On Jan. 12, when the Denver Broncos were still in the playoffs and a Super Bowl run was still possible, Curt Stoehr stepped it up a notch.
Along with his jersey, dreadlock cap and blue and orange face paint, his game-day uniform for that particular day, he was happy to discover his moustache was long enough for strings of beads — blue and orange, of course.
After all, it was a Big Day.
“It’s just a lot of fun. Like my wife says, I’ve never grown up. I don’t have a choice about growing old, but I’ve never grown up,” said Stoehr.
The 55-year-old from Lake George was the winner of The Gazette’s craziest Broncos fan contest, chosen by Gazette staff from among more than 50 fans who sent in photos showing their Broncos pride.
The game didn’t turn out like Stoehr hoped, but he hasn’t lost faith.
“It was a disappointment but there’s always next year,” he said.
A Broncos fan since moving here in 1999, he goes to all home games, always in a different variation on the orange and blue. It’s a fun way to show his support, and the grandchildren even get in on it.
With a new quarterback in Peyton Manning, Stoehr wasn’t expecting big things from the team this season. Then came the 11-game winning streak, the top seed in the AFC and a first-round bye.
But things all came falling apart in the Jan. 12 game, when the Baltimore Ravens snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on a bitterly cold Denver afternoon.
Stoehr doesn’t put the blame on the defense for giving up the lead with 41 seconds left, the coach for not trying to score before overtime or the quarterback for the overtime interception. After all, he is a crazy Broncos fan.
“I thought it was poor officiating, myself,” he said.
He still had a good time at the game, jumping around to keep warm, and the face paint helped to protect him from the wind. He’s also optimistic about the future, and points to the Broncos bouncing back from four straight Super Bowl losses to win it all in 1998 and 1999.
“I feel positive we’re going to come back and probably start winning some championships,” he said. “I think everybody is standing behind the team.”
As the grand-prize winner, Stoehr gets a free Saturday night stay and Sunday brunch for two at The Broadmoor hotel.