of eight players, their coach and severely injured scores of others. The tragedy stunned the small mountain community, the state, and the nation.
On September 7, 1996, nearly 25 years after the accident, the football jerseys of the eight young ballplayers, and a coaching jacket for their coach were formally retired at halftime of the Gunnison High School football game. The numbers of those who died will never be worn by a GHS football player again. Their jerseys and jacket now hang in the Gunnison High School commons as a permanent tribute to those who died far too young. They remain our “Cowboys Forever”.