CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - “It’s a Cyclone State!” Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard opened the first night of the inaugural Cyclone Tailgate Tour with those four words. More than 1,000 Iowa State fans swarmed a parking lot at the Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids to hear from Pollard, head football coach Gene Chizik and head men’s basketball Greg McDermott. Each addressed the crowd in a large tent packed with Cyclone faithful on Wednesday night.
“You are part of the first ever, Cyclone Tailgate,” Pollard said. “This area means a lot to us. You mean a lot to us.”
A department wide contingent of Cyclone head coaches and staff made the two-hour trip to Eastern Iowa. The group included ISU head women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly, ISU head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson, head volleyball coach Christy Johnson, head gymnastics coach Jay Ronayne, head women’s golf coach Christie Martens, head softball coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler, swimming head coach Duane Sorenson and head men’s golf coach Jay Horton.
The Cardinal and Gold entourage made its first stop at St. Luke’s Hospital to meet hospital staff and patients. Then it was on Lindale Mall. The event included free games for children, auctions and the opportunity to purchase Cyclone merchandize.
The evening was graced by a contingent of Iowa State student-athletes, including quarterback Bret Meyer, linebacker Alvin “Ace” Bowen and wide receiver Todd Blythe. All-Big 12 volleyball player Erin Boeve also mingled with the crowd, which gathered in lines to meet and get autographs from the coaches and players.
The Cyclone Tailgate Tour continues Thursday in the Quad Cities. Iowa State’s tour bus will visit Genesis West Medical Center at 10:30 a.m. After lunch the tour will move on to St. Paul the Apostle School at 2:15 p.m. After a 3:30 p.m. stop at Friendly House, the group will head for LeClaire Park for the evening program. The event begins at 5 p.m. with a short program at 6:30 p.m.