Guest blogger Brian Dickens wrote a piece called Broncologue that was posted in October 2010. Brian is back to update us on the Bronco pride he’s passed down to his children.
My 2-year old Mia and I are psyching ourselves up for our trip to Idaho’s 3rd largest city this Saturday. I’m not referring to Pocatello, but to the gargantuan, multi-cultural, trans-economic, blue and orange tent city that materializes around Bronco Stadium coincident with any Boise State home-game. Tailgate sprawl has spilled across campus, across the Boise River, and at least a full block from the stadium in every direction and transformed this once-tranquil parking lot into a nearly square-mile RC Willey home-theater showroom. With an estimated population of about 55,000 at game-time this year, the tent-city—I’m going to go out on a limb here and simply name it “Petersen, Idaho” since that name doesn’t appear to be taken—has effectively taken up the #3 population ranking (coincidence?) whenever the Broncos are in town. Petersen trails only Boise and Nampa and with the planned stadium expansion and the possibility of a double-deck tailgate lot by 2015, Nampa could be in trouble.
Two Saturday’s ago, when College Gameday was in town, my 4-year-old, Reagan and I ventured into Petersen at about 5:30 am with what the ABC/ESPN sports crew said was about 13,000 of our closest friends (well, I saw lots of Vandal, Duck, Cougar, and Buckeye outfits in the crowd, so “friends” might be a stretch). We had a great time and hung around “town” most of the day, but by the time the game was over—we’ve been priced into the north end-zone—Reagan was so overwhelmed with post-euphoric crowd syndrome that he actually said that his baby sister Mia could go next time. This from a DIE-HARD fan who has been attending games and singing the fight song front-to-back since he was 2.
If you haven’t seen him yet, check out his you-tube video from two years ago.
Mia knows the whole fight-song by heart too now, but she’s not quite the performer!
Petersen itself is a great little town. I’m thinking that the town council must have passed some sort of ordinance or covenants about paint colors on dwellings and vehicles, but there doesn’t seem to be any building codes or standards for either one! You can find everything from beach umbrellas or lawn-chairs-only all the way up to 40 ft “tour” busses, all decked out in Orange & Blue. There’s lots of travel trailers, panel vans, and a few “renovated” Champion motorhomes from the 70’s that I never thought I’d see on the road again (and probably shouldn’t!). Some of the residential lots—on the north and west ends of town even have lawns! The economic strata represented in Petersen are remarkably proportionate to Boise itself. You definitely have the stainless-steel 20-foot backyard grill crowd that watch the pre-game on a satellite-fed, 65-inch flat panel—built in to the side of their custom motorhome—then ride the Broncovator up to their Stueckle penthouses to watch the actual game; but in the “lot” right next to them you’ll find three guys with their bodies painted blue, roasting Wal-mart hotdogs on a three-legged Kingsford while they play “redneck” horseshoes (or is it golf?) and they don’t even have tickets for the game—they tune in to Paul J. and Bob Beeler on AM radio and gauge the roars from the stadium to find out what happens.
Most of the rest of Petersen, Idaho is made up of middle-class blue- and white-collar (I prefer to be called “orange-collar”) folks like Reagan and Mia and me who bring burgers and dogs and steaks and salmon and cook ‘em on Webers and less-pretentious propane grills. While lots of us do have non-penthouse tickets for the game, a lot of us also prefer to just hang out in the parking lot and watch the game with some of our other 55,000 buddies on various sizes of TVs.
So if you’re out for a weekend drive in Idaho sometime this fall, take the University Drive exit off of the Chris Petersen Parkway (aka Broadway) and visit Petersen, Idaho. Unless your team happens to be playing the Broncos that weekend, you’ll be glad you did!
Note from Brian
Mia’s turned 3 ½ and Reagan’s 5 since I posted this last year, and even big Sister Olivia (almost 12) got into the act when we journeyed to “Petersen, Idaho” for the Tulsa and Nevada games the past couple of weeks. It just keeps getting bigger with fancier-and-fancier “homes” and “mansions.” I haven’t noticed if maybe this doesn’t already exist, but perhaps the local police, EMS/fire departments, and hospitals should each park one of their fancy motorhomes in the middle of Petersen somewhere each home game! I know they’d probably be taking up valuable real-estate, but better to be on the safe side.
Lately there’s lots of talk of stadium expansion and multi-decked parking facilities which should change the complexion and skyline of Petersen considerably, but if the 8-story parking garage near the Georgia Dome is any indication, it will just mean a much taller party! Georgia can teach us a lot about how to celebrate football. I would estimate that 70% of the Georgia fans at the game in September were dressed “business casual” and most of the ladies were dressed like they were going to a cocktail party—dresses, jewelry, make-up—the whole nine…er…ten yards. I get that we’re a lot more laid back in Idaho, but it was still impressive to see the Bulldog faithful supporting their team with style. On the other hand—about 60 percent of the “Bulldog faithful” got up and actually went to that cocktail party about the middle of the 3rd Quarter—so there is that!
Brian Dickens is a guest blogger and avid Boise State Football fan.