By Kirk Haaland, CycloneFanatic.com Contributor
This article has been in the works for the past two or three weeks with that headline in mind. It’s too bad that it ended up being so fortuitous with what took place on the field last Saturday, but the hospitality that I’m speaking of took place off the field. We all know about the excellent tailgating scene that Jack Trice and the surrounding area offers with some of our great Cyclone fans but a few Cyclone families are taking the Iowa State reputation to the next level.
In the coming years, don’t be surprised to hear of the following Cyclone families as “Family of the Year” for Iowa State University: Dave and Jolene Larson, Terri and Juli Kleinschrodt, Alex Larson, Grant Porter, Dave and Tracey Foster, Jeff and Julie Moats, James and Carol Wells, Brian and Amy Tettemeyer.
What have these families been doing for the past three seasons that is so hospitable and exceptional? They have been hosting tailgates each season on their own dime for one lucky visiting team.
In 2008, it was Texas A&M, last season it was Army and this year it was the Utah Utes. Imagine making the 1,000 mile trek from Salt Lake City to Ames for a football game and knowing well in advance that all of your pre-game needs and arrangements are taken care of. Talk about leaving a positive impression for years to come.
It all started when Dave “Ollie” Foster attended a Texas versus Iowa State game in Austin and was treated like royalty by the home team. Ever since, this group of Cyclone tailgaters has bonded together to start and continue this tradition.
Seventy plus Ute fans were a part of the festivities and treated to nearly 35-pounds of pulled pork, three tables of side desserts, and all of the beer, pop, and water that could be consumed. All of this done by the aforementioned group of Cyclone fans for the sake of hospitableness, spreading the good word about our great university and the people that are a part of it, and serving a reminder that while the competition on the field can get heated and emotional, before and after the game we can all be civil and respectful to each other. But don’t just take my word for it; here are some comments from those in attendance:
Ute fan Jim Hanzelka writes, “I can tell you we really enjoyed meeting with his (Dave Larson’s) group. They are wonderful people. The fact that they host this event shows the hospitality and generous nature of your fans. We even had some good banter with a couple of them sitting on the grassy area next to the visitors section. This is by far and away the best experience we have ever had at an away ballpark. We are just disappointed we couldn’t return the favor and welcome them at our place; I know the Pitt fans that came out loved our atmosphere and friendliness toward the visitors. Great experience, and thanks to Dave and his group.”
Ute fan Chris Watson writes,“Dave (Larson), along with pretty much every other ISU fan we encountered, was pure class. They were fun to talk to, taught us about the history of Jack Trice, and provided a seemingly endless spread of tailgate food. There were pulled pork sandwiches, pork and beans, cookies, salad, candy mixes, and drinks of every kind.
After we met up with Dave we spent another hour or two walking around the tailgate lot (and you have a ton of tailgaters!). With the exception of one or two students, everyone was very nice to us and concerned with whether or not the fan base was treating us respectfully. I’ve never had a better tailgating experience than I did last Saturday. Even after the game, nobody got in our face, they were all very complementary wishing well for the rest of the season.
I just wish that the return game to Utah hadn’t been canceled, we’d love to have you at Rice Eccles Stadium anytime!”
One of the Cyclone host families, Dave and Tracey Foster writes, “It was a pleasure hosting the Utah fans, just as it was for Army last year and Texas A&M the year before. We have met some very good people that are alumni, fans and friends of each of the respective institutions. I know that we enjoy being involved in spreading the word regarding Cyclone hospitality and hope that some of the good cheer and karma takes hold through others. The tendency in this day and age is to get wrapped up in the winning and losing on the scoreboard. We tend to forget that this is supposed to be fun for all involved home or away. Someone is going to be disappointed in the outcome on the scoreboard that is inevitable. That doesn’t mean they should be disappointed in the experience outside of the result the game.
I think this group embodies that of many of the Cyclone tailgaters, this version is just on steroids. It isn’t uncommon for a wandering visiting opponent to be invited over for a beer and a burger by any ISU tailgate but this group just goes above and beyond, and beyond, and beyond. While many of us are unable to go to such lengths to reflect on Iowa State in such a positive way it does make me wonder, what can you do?
For a complete photo gallery from this event, CLICK HERE.
Aftermath & look ahead
Everything you need to know about last week against Utah and this coming week against Oklahoma can be summarized in two separate scenes from “Necessary Roughness”.
Coach Gennero: What happened, who missed their assignment?
Coach Rig: Everybody missed their G** d*** assignment!
Coach Rig: Now, let’s analyze what’s been working for us.
Coach Rig: NOT A G** D*** THING’S been working for us. This G** d*** suit doesn’t work for me… and this stinking tie… and this G** d***ed shirt. IT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME. YOU KNOW HOW TO PLAY WINNING HARD-NOSED FOOTBALL? YOU PLAY FOOTBALL LIKE ED GENERRO PLAYED FOOTBALL. A guy who gave his life for this football team. He was a 140-pound halfback, and HE PLAYED LIKE A G** D*** WILDMAN! NO! LIKE A G** D*** RAMPAGING BEAST! And that’s the way you got to do it! YOU GO OUT THERE! YOU TEAR THEIR F****** HEADS OFF, AND YOU S*** DOWN THEIR NECKS! Let us pray.