Donor Profile: Ernie Peterson
Being in hostile territory generally isn’t a fun thing. Luckily, for Ernie Peterson, a Cyclone fan living in Husker Country, the Iowa State-Nebraska rivalry isn’t quite as bad as the Iowa State-Iowa rivalry where friends are lost and enemies are made for one week every year.
“Being a Cyclone in Husker Country used to be a bit overwhelming because it seems like everyone here is a Husker fan,” said Peterson, “but over the years it has become a lot more bearable.”
Peterson, a 1990 Iowa State alum and Cyclone Club member, lives in Omaha, where he is the regional sales manager for Ash Grove Cement. He said that ISU-Nebraska is not a hated rivalry and is really more about fun.
During the week of the big game, Peterson can expect a little bit of smack talk from his Husker co-workers and the jokes fly back and forth at the office. Neighbors usually give him a little bit of grief when his Cyclone flag is flown but it’s mostly just in jest.
On the golf course, Peterson said his Cy head cover usually elicits a few responses from Husker fans but he always sticks up for Cy.
“I take pride in that head cover if nothing else,” he said.
Peterson said that over the years a sense of respect has grown between ISU and Nebraska fans. He said that is partly due to the fact that ISU has seen some success on the field and on the court recently against Nebraska. But, he said, it’s about more than just the games.
“I’m very proud to be a Cyclone and I want people to see why I’m proud to be a Cyclone,” Peterson said. “It’s not about the wins and losses.”
He said it’s about friends and family and pride and enthusiasm. Peterson likes where Iowa State Athletics are headed and points to the passion and energy behind the programs.
One of Peterson’s favorite memories of ISU in Nebraska happened last summer on the Tailgate Tour. For the first year, ISU crossed the river into Nebraska with a stop in Omaha. That night, tornado warnings went off in Omaha.
“What better way to say we’re in town than to have actual cyclone warnings going off when the Cyclone coaches are in town?”
Peterson is looking forward to the football game on October 18. Until then, he’s getting prepared for the fun of rivalry week at the office.