Hawk fans' Beach Day approach: 'drinking, eating, fun, football'

2013-12-30T17:56:00Z 2013-12-30T18:32:37Z Hawk fans' Beach Day approach: 'drinking, eating, fun, football' The Quad-City Times

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Finally, Iowa and Louisiana State enjoyed their moment in the sun Monday at the Outback Bowl’s annual Clearwater Beach Day.

Early-day clouds and a chilly breeze kept people bundled up in the morning but the skies cleared and sun warmed the white sands along the Gulf of Mexico around midday, giving football fans, bands, cheerleaders and eventually teams the chance to enjoy a little fun in the sand.

An estimated crowd of 6,000 filled the beach and mirroring ticket sales to Wednesday’s noon game at Raymond James Stadium in nearby Tampa, Hawkeye fans had supporters of the Bayou Bengals easily outnumbered.

One group of Iowa fans said they were taking a DEFF approach to the entire getaway from frigid Midwestern temperatures, explaining that DEFF stood for “drinking, eating, fun and football.’’

Live music, skydivers, a tug-of-war between cheerleaders from both schools, a pie-eating contest and performances by both the Hawkeye Marching Band the LSU Marching Tigers entertained fans who weren’t busy tossing football and flying discs around on the beach or testing the feel of the gulf waters.

“It’s a great getaway,’’ Iowa fan Steve Regan of Durant, Iowa, said. “There’s six of us here and we’re enjoying the weather, having some fun and not missing the minus-two temperatures back home at all.’’

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz addressed fans briefly as Hawkeye players enjoyed a lunch before taking a quick walk around the beach.

He thanked fans for following the team to its 11th bowl game in the last 13 years, adding, “Our guys have been working hard to make you proud.’’

Muscatine native Doug Smaus, the president of the 3,000-member Tampa Bay Iowa Club, greeted fans and encouraged Tampa-area residents to participate in the club’s 48 annual events which has helped the group endow a scholarship awarded each year to a Tampa-area youth to attend Iowa.

“I’ve been down here for 28 years now, working initially for HON in its Florida operations, and we’d like to see the Hawkeyes here every year,’’ Smaus said. “A lot of us are a ways from home, but we’re still Hawkeyes.’’

Arnie Kempf, who traveled to Florida with Regan’s group, enjoys season tickets in Section 213 at Kinnick Stadium but welcomes a quick getaway when the Hawkeyes have a successful season.

“It’s four days of fun and being around a lot of good people,’’ Kempf said. “We’re here today, we’re going to Ybor City (a historic district of former cigar manufacturing plants now filled with nightspots and shops in Tampa) and seeing the sites. It’s just like the folks I sit around in the south end zone at Kinnick, we’re here to have fun.’’

So were several Quad-City area snowbirds who winter in Florida but had only a short drive to find some Hawkeye spirit close to their winter homes.

Joyce Keegan and Alan McDermott, both of Bettendorf, Arden Zentic and Gloria Zentic of Milan and Bob and Mary Lou Ries of Rock Island were among those soaking up the atmosphere Monday.

“It’s great to have the Hawkeyes come to us,’’ said Keegan, an Iowa season ticket holder. “I wish it was a little warmer for people – it’s been a warm start to the winter here – but not so much today.’’

The six all work together on volunteer committees for the Quad-City Times Bix 7 and Mary Lou Ries admitted she felt a little out of place.

“I’m actually an Illinois fan but I figured if I ever wanted to see a bowl game in warm weather, I was going to have to come to this one and watch Iowa play,’’ she said. “They’re trying to convert me and with these guys, I know I’ll have fun.’’

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Football schedule

2015 Hawkeyes (0-0)

Date Opponent Time/result
9/5/2015 Illinois State TBA
9/12/2015 at Iowa State TBA
9/19/2015 Pittsburgh 7 p.m.
9/26/2015 North Texas TBA
10/3/2015 at Wisconsin TBA
10/10/2015 Illinois TBA
10/17/2015 at Northwestern TBA
10/31/2015 Maryland TBA
11/7/2015 at Indiana TBA
11/14/2015 Minnesota 7 p.m.
11/21/2015 Purdue TBA
11/27/2015 at Nebraska TBA

Past schedules

2014 Hawkeyes (7-6)

Date Opponent Time/result
8/30/2014 Northern Iowa W 31-23
9/6/2014 Ball State W 17-13
9/13/2014 Iowa State L 20-17
9/20/2014 at Pittsburgh W 24-20
9/27/2014 at Purdue W 24-10
10/11/2014 Indiana W 45-29
10/18/2014 at Maryland L 38-31
11/1/2014 Northwestern W 48-7
11/8/2014 at Minnesota L 51-14
11/15/2014 at Illinois W 30-14
11/22/2014 Wisconsin  L 26-24
11/28/2014 Nebraska L 37-34
1/2/2015 Tennessee L 45-28


Trophy case: Empty

Hawkeyes bowl history

1957 Rose   Oregon State W 35-19
1959 Rose   California W 38-12
1982 Rose   Washington L 28-0
1982 Peach   Tennessee W 28-22
1983 Gator   Florida L 14-6
1984 Freedom   Texas W 55-17
1986 Rose   UCLA L 45-28
1986 Holiday   SDSU W 39-38
1987 Holiday   Wyoming W 20-19
1988 Peach   NC State L 28-23
1991 Rose   Washington L 46-34
1991 Holiday   BYU T 13-13
1993 Alamo   California L 37-3
1995 Sun   Washington W 38-18
1996 Alamo   Texas Tech W 27-0
1997 Sun   Arizona State L 17-7
2001 Alamo   Texas Tech W 19-16
2003 Orange   USC L 38-17
2004 Outback   Florida W 37-17
2005 Capital One LSU W 30-25
2006 Outback   Florida L 31-24
2006 Alamo   Texas L 26-24
2009 Outback   South Carolina W 31-10
2010 Orange   Georgia Tech W 24-14
2010 Insight   Missouri W 27-24
2011 Insight   Oklahoma L 31-14
2014 Outback   LSU L 21-14
2015 TaxSlayer   Tennessee L 45-28