Cowley News: Sonny Broesder is back

Dena Moss


Sonny Broesder was born in Moscow, Idaho, and raised in Big Sandy, Montana, where he attended high school, graduating in 1963. He worked for Hill County Electric for five years after graduating. After a cold winter snowstorm, out on a call as a lineman, he realized he did not want to do this for the rest of his life and decided to go to college.

He attended Northern Montana College in Havre and received a bachelor’s degree in education, a minor in English and a major in PE. He started his teaching and coaching career in Culbertson, Montana, then went on to Chester and Big Timber as head boys basketball coach, most years going to State.

In Big Timber he was married with two kids, which ended in divorce. The son went with his dad, the daughter went with her mother.

He was living and teaching in Worland when he was told to get married by his bishop because his son needed a mother. He didn’t have anyone in mind, so he was set up with a lady from Provo, Utah. He met Wanda over the phone and continued talking to and seeing her for the next seven weeks, ending in a marriage that lasted 40 years.

He accepted a teaching job in Star Valley, where he coached a freshman girls basketball team that included Wyoming hall of fame player Cynthia Klinger. He watched his son Jason play high school basketball. The following year he was back coaching the boys, watching his son, along with teammates, take two state titles.

Sonny then decided to become a school counselor, attending Eastern Montana College in Billings, where he received his master’s in education and later added an administrator endorsement. He was doing an internship in Fresno, California, when he received a phone call from Ralph Winland, asking him to apply in Lovell. When he was home in Billings, he set up two interviews, one in Lovell and one in Byron. He was offered both jobs but accepted the one in Lovell because it was offered first.

Ralph then called and asked Sonny to be head boys basketball coach, since Ron Osborne had just resigned. One memory Sonny recalls was when they played Wyoming Indian in Ethete, tying the game late and winning it on a basket by Jared Nicholls. It was a very tight game with lots of emotion. They got on the bus and left quickly.

“They had a good bunch of boys, including David Walker, BJ Kidgell, Scotty Franckowiak and Jared,” Sonny said. (He remembers every player, and I’m sure I’m missing a few.) They took second at State that year. He has good memories of living in Lovell and the Big Horn Basin.

He coached one more season in Lovell -- 1995-96.

He went on to become assistant principal and athletic director in Fort Morgan, Colorado, his wife Wanda being head of the English department. Then he went to Harlem, Montana, as the superintendent. They needed an elementary principal, so he got a hold of his old friend Joe Davis, who was working in Alaska, and asked him to come and apply. Joe was hired, and his wife, Pat, was hired as a math teacher.

Sonny finished out his career as superintendent of the district he graduated from, Big Sandy, Montana.

Sonny and Wanda moved to Oregon to be by their son Jason. Sonny had been having some back problems and was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. Moving back to Billings, they were told to go to the Mayo Clinic, which was delayed because of COVID. When he finally made it, they found an arachnoid web on his spinal cord, requiring surgery and leaving him in a wheelchair. 

Wanda had been traveling to Kentucky often to help her sister in poor health. They decided to move there to be closer in July of 2023.

Sonny called his old friend Joe Davis. He told him to get a U-haul so he could move back to Wyoming. Twenty minutes later Joe called Sonny to tell him that he had a place for him to live. So, he moved to Cowley, renting a place from Wayne and Joan Ostler. He likes being here, the town and his church. 

However, his children worry about him. His son is an attorney in Medford, Oregon, specializing in elder law, and his daughter lives in Wolf Point, Montana. Presently, his granddaughter, Zirahuen Hernandez, and her little boy, Zcary, live with him, as she is attending Chopped Beauty Academy to become a nail technician.

He did recently attend a girls basketball practice at Rocky Mountain High School. He mentioned that he was very impressed with those girls’ potential. He enjoyed being in that atmosphere once again.

As he looks back over the places he lived and coached, Lovell was one of his favorites. He coached 23 years overall, going to State 19 of those years. That sounds like success to me, along with being able to work with kids. What a life! Glad to have you back.