When Kathleen and Jason Pitre show up to the Rocky Mountain Showdown between Colorado State University and the University of Colorado on Friday, they’ll go their separate ways.
And after the final whistle blows, one will end up wearing a different jersey.
Kathleen will be decked out in Rams gear in honor of her alma mater, while Jason will be sporting CU black and gold. While they might ride the bus to Denver together from their Broomfield home, once they get to Mile High Stadium, they’ll head for seats on opposite sides of the field.
“We just say goodbye, good luck, and we’ll see what happens,” Jason says.
“I think that’s good, because when your team is winning, you want to cheer and enjoy it, and if they’re losing, you don’t want to be around people who are cheering,” Kathleen says.
No big-money bet is riding on the game for the Pitres. This is how cutthroat it gets: When they reunite after the game, the loser has to immediately put on the jersey of the winning team.
“Jason is a very gracious person, in winning or losing,” Kathleen says. “He could have ribbed me quite a bit after last year’s game.”
They’ve even extended the friendly rivalry to their two sons, Nolan, 14, and Brady, 5. Jason has always given CU garb to Nolan, while Kathleen has made sure Brady’s wardrobe has a lot of green and gold.
Season tickets to both schools
The couple has season football tickets for both universities, and when the Rams and Buffs aren’t playing each other, Kathleen and Jason are good sports. He’ll root for CSU when attending games in Fort Collins, and over the years, Kathleen has learned to support CU. But it’s taken some time. After all, she is a Fort Collins native, both her parents are CSU alums, and her grandparents were longtime Fort Collins residents who had season tickets to many CSU sports. Her grandmother worked in CSU’s Department of Occupational Therapy.
“I basically grew up at CSU, going to the football games,” says Kathleen, who earned her undergraduate degree in speech communication in 2000 and a master’s in technical communication in 2004. “I don’t think I ever thought of going anywhere else. It was just like going from junior high to high school.”
Jason has opened her eyes to the idea that CU does, in fact, have some redeeming qualities.
“My feelings toward CU have softened greatly since I met my husband,” Kathleen says. “I was an avid CU hater before I met him, but he’s brought me around.”
First met in Boulder
The two first met at Ball Aerospace in Boulder. Kathleen worked there with Jason’s mother, and just as the two were introduced, Kathleen got a phone call.
“Her cell rang, and the ringtone was the CSU fight song,” Jason recalls. “I just turned to my mom and asked, ‘Who is that?’”
Growing up in Broomfield, Jason always followed the Buffs and recalls some lean football seasons before he started at the university’s Leeds School of Business in 1990, the year CU won a national championship. He got his business degree in 1994.
Kathleen is now vice president for communications and corporate relations for Ball Corp. in Broomfield. Jason works in software sales for Genesys Telecommunications.
Their CU/CSU rivalry doesn’t seem to have rubbed off on their two sons much, despite the boys’ attire.
“They both cheer for both schools,” Kathleen says with a laugh. “They know how passionate each of us is about it.”