Donor Profile: Brad Peterson
AMES, Iowa - Brad Peterson graduated from Iowa State University in 1991 with a bachelor of science in horticulture with an emphasis on turf management. He is now a part owner of Inverness, a landscape company located in Denver, Colorado. Peterson grew up in the small town of Lake Mills, Iowa, while his wife Dawn grew up in Big Ten country in Michigan. With the help from Brad, she has welcomed the new Cyclone atmosphere greatly in the friendly confines of Ames, Iowa. This couple has two boys – TJ, age 5, and Ben, age 3, with another one on the way.
Why did you join the Cyclone Club?
“It started about three years ago, when one of my friends decided to buy me an old bus. We used to come back for a couple games each year, and I would hang out at my former boss’ tailgate. I was inspired by the bus he owned, and the fact that everyone could hang out and make new acquaintances. I decided that once I had enough money my goal was to buy my own bus. I figured it would be a good avenue for me and my buddies to get together again, since it is hard to keep those relationships after college. At that point I realized season tickets were a must-have since I would come back for every home game.
“One of my friends who lives in Ankeny went out and decided to buy me an old bus. We tore all the seats out, and put in a bunch of couches and a television. We had it professionally painted in Ames, and now it has decals. Before the first game every football season I clean it out and get it ready for the games. For a time it was a work in progress, but after a while we worked things out. I really wanted to see more of both a family and a friendly atmosphere.
“A typical weekend is leaving work at noon on a Friday and getting to Iowa by the evening. We always get up early and get to the stadium as early as we can on Saturday morning. The drive from Colorado to Ames is 11 hours each way. Some of those times when we have three straight home games it is really tough. Sometimes I fly, but it depends. I enjoy the driving and tailgating part of it so much.
“In three years I have only missed two games; and both of those times I attended friends’ weddings. It’s never a lonely drive; I usually take someone along for the ride. So far everyone I have taken to the tailgate has come back with excitement and enjoyed it completely. There was even a guy that I brought along for a game one time, and now he is getting tickets for him and his family.”
When did you attend your first Cyclone event?
“I was never a big Cyclone fan until I went to school there. The year 1989 would have been my first game – a football game against Ohio. When I was in school I worked at a golf course. On game days I would go into work, but we didn’t do any work other than get ready for the game. His bus and his tailgating is what inspired me to do what I do today for football games.”
What was your most memorable game that you attended?
“Most definitely my favorite game would have been the Insight.com Bowl in 2000. That was the year we beat Pittsburgh in Phoenix, Ariz.
“I have attended every bowl game since the Insight.com Bowl. The impact of that game was huge for Iowa State. It was such a big turnaround for a school that was never known for going to bowl games. I was happy to see us come from a team that had struggled a lot of years, to winning a bowl game. I’ve always said, even to my wife’s chagrin, I would never miss a bowl game. So going to Boise, Idaho was a sight to see. It was very cold in Idaho, but the people were so nice. It was a different experience, but a fun one.
“We road tripped all the way down to Phoenix, where one of my college buddies had family down there. It was so crazy; the atmosphere was unlike any other. It wasn’t great just because we won, but it was a really close game. I remember we were in a brand new stadium, and it was like nothing else. Iowa State put on a great pregame party for all the fans, and everybody was really excited. I actually brought down two Hawkeye friends for the festivities.
Name your favorite Cyclone road trip?
“Any of the times we beat the Hawks in Iowa City I can be happy for an entire year. I usually go to all of the games against Iowa, and they are the best road games. Iowa fans don’t like it at all when we beat them, so it’s fun to walk out of their stadium when that happens. Probably the most memorable game was when we beat them for the first time in 15 years (1998). Those days are so far removed now; both teams are on the same page.
“Another great road game was in Kansas City for the Eddie Robinson Classic (2002). That was Seneca’s game, and he played so well against Florida State. That was really a game that we weren’t supposed to have any chance in. And aside from everyone’s views on the call at the end, it was just great to even be in contention against that formidable of an opponent.”
Name some of your favorite coaches and players?
“Johnny Orr just seemed like the kind of guy that anyone could talk to. I met him down in Shreveport, La. and it was like he and I knew each other for years.
“Fred Hoiberg was playing when I was just leaving school. He seemed like such a class act; hard working, hard nose, and an all-around good person.
“Seneca Wallace was electrifying and made things exciting to watch, regardless of the score. One of the most exciting players Iowa State has had, and can really draw you into football games.
“Troy Davis has to be up there on my list as well. I just cherish Iowa State so much, and any player that brings that kind of positive notoriety to this school should be commended for what they did.
“My plan is to not miss any of the home football games from here on out. The games that I had missed were only because I was asked to be in weddings. I really don’t think things are going to change for years to come. Regardless of where we live, we will always be Cyclone fans. The kids are starting to like the bus trip and they are getting to the point where they are appreciating everything going on.
“My best friend from Council Bluffs was at a photo shop one time and saw a print on the wall. It was a play when there was a touchdown against Nebraska. The thing is you can see us plain as day in the crowd. The camera shot shows that friend of mine, another one, and myself as well, in great quality. So just as I thought he would, he bought all three of us that photo.”