This football season Cyclone Sidebar would like to showcase our fan experience outside of Jack Trice Stadium. We’ve always known Cyclone Nation did tailgating right, but now we want to really put it on display, from vehicles, to food, to music and games we will showcase the best Cyclone Nation has to offer in our tailgating experience series.
By Alex Bodermann:
Cyclone Nation never disappoints when it comes to a tailgate turnout. That proved to be true on Saturday morning when thousands of Iowa State faithful pulled into the parking lots surrounding Jack Trice Stadium, eager for the anticipated match up against the in-state rival Iowa Hawkeyes. Kickoff wasn’t until 3:45 p.m. that afternoon, but fans dressed head to toe in Cardinal and Gold swarmed into the parking lots far earlier than that.
“We got here about 9:30 a.m.,” said Matt Mackley from Ankeny, Iowa. “Just for this game we came especially early, which gives us a lot of time to get prepared and enjoy ourselves.”
It’s never too early when it comes to Cyclone football in Ames, especially when it involves the Iowa Corn CyHawk series, but one question remains: How do you pass the time until kickoff?
Nathan from Granger says, “You can pass the time easy when you can play bags, play Jenga, and do whatever you want to do.”
Good friends, and even better food, spell a recipe for a good time, but where the real fun begins are tailgating games.
Tailgating games have been around for hundreds of years, but have taken their modern shape from the likes of football fans around the world. For example, cornhole (also known as “bean bag toss” or simply “bags”), dates back to nearly the 14th century, and now has become a nationwide favorite, even having national championships on ESPN. A local Ames resident, Matt Wyfield, says he has participated in cornhole tournaments in the past, but decided to take it easy this year.
“[Last year] during Pufferbilly days (in Boone, Iowa), which is actually going on right now, we decided to enter the tournament,” Wyfield said. “I think we got in the top five, but this year we just wanted to come and hang out [and play bags] for the Iowa-Iowa State game.”
Cornhole is a timeless classic that will forever be adored by tailgaters, but more recently new activities have been spotted around the lots. A new game called “Spike Ball” has made its way from the entrepreneurship reality show, Shark Tank, into tailgate lots around the country.
A combination of volleyball and four-square, this unique game is played with teams of two serving and hitting the ball off the net and into the air for a series of volleys until one team reaches 21 points. Once the ball is served, players can move anywhere they want in an attempt to hit the ball back onto the net. The rally continues until the ball is not returned properly.
Dalton Gustafson from Grimes, Iowa, says, “It’s a fun, competitive game that anybody can play. It’s a good workout as well.”
Its rise in popularity can even be found on campus, as students are trying to register Spike Ball as an intramural sport.
Gustafson adds, “My roommate, Jared, was trying to get it [as an intramural]; he emailed the intramural coordinator, and we’re waiting on a response.”
Both of these games provide enough entertainment to consume hours before kickoff, but some believe you cannot beat a simple game of catch.
Mackley [pictured right] was one of the many Iowa State fans spotted playing catch on Saturday and says, “I think it’s fun to just play catch. It’s relaxing… there’s nothing to it.”
It’s not always certain how Cyclone Nation will choose to spend their time tailgating, but what is for sure is that they will be there bright and early in preparation to cheer on the Cyclones. The electric atmosphere in the tailgate lots can provide a lot of excitement, which is then channeled into Jack Trice Stadium. That will be the case in several weeks when the Cyclones will be back in Ames on October 3rd, as they begin conference play against Kansas.
Check out other stories from our tailgate corner series: