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A Hawkeye Story: 3 of 7

Nicole Clapp shares her birthday with Herky inside the Paul W. Brechler Press Box.

Nicole Clapp shares her birthday with Herky inside the Paul W. Brechler Press Box.

Dec. 23, 2010

IOWA CITY, Iowa - In the holiday season of giving and sharing, the UI Athletics Department invited the greatest fans in the world to share their most memorable black-and-gold experience. The wide variety of responses were full of unforgettable memories and reminiscent of why, "It's Great to be a Hawkeye!" After having the privilege of reading each submission, a total of seven lucky winners were selected for online publication. We will post one entry per day on hawkeyesports.com from Dec. 21-27. Today's entry comes from Nicole Clapp in Lancaster, WI:

"They say a picture tells a thousand words and that is truly the best way to describe and share my most memorable black-and-gold experience. I was born and raised a Hawkeye in the great state of Iowa. I received both my undergraduate baccalaureate degree and master's degree from the University of Iowa College of Nursing. Since graduation in 1996, I have lived in the heart of Badger Country, making the annual trek home to University of Iowa to root on my alma mater as a football season ticket holder.


The memorable experience began with me and three girlfriends traveling from our homes in Lancaster, Wisconsin, to have a girl's weekend in Iowa City to celebrate two of our birthdays. The plan was to spend Saturday, November 13th watching the Iowa-Northwestern game on a big screen television somewhere (they would not tell me where, which should have been my first clue), Christmas shopping, and of course, dining at my favorite restaurants. I was told we needed to drive by Kinnick Stadium to take a picture of the Nile Kinnick Statue as a part of a Christmas present. As we drove around Kinnick Stadium, I said to my friends, "Look they must be giving tours today, as there are people standing out front." Well, to my surprise, as we got closer "those people" were actually thirty-five friends and family members from around the country yelling SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

This past November, I turned the big 4-0 and I could not imagine a bigger and better surprise birthday party than the one my parents, Darrell and Jeanne Paustian, threw for me at none other than historic Kinnick Stadium. Mom and Dad rented a suite inside the Paul W. Brechler Press Box. Come to find out, my mom had been planning this surprise party for over a year.

If that was not enough, the surprises that day just kept coming. Not only were there black and gold decorations and Hawkeye balloons; a banner of me, when I was 10 years old, dressed up as a Hawkeye Cheerleader for Halloween; every food choice imaginable to enjoy; presents to open including a collage picture of all the Iowa Hawkeye Football Big Ten Championships matted with authentic pigskin; and of course a huge birthday cake decorated with pictures and the phrase, "HAWKEYE GIRL is 40." But, I have to say, when Herky walked into the suite to join the celebration that was truly the icing on the cake!

We all spent a very memorable and enjoyable day as we watched the Hawkeyes play the Northwestern Wildcats, regardless of the final score. This truly is my most memorable black-and-gold experience, as not many people can say they had their surprise 40th birthday party inside the Paul W. Brechler Press Box at historic Kinnick Stadium with Herky. GO HAWKS!!"

- Nicole Clapp

Thank you, Nicole, for sharing your story and congratulations on winning six tickets to a home men's or women's basketball game of your choice this winter. Nicole is now one of seven finalists eligible to win 10 tickets to a 2011 non-conference home football game of their choice. The winner will also receive a souvenir football and a $50 gift certificate redeemable at the concessions stands at Kinnick Stadium.

If you submitted a story that was not selected for online publication, you'll be placed in a pool and eligible to win six tickets to a non-conference home game of the 2011 Iowa Hawkeyes.

The randomly selected winners will be announced at halftime of the Insight Bowl on the Official Iowa Football Blog.

A Hawkeye Story - Past Entries:
December 22, 2010
December 21, 2010