Iowa football fans are as unique as they are united.
They come in all different shapes and sizes. The come in different ages. And they come from different parts of the state and beyond to cheer for what proudly has been proclaimed the only show in town for more than a century.
Today’s season opener against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium will provide the latest example of Hawkeye hysteria. The game is nearly sold out even with the temperature expected to be in the 90s.
Iowa football fans cherish the peaks and cope with the valleys. They travel in large groups to bowl games and turn whatever sun-baked city that’s hosting the bowl game into their home away from home. They idolize the players and learn early in life that black and gold are the colors that matter the most in a state that doesn’t have any professional teams.
The Press-Citizen took a closer look at some of the devoted fans of Hawkeye nation.
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Claire McDowell, 2: Claire is pumped up for her first football game today. Her parents, Erin and Steve McDowell of North Liberty, aren’t too worried about the heat. “Come hell or high water, she’s going to her first game on Saturday,” Erin said.
Jim Swaner, 90; Jan Wilcox, 91: “I’ve done about everything except go out for teams,” said Swaner, who went to her first Iowa football game in 1937 and has been attending football, basketball and wrestling meets since enrolling at Iowa in 1939. “I still remember sitting on the fence in the south end zone watching (Nile) Kinnick,” Swaner said.
Whittney Seckar-Anderson, 20; Quentin Marquez, 21: Iowa Golden Girl Whittney Seckar-Anderson and Drum Major Quentin Marquez are in their second seasons of leading the Hawkeye Marching Band. “I’ve been a Hawkeye fan since I was a kid. I loved ’em,” said Marquez, who is from Glenwood. I didn’t go to a game for the first time until I was a freshman in the marching band but I think that makes it all the better.” “Just being part of the band has given me the biggest sense of school spirit I could ever have,” said Seckar-Anderson, who is from Osh Kosh, Wis. “When we’re playing the fight songs and doing the traditions, you learn so much about Iowa and how everybody loves being a Hawkeye. Being in the band has really helped me to embrace this.”
Ray Gilmore, 43: Ray Gilmore bought an orange coat on eBay and put the Orange Bowl logo on himself. The coat often tricks Iowa fans attending games. “You’d be surprised how many people mistake me for an Orange Bowl rep.”
Chuck Ford, 71: Chuck Ford began selling turkey legs in 1990 after attending a Renaissance Fair in Kenosha, Wis. He sold his Big Ass Turkey Legs outside Kinnick Stadium for 17 seasons before calling it quits in 2011. “My wife said I was nuts doing this and the rest is history.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football