Prep Athlete of the Week: Kayden Pharr


CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) – The first Wyoming News Now Prep Athlete of the Week of the 2022-23 school year comes to us from the Oil City. Natrona County’s Kayden Pharr caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Wyatt Powell during the second quarter of the Mustangs’ 40-0 win over Laramie last Friday.

“[When] he scored that touchdown. I was like ‘Oh, yeah. He’s back,’” said Powell. “It was just a super cool moment for everyone and especially for Kayden.”

A lone touchdown grab doesn’t seem like the most impressive number from a kid as talented as Kayden Pharr, but it was the journey that he’s endured to return to the football field that elevates the significance of Friday’s score.

In the spring, Pharr was hanging out with three of his classmates when an accidental explosion went off inside the shed where the group was gathered.

“It was survival mode at that point,” recalled Pharr on Sunday. “Like it was just get out or you’re not going [to make it].”

The group was able to get out of the shed, but Pharr and two others were severely burned. Pharr suffered extensive second and third-degree burns up and down the left side of his body, which required a nearly month-long stay in the hospital in Denver.

“I think the accident just made me realize [that] tomorrow’s not promised, so you keep fighting for today and then if tomorrow’s not promised, you give it all today,” said Pharr about what motivated him while he was hospitalized.

The recovery was a day-by-day process for the now Natrona County senior.

“His drive amazes me,” said Katina Golumb, Kayden’s mom. “I can’t believe that [most] kids could have just laid in bed and not done anything, and this kid was going to the gym two times a day and after two a days, he was hitting the gym. His drive and perseverance [are] just phenomenal to me.”

The dedication to getting back onto the football field paid off for Pharr. He was 100% cleared during the summers to return and has been gearing up for his senior season with the Mustangs.

“I use the words walking miracle,” said Golumb to describe her son. “He was injured. He fought back. He’s earned his starting position. He’s had a phenomenal game, and that’s what keeps him going.”

Pharr’s impressive work ethic and drive have also left an impression on his teammates and coaches.

“Kayden’s just a solid person, to begin with,” said Natrona County head football coach Steve Harshman about the inspiration Pharr serves for his team. “Any time you have adversity and how you respond kind of prove that, and I think his response and the way he’s handled the whole thing and worked through it really just kind of confirmed everything we knew. He’s a great kid and a great person and had adversity and [that] really made him stronger.”

“It’s just been great to see his journey, and it’s honestly inspiring seeing that no matter what has happened he continues to just improve and get better and grow,” said Breckin McClintock, a fellow senior on the Mustangs, about what it’s been like to see his teammate’s progress.

“He’s one of the hardest working people that I know, and I’ve ever met and he’s a beast,” said Powell. “He’s gonna be a great football player and gonna do some great things.”

While Kayden has worked hard to get back onto the football field, the Casper community has rallied together to support Pharr and his family on its road back through GoFundMe campaigns, fundraiser events and more. That support has not been lost on the young football player.

“I just wanna say thank you to everyone who’s been out there for us. I mean it means a lot. It’s been overwhelming for my family, and I know that. It just means a lot to see the whole community [support]. We’ve had people donate who were other coaches from teams in Wyoming and people from out of town. It means a lot to see how people come out here and support me.”

Congratulations to Kayden Pharr, Wyoming News Now Prep Athlete of the Week, and thank you for inspiring an entire community.

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