When the University of Colorado sports faithful attend home games, they’re sure to spot a pair of superfans who have been rooting for the Buffaloes longer than most of the students in the stands have been alive.
Ninety-three-year-old twin sisters Peggy Coppom and Betty Hoover have been cheering on the Buffs for several decades. They’re perhaps the most recognizable CU fans in all of Colorado; always wearing matching outfits and waving their trademark gold pom-poms.
After all these years, the sisters show no signs of slowing down.
The sisters grew up in in the small Eastern Plains town of Haxtun — current population 917 as of 2016. Peggy described life the Phillips County ag town as “like the movie, ‘Friday night lights.’ The whole town supports the activities of the high school.” That was back in the Depression years of the 30s. “There wasn’t a lot of entertainment, so people went to the high school sporting events, mainly football and basketball and track.”
Their father had to close his meat market in town and moved the family to Longmont in 1939. His business wasn’t successful there, so they moved to nearby Boulder where the sisters “became acquainted with and loyal fans of the University of Colorado,” Betty said.
From those days to today, they are inseparable. They’ve been together since conception and “it’s hard to imagine not having somebody that’s close to me,” Betty said. “There’s a lot of trust that’s just understood.”
“One time somebody asked me if we give each other birthday gifts. I said, ‘We don’t give each other gifts. That’s like giving myself a present,’” Peggy quipped.
Interview Highlights With Peggy Coppom and Betty Hoover
Did you go to school at CU?
Peggy: For a year. It was during World War II and both our husbands were coming back from the war. It just seemed appropriate at that time to go to work and finish school, especially since our family wasn’t on the money side. So neither of us finished with a degree.
What are some of your fondest Buffs sports memories?
Betty: When we (the football team) stomped Nebraska 62-36 at home (in 2001). They were ranked number 1 at the time. And when we beat Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl (to win the national championship, on Jan. 1, 1991).
Peggy: One of the worst moments was when Notre Dame beat us that first year in the Orange Bowl (in 1990). It took us six months to get over that. And at that time I vowed that I was never going to let football affect my life that much again. Oh, it was terrible. I was so disappointed. I just couldn't get over it. But the next year, we came out on top and that was really, really exciting.
Have you always dressed alike?
Peggy: Yes, we call each other on the telephone and talk about what we’re wearing. We’re together almost every day, and we talk about what we want to wear tomorrow. We dressed alike as we were growing up and we would not go out of the house without everything being the same. But when we were married it was very impractical to call and see what you’re wearing today when you’re changing diapers. Then after we became widows we started dressing alike again, and now we’re very uncomfortable if we don’t have the same thing on.
What’s the secret to staying so vibrant and active at your age?
Peggy: We were brought up thinking positive, and not thinking negative thoughts, and to enjoy life. That’s mainly it. And our faith. Our (Catholic) faith gives us a lot of stability, peace, tranquility, so you can enjoy life and not look on the dark side of things.