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Vignettes: Tailgating fans have their fun before the game

[ 0 ] November 25, 2011 |

LINCOLN, Neb. – In July 2010, Pat Hanson’s family moved into a lake house at Okoboji.

Neighbor Margo Sievers noticed one thing immediately — and painfully.

“I saw that ugly red ‘N’ at their house,” said Sievers, of Rembrandt.

The lake-mates and families became fast friends. And the water-bordering war of college football loyalties began.

The Hanson crew attacked the dock early.

“They’ve got a little guy sitting there,” said Hanson, of Moville. “We put a Nebraska helmet and Nebraska jersey on him.”

Sievers and company responded with “Parking, Hawkeye Fans Only” sign on the garage.

The families rattled through story after story of good-natured, football vandalism as they tailgated for the first Iowa-Nebraska game to dent the Big Ten standings.

Then, there’s the Nebraska-themed garden gnome planted in the Sievers garden.

“You can tell we have a little fun with it,” Sievers said.

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IOWA FAN PACKS ‘BIG RED’ ESSENTIAL

Glancing at his Iowa-Nebraska football tickets conjured up one immediate thought for Coralville’s Bill Hoben.

Bring binoculars.

For most of the Iowa fans among the 4,000 in the Hawkeyes’ limited allotment of tickets, the seats provided a healthy workout — walking up and up stairs to the farthest corners of opposite endzones.

“We’re in row 93, so I figured I needed these,” said Hoben, lifting up the binoculars dangling from his neck.

Hoben has attended every Hawkeye home game for “30-some years,” but was making his initial visit to Memorial Stadium.

He said it was a trip he wanted to make, just like Iowa’s last Orange Bowl visit to Miami.

“No, this doesn’t remind me of South Beach,” Hoben said, “but the beer doesn’t remind me of Miami, either. It’s $3 here, but it’s $7 there.”

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OVERHEARD OUTSIDE THE STADIUM

A Nebraska fan, a couple “sodie pops into his day” as ex-Iowa coach Hayden Fry might say, randomly yelled on the main walkway bridge north of the stadium.

“Anyone know where Iowa’s only Heisman Trophy winner is from?”

The answer, at least according to this Nebraska fan, was Omaha — where Nile Kinnick finished high school.

Iowa fans likely recite a different answer: Kinnick grew up in Adel.

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WHEN HUSKER SWEATSHIRTS, HATS AREN’T ENOUGH

For those wondering: The tailgating vehicle that could be the most likely to be seen from space belongs to Huskers fan Brad Hopkins.

The red Hummer features a $3,000 wrap treatment that resembles a paint job immortalizing, mile after mile, Memorial Stadium and the Huskers “Blackshirts” defense.

Negotiations with a Lincoln company that produced the wrap covered three days and a series of emails.

Hopkins added, with a straight face: “I didn’t want it to be gaudy.”

“I told the artist to live outside the box,” he said. “And he did. I’ve gotten more attention than I ever dreamed of.”

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HOME IMPROVEMENT, NEBRASKA STYLE

The house nearest the pedestrian bridge to Memorial Stadium at 10th and Charleston streets already won the location, location, location contest for prime tailgating just north of the stadium.

Taylor Olberding, a senior from Omaha who is among the home’s renters, decided the place needed a calling card, as well.

Olberding purchased two 8×4-foot sections of plywood to construct a Nebraska “”N” to secure to the roof.

“I was going to put LED lights around it, but I ran out of time,” he said. “It’s nice, too, to tell people, ‘Meet me at the house with the giant ‘N’ on the roof.’ ”

What does the landlord think?

“He doesn’t know,” he said. “We just mail the checks in.”

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TWICE IS NICE FOR IOWA FANS

When 2005 Iowa graduates Eric Johnson and Jared Norman ventured from their homes in Colorado for Friday’s game, they were more than happy to pay two times the price for tickets.

The friends stood in a ticket-pickup line nearly four hours before kickoff for student tickets.

The policy allows available tickets to be sold to non-students with a higher charge. Johnson and Normal paid $49 for seats that normally cost classroom-wanderers “$21, I think” a student in line said.

“It’s better than $250, I guess,” said Norman, now of Denver.

Johnson joked that he was a “15-year senior” as his credentials for being in the line.

“At Iowa-Wisconsin, we paid twice as much for tickets,” said Johnson, of Golden, Colo. “So they’re not twice as much — they’re really half price. At least, that’s how we’re thinking about it.”]

 

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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