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Leia Bohl says she’s not saying goodbye to Fargo

Darren Gibbins / Forum News Service Leia Bohl stands along Broadway in Fargo Monday. Bohl and her husband, North Dakota State University football coach Craig Bohl, will be saying “see you later” to several area friends when they head west to Wyoming later this month.

FARGO — Leia Bohl is moving to Laramie, Wyo., but Ryan Kelly’s staying in Fargo.

Leia, the 104.7 Mix FM personality known as Ryan Kelly, will join husband Craig Bohl in the mountain state this summer as he leaves behind North Dakota State University’s Bison to coach football at the University of Wyoming. But her work for the Fargo radio station will continue.

“People love her, and she does a great job,” said Peter Tanz, vice president and general manager of Midwest Communications, which recently acquired 104.7 Mix FM. “She’s a very talented person.”

While the Bison coach is busy with his new team, Leia will reinvent her life in the Wyoming city of roughly 31,600 people. She’ll broadcast remotely from home once the couple find a house in Laramie, and she’ll teach dance, in which she became certified in September. She’s also eager for Elijah, her 8-year-old son from a previous marriage, to experience the outdoorsy state.

“When you change ZIP codes, a lot can be different. I’m not trying to re-create the same life I have because it’s not. It won’t be. But if I can figure out how to keep the things that I’m passionate about and that are important to me, that’s pretty awesome,” she said.

Leia has moved only once – from her hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D., to Fargo 19 years ago.

When she first heard about the job offer from the University of Wyoming, she remembers asking her husband if he was kidding.

“We’ve been here so long. We could never move. I love Fargo,” she recalls saying.

Looking back, Leia said she thought a job offer might have come for Craig earlier, but when it didn’t, she assumed Fargo would be their forever home.

“The call came, and it was … ‘There might be a really great opportunity here,’ “ she said. “You talk about all of these people he’s (Craig) impacted and the team and how it’s grown. I don’t know that much about football, but how much more can you do? I think it’s going to be neat to be able to grow.”

Since the decision to move, her optimistic outlook has been dotted with tears, too, but she said her job, friends and family are helping her stay positive.

She’s also comforted knowing that she’ll be back to visit frequently.

“I’ve been here for 19 years. I have so many things to come back for,” Leia said.

She’s looking forward to meeting new people in Laramie, but she’s not sure what the town will be like. So far, she knows it’s situated between two mountain ranges at a high elevation, and there are lots of outdoor activities. The city has a gym and a nail salon.

But “they don’t have a Target. What am I going to do?” she said with a laugh.

“It’s going to be a whole different culture,” Leia said. “Here, it’s, ‘No shirt, no shoes, no service.’ There, it’s, ‘No shirt, no spurs, no service.’ “

The coach’s wife is also learning the Laramie lingo.

“Do you know what a poke is? They always say, ‘Go Pokes,’ “ she said, referring to the University of Wyoming’s team, the Cowboys, also known as cowpokes, or pokes for short.

When Leia thinks of what she’ll miss most about Fargo, it’s the “people, relationships and love.”

The strong connections she’s formed in the community were evident when she stopped for coffee this week at a downtown spot, where she greeted people by name with hugs and smiles.

“I love meeting people, and I love learning. When you meet new people, you learn more about yourself,” she said. “Although it’s scary, I am definitely an extrovert.”

When it’s time for her to leave North Dakota for Wyoming, Leia won’t be saying goodbye. She prefers “see you later.”