GILLETTE, Wyo. — Gillette Mustangs owner Steve Titus announced Aug. 30 that he is selling the team, which plays at CAM-PLEX.
Titus said in a letter posted on Facebook that he had the opportunity to buy an Arena Football League franchise for the Billings Outlaws and he couldn’t pass it up, even though that meant choosing between Gillette and Billings. The AFL prohibits members from owning teams in multiple leagues.
“The chance to own an AFL franchise is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.
Titus said that while he doesn’t have the resources to compete with previous AFL franchise owners, like Jon Bon Jovi and Gene Simmons, he, with Coach Cedric Walker, can field a team that can compete at that level.
Titus said he chose Billings because while he lives, works and spends most of his time in Gillette and will continue to do so, he also works and spends a lot of time in Billings, and Gillette is not an AFL market.
“We were lucky that AFL accepted Billings as a franchise,” Titus said. “It is my understanding that Billings is the smallest AFL market since the league began operations in 1987.”
Titus said he wants to sell the Mustangs team. Anyone interested in buying the team and keeping it in Gillette must contact him by Sept. 15. Otherwise, he will sell the team’s assets and the franchise will be transferred to a potential new Champions Indoor Football League Kansas franchise.
The Mustangs were third in the league in the 2022–23 season, the team’s website said, and Champions Indoor Football League announced in July that the team won three awards. Walker won co-coach of the year, and the team received the “Best Media” award. Wide receiver Karonce Higgins won Co-Offensive Player of the Year.
The Arena Football League announced in February that it plans a formal comeback in 2024. Investment group F1 Sports & Entertainment purchased the rights to the league in January 2022. Commissioner Lee A. Hutton III will lead the league in launching with 16 teams that will play 10 regular-season games before postseason play.
Campbell County Executive Director Aaron Lyles said in an email at 1:34 p.m. today that he reached out to Titus and Walker to congratulate them on the AFL announcement and see how CAM-PLEX can support the Gillette Mustangs.
Lyles said it’s important that CAM-PLEX offers programming that the community values and that advances the Campbell County Public Land Board’s mission.
“Upon arriving at CAM-PLEX last November, improving event offerings has been one of our central priorities,” he said. “Through improving the quality of offered events, delivering an exceptional level of service, and improving the maintenance of our facilities we will increase utilization of the facility which will help drive attendance and help reduce the amount of financial support from our funding entities. We will apply the same formula for success to any number of scenarios that may play out with the future of the Gillette Mustangs.”
He said the facility is prepared to support the future owners should anyone be found, and the team needs a lot of blocked dates to have a full season within the Wyoming Center. Many CAM-PLEX customers have previously requested those dates, if the team doesn’t need them.
“We will keep an eye on the September 15th date and stay in close contact with the Mustangs Organization to pivot in whichever direction is needed,” Lyles said.
County 17 has reached out to the Arena Football League, the Champions Indoor Football league, Titus, Campbell County Public Land Board Chair Chuck Land and City of Gillette spokeswoman Jennifer Toscana for more information.