Cyclone Fan Fest Enjoys Hilton Magic
AMES, Iowa - They never cease to amaze. Thousands of Iowa State fans crowded Hilton Coliseum Sunday for Cyclone Fan Fest, the annual celebration of the Cyclone Nation from young to old. Past Fan Fests were held in the Bergstrom Indoor Training Facility. That option was out for this year because of construction of the adjacent Iowa State football complex.
If anyone thought that a building the size of Hilton would swallow up the Cyclone families who came to mingle with Iowa State student-athletes and coaches, they should not have worried. Between the inflatable games outside Hilton, to the football players signing autographs on the concourse to the student-athletes manning various stations on the Hilton floor, the layout was jammed with Cyclone fans.
"This is truly incredible," said Iowa State volleyball coach Christy Johnson-Lynch. "A lot of little girls are here, which is great for the future."
Johnson-Lynch had one complaint.
"The line to see (Iowa State men's basketball coach) Fred Hoiberg keeps cutting into our line - but that's okay, she mused."
Indeed, the line to meet "The Mayor" is always a long one. But Johnson-Lynch's program, which has been to six straight NCAA Tournaments with Elite Eight appearances in 2008 and 2011, has built its own fanatic fan base.
"We have a lot of avid fans," Johnson-Lynch said as her squad, fresh off a scrimmage on Saturday, autographed the 2012 volleyball poster to a line that never seemed to end.
Iowa State wrestler Kyven Gadson was working his third Fan Fest and well remembers his first experience.
"I was here just out of high school," Gadson said. "I didn't know what to expect. I was shocked, almost overwhelmed at the crowd."
Now he is an old hand.
"We have great fans and they really come out for this," Gadson said. "It is great to see everybody."
Iowa State Associate Athletics Director for Marketing Mary Pink lauded the Cyclone faithful.
"The turnout was just amazing," Pink said. "The coaches were commenting on the size of the crowd and how it even exceeded last year, which packed the Bergstrom. It was a great event and the transition to Hilton Coliseum went smoothly. We have great fans."
Fans could also tour the Cyclone basketball locker rooms and even have their children photographed on the front table of the Pete Taylor Media Room, from which Iowa State basketball coaches Bill Fennelly and Fred Hoiberg speak to the press after their games.
At one point, it was hard to exit the Hilton floor because so many people were still filing in an hour into the program. Ultimately, it was a day for the young ones. Someday, they will be the foundation of the Cyclone Nation.