The intrepid campout of two brave Iowa State fans
Minutes after Iowa State took down No. 1 Oklahoma at Hilton Coliseum on Monday night, exiting fans noticed something bizarre.
The student section line to get into the next game already had a pair of tents set up and a few fans ready to camp out and brave the elements to get the best seats at next Monday's game against Kansas.
Colton Kneip and Austin Meyer actually got in line at 7:30 on Monday night right after the last few fans had gotten into the arena for the Oklahoma game. The two friends, who are part of a larger group of campers, set up shop and settled into their home for the next week by watching the Iowa State-Oklahoma game on television.
They watched Iowa State win against the No. 1 team in the country, making them even more excited for the next game and reaffirmed their decision to spend a week enduring the Iowa winter for good seats to a basketball game.
"I think we're not crazy, we're just dedicated Cyclone fans," Meyer said on Tuesday afternoon, still with 150 hours of camping left before the next home game's opening tip.
Camping out for the best seats has become increasingly popular at Iowa State as rising excitement surrounds the basketball program. Many fans camped out for tickets to the Kansas game last year, and some spent as many as three nights camping out before the Iowa game this season.
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Sub-zero temperatures scared off most campers ahead of the Oklahoma game, but one creative group of fans brought an ice fishing shack in line to provide cover from the elements while still holding the first spot in line.
The group used three heaters to warm the tent, but the brutal cold prevailed, making for a rough first night. They planned on adding more covers to the tent to help fight the fierce wind and piercing temperatures.
"Cold," Meyer said of the first night. "Very, very cold."
They questioned their ambitious plan of camping out for the entire week and considered packing up and coming back later in the week. The freezing temperatures made a convincing case, but the prospect of having front row seats to one of the biggest games of the year was too strong.
The group takes shifts in the tent, allowing others to attend class, eat food or simply take a break in a warm building somewhere. It hasn't been easy and they're sure they will grow increasingly sick of the cold and sleeping outside, but they're looking forward to other campers arriving.
Meyer and Kneip think more people will start camping out on Wednesday, which will provide some companionship and help pass the time.
"I think it's just going to be a lot of fun," Kneip said. "I think it will be worth it in the end."
Chris Wolff is SI's campus contributor for Iowa State University. Follow him on Twitter.