ISU students brave cold to wait in line for men’s basketball Cy-Hawk game

Alan Hayes, freshman in construction engineering sits inside the tent on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 while waiting for the in-state rivalry game between Iowa State and Iowa on Friday. Hayes and his friends used a generator to operate a heater in the camp.

Maddy Arnold

An Iowa winter night with a low temperature of negative 1 degrees and winds at 13 mph was not enough to discourage some ISU students from sleeping outside Thursday night, Dec. 12.

Sophomore Alec Wright and seven of his friends lined up outside Hilton Coliseum at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning. They braved the cold to be the first students in line when the gates open before the No. 17 ISU men’s basketball team takes on No. 23 Iowa at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

“It’s actually kind of fun believe it or not,” Wright said. “Even though it’s cold, it’s fun. As a bonus we get good seats.”

Wright said he and his friends pitched a tent outside of Hilton and brought along a generator for comfort. They had two space heaters inside their tent that have been running since 8 a.m. Thursday to keep the tent at about 65 degrees.

Despite the space heaters, Wright said two of his friends gave up in the middle of the night and went home due to the cold.

The friends have been taking turns standing in line so some could leave for the ISU women’s basketball team’s game against Iowa on Thursday night or attend classes Thursday and Friday.

Along with the generator, the group took a television, movies, cards and music to entertain them during the long wait. Although they brought along plenty of gear, Wright and his friends received a little help along the way.

Wright said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg sent the group pizzas last night for dinner along with a few other citizens from Ames who dropped off food. Cy the mascot even delivered breakfast Friday morning to Hilton.

“We’ve actually gotten free food from everybody,” Wright said. “Some guy dropped off $30 worth of burgers and some meat and chips, just a random guy. People that went to the girls’ yesterday, some older guys, were just dropping off stuff for us to eat.”

But the group was not the only students waiting in the cold. Junior Jay Watts and his friend, sophomore Jacob Zanders, lined up at noon Friday for the game.

Watts and Zanders said they made multiple attempts at staying warm with layers of clothing and hand warmers but then said simply “we haven’t.”

In the end, Watts said getting good seats at the game and suffering in the cold all afternoon was worth it — even if Iowa State loses to Iowa.

“It’s for the Cyclones,” Watts said. “Growing up here my whole life, I just don’t want to go home and have all the Hawk fans over Christmas have bragging rights.”