Support for both the Hawkeyes and Cyclones is strong in North Iowa, but the fandom in Clear Lake on Wednesday evening leaned heavily in Iowa State's favor.
That's because the Cyclones stopped at the Surf Ballroom as part of their 13th annual tailgate tour, which began at 5:30 p.m. The Cyclones stopped at Fort Dodge at noon Wednesday before making their way to the Surf Ballroom.
Hundreds of fans filtered in and out of the venue's doors throughout the evening, helping themselves to food while interacting with some of their favorite Cyclone coaches and players.
Football coach Matt Campbell, basketball coaches Steve Prohm and Bill Fennelly, volleyball coach Christy Johnson-Lynch and wrestling coach Kevin Dresser, along with ISU Athletics Director Jamie Pollard, were in attendance.
Arnold Azunna, Derek Schweiger and Gage Gunnerson, all football players, signed autographs in front of a stage, where interviews with coaches took place. Cheerleaders stood at one of the entrances. There was a small stand with helmets for kids to wear before posing for a picture.
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The atmosphere was laid-back and light, informal enough for fans to casually approach their favorite ISU figures and say hello.
Mason City's Kevin Petty was among the fans who interacted with Matt Campbell. After Campbell's discussion with media members concluded, Petty approached the coach, shook his hand and asked for an autograph on a mini football helmet. Campbell willingly obliged, adding his name next to Joel Lanning's and Allen Lazard's.
"This has been just a totally amazing experience," Petty, a 1998 graduate of ISU, said. "Just to revitalize the program ... this is such a great vehicle for it. The Tailgate Tour has just been amazing."
Campbell, a self-proclaimed music buff, expressed his appreciation for the Surf Ballroom, as well as the opportunity for a more intimate interaction with the Cyclones' fanbase.
"I think for me, one of our biggest building blocks - our foundation to our success - has been our fanbase," Campbell said. "I think that was our greatest selling point, since Day 1. It's continued to be a great selling point for us; to be able to give back and go to these different cities, interact with these fans, listen to their experiences and just be able to shake hands and say, 'Thank you.' ... That's been huge for me."