Iowa Hawkeye fans travel from Guttenberg to Pasadena

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Andy and Mindy Reimer of Garnavillo traveled nearly 4,000 miles by car, round trip, to Pasadena, Calif., for the Rose Bowl, enjoying stops at Universal Studios and in Las Vegas along the way. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

Iowa Hawkeye fans from Guttenberg traveled to Pasadena, Calif., for the Rose Bowl on Friday, Jan. 1, experiencing a roller coaster of emotions from pride and joy to disappointment. 

Thor and Julie Rastetter, parents of Hawkeye player Colten Rastetter, participated in the Hawkeye Huddle prior to the game and the Rose Parade before taking their seats for the Rose Bowl. “The outcome of the game was disappointing, but I am still a huge Iowa Hawkeye supporter. This year for the team, coaches and fans it was a great season and we all have so much to be proud of. The game and each Hawkeye event was so much fun to be a part of,” said Rastetter. “Attending the Rose Bowl was a great experience and I am so glad to have been there.”

High school freshman Hayley Kann traveled with the Rastetter family to Pasadena. “We were down 35 in the first half, but this didn’t stop us from cheering as loudly as before,” she said. “Although I was not happy, I was very proud of the Hawkeyes with their season. The feeling was unreal when the Hawks walked out of the tunnel.”

Like many, the Rastetters and Kann visited the U.S.S. Iowa battleship during their travels for a pep rally taking place near the ship on New Year’s Eve. “It blew me away how many people were there, and Iowans set the attendance record,” said Kann. The previous record for single-day attendance was roughly 2000 visitors, but when Iowa fans visited Pasadena for the Rose Bowl, they shattered that record by an estimated 5000. 

Hawkeye fans Andy and Mindy Reimer traveled 3,995 miles from Guttenberg to California and back, visiting Las Vegas along the way and staying at Universal Studios. “The loss stings but it doesn't sting as bad as some games I've been to, and it doesn't change my perspective of the season at all. Getting to the Rose Bowl is quite an accomplishment and a lot of things have to fall into place,” said Reimer.

When halftime rolled around and the Stanford marching band took the field, Reimer said, “I really didn't realize what was going on until people were booing and giving gestures towards the band.” 

Rastetter echoed that sentiment. “It was very strange in the stadium as their performance was taking place. No one in the Iowa section we were in was really paying attention at first to the show on the field, as it was a complete mess, no organization at all. Then all of a sudden when the bashing started you could just feel the atmosphere change. People started to listen to the words being said and then the booing broke out, and chants of "Get them off the field.”

The Stanford marching band, well known for its mischievous performances, returned to the Rose Bowl stadium after being forbidden to travel with the Stanford football team for the 2015 season. The band’s previous performances at the Rose Bowl incited boos from Wisconsin and Michigan fans, and this year was no different. The band played a tune from an agriculturally based dating website and tipped a large cow they carried onto the field. 

Expecting such antics, ESPN television coverage cut away from the show. 

“Watching it on TV never really gave you the full show of what was going on,” Rastetter told The Press. 

“I didn't think that the stage of the Rose Bowl was the place to look and act the way they did – completely unprofessional,” said Reimer. “They've done it before and they will do it again.”

Local couple Stephanie Ihde and Austin Finch couldn’t feel blue about the Stanford marching band, or anything else, for that matter. Finch got down on one knee outside the stadium in Pasadena and proposed to his long-time girlfriend prior to the start of the game. 

“We were on our way into the game and while we were taking a picture in front of our gate, he proposed,” Ihde told The Press. “I was extremely surprised! The game was a little disappointing, but the experience and the surprise took away from that for sure.”

Rastetter was ready to return home after visiting Laguna Beach, touring Newport beach by boat, and visiting the Staples Center in Los Angeles. “We experienced the traffic and I will take driving in Iowa any day over driving there!” she said, also noting gratitude for the lower cost of dining out in the Midwest. 

“We have to remember that it is just a game; many life lessons were learned each and every day of this season by the players which will only help to make them strong men,” Rastetter told The Press. “There are many starting players returning and others waiting for their time to take the field for next year so I am sure we have great things to look forward to.”

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