Rose Bowl in Iowa: Here's how fans are cheering on the Hawkeyes in the Corridor
Black and Gold Shop, Coralville
When your team is in the Rose Bowl, you never can have enough shirts to mark the occasion. So, Katie Connolly and Jeremy Cronk, of North Liberty, found themselves in the Black and Gold Shop, located near the Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, Friday morning.
“I already have a Rose Bowl shirt, but I’m looking for a different one,” Connolly said.
While the store seemed to be overflowing with shirts, sweaters and Hawkeye memorabilia, employee Ryan Shellady disagreed.
“I’ve never seen our inventory this picked over,” he said, noting the store has sold out on varieties of shirts, as well as Rose Bowl glasses.
And while the Rose Bowl marks the end of a season that has been a boom to sales, Shellady said he’s not disappointed.
“It’s been magical,” Shellady said. “I don’t think we’re upset to see the season go, I think we’re excited to see what’s next.”
Big game, big business
The Chrome Horse Saloon and Slop House had no room in the stable. The sports bar was filled with Hawkeye fans clad in black and gold, and the hostess has to turn would-be patrons away.
“Iowa games are always crazy,” said Jess Borkgren, floor manager of the Chrome Horse. “I’m sure there will be a lot of Bloody Mary’s sold.”
Borkgren said the bar’s New Year’s Eve celebrations took a hit on their alcohol supply. So much so that general manager Derek Collins had to run out to restock for the Rose Bowl watch party.
The two events brought in about a week’s worth of business in two days, Collins said. In fact, the Hawkeye’s whole season has helped bring in business to the bar, which reopened in a new location in October, Borkgren said.
“We opened at 11 this morning and there were already people waiting at the door,” she said.
Down the road at the Field House, the 116-person-capacity sports bar was full by 1 p.m., said Megan Welch, bar manager.
Welch said extra staff is on hand to serve and make drinks, and she anticipates doing two to three times more business than a typical Friday. The increase in business means she increased the liquor order by about 35 percent.
The Field House moved from its Blairs Ferry Road location to a spot off First Avenue SE in September. Welch said the new spot may be smaller but the atmosphere is second to none.
“This is such a huge Iowa bar,” Welch said. “The only better place to be (today) is Pasadena.”
International Programs commons, University of Iowa
Weiwei Daz might be new to the game of football, but he’s a quick learner.
“That’s a disaster,” the University of Iowa post-doctorate student from China said after Stanford quickly scored on the opening drive.
Daz was one of about 30 people who gathered in the International Programs commons to watch the Rose Bowl. In addition to watching the game and snacking on some traditional football foot from Buffalo Wild Wings, the international students asked lots of questions of Michael Bortscheller, Assistant Director of International Student and Scholar Services.
Bortscheller explained the rules of the game, how football got its name and drew comparisons to sports the international students had more familiarity with.
“Nobody likes the guys in the striped shirts,” Bortscheller said, “just like soccer.”
While Iowa City can get fairly rowdy during and after football games, Iowa City Police Sgt. Chris Akers said he was expecting a quiet night, despite the Rose Bowl.
“There are very few students that have come back,” Akers said. “I suspect we will be uneventful this evening … By and large, we’ve had almost zero calls for service for rowdiness. So far, we’re looking good.”
Big Grove Brewery, Solon
Not everyone could make it to Pasadena, so Big Grove Brewery in Solon brought the Rose Bowl experience to its patrons.
While not known as a sports bar, Big Grove set up a big screen projector and brought in an air hockey table and other tailgating games. Owner Doug Goettsch even treated his customers to a Rose Bowl parade, which amounted to a beat up Ford minivan with roses tapped to it taking a lap around the block. It drew cheers from the large crowd in and outside of the restaurant.
The tailgate themed party was the brainchild of Big Grove general manager Danny Standley, who couldn’t make it out to California for the big game.
“If I’m going to be here, I’ll bring the party to me,” Standley said. “If I can’t go to the party, I’ll be the party.”
The party was a hit with Big Grove’s customers, including Tonya McDonough, of Solon.
“If you can’t be in Pasadena,” she said. “Big Grove is the place to be.”
Chrome Horse Saloon & Slop House, Cedar Rapids
Mike and Leslie Buscher are ready to cheer on the Hawkeyes. The Cedar Rapids couple watched the game from the Chrome Horse Saloon & Slop House.
“They’ve had a killer season with win after win after win,” said Mike Buscher.
The couple even brought the therapy dog they train, Luke — a Labrador retriever, golden retriever mix — to the Eastern Iowa Airport on Tuesday to visit with the thousands of travelers making their way to Pasadena, Cali., for the game.
“We Hawked him out,” said Leslie Buscher.
Luke and his owners wandered around the airport to let stressed travelers and airport staff give him a pat and relax.
“We had a great time,” she said.
Mary Coughlin, of Marion, showed up at the Chrome Horse with her friends a little before 11 a.m. -- before the bar was even open.
“We wanted to be early, stake our claim, get a good table by a TV,” she said.
She said the group of four, which will likely grow to seven by game time, has played trivia to pass the time.
“I’ve been a hawk fan as long as I can remember, she said.