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Hawkeyes on parade: Iowa fans tackle Tempe

[ 0 ] December 28, 2010 |

Ben Osterhaus, 15, with flag, of North Liberty, leads a group of University of Iowa fans crossing the street outside of Sun Devil Stadium before the Insight Bowl on Tuesday in Tempe, Ariz. (Christopher Gannon/The Des Moines Register)

Tempe, Ariz. — Some fans followed the Iowa football team from the Midwest to the desert.

Others were welcoming the Hawkeyes to their winter home.

All of them were trying to make sure Tuesday night’s Insight Bowl between Iowa and Missouri was covered in the right shade of black and gold.

Jeffrey Parsons, a Burlington native now living in Chicago, arrived at a Hawkeye pep rally Monday night wearing his favorite hat. It fans out so onlookers can see the autographs of former Iowa players.

His most prized signature came from ex-Hawkeye quarterback Drew Tate, hours after he threw a last-second touchdown pass to Warren Holloway in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.

“We were at our hotel, and rumor was Drew Tate was at the bar,” Parsons recalled. “I found him and I said, ‘I know you’re a busy man, but would you mind signing my hat.’

“He was like, ‘Not at all. I’d be happy to.’ ”

Parsons had just purchased the hat for $5 at a shop in Orlando, Fla. He began decorating it with bowl pins collected by his late father, Red Parsons.

Several years and autographs later, another Iowa fan offered $1,500 for the hat. Parsons turned him down.

“It’s probably because of the emotional value of the pins,” Parsons said. “I probably got a majority of them from my dad.”

Becky Calacci of Iowa City and her 11-year-old daughter, Anna, chose to attend the bowl game instead of joining her husband and other family members at a Chicago Bears game.

“We’re the true Hawk fans,” Becky said. “That’s why we’re here.”

The game was was a reunion of sorts for Cedar Rapids buddies Mark Hamilton and Anthony Vasquez.

They were childhood friends, but Vasquez now lives in the Phoenix area.

Before the season, they were hoping to visit at a more prestigious bowl, maybe even the national championship game.

“It’s good,” Hamilton said of the Insight Bowl atmosphere, “but at the same time, it’s not what we hoped for.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 15 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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