Old family vehicle connects generations of Hawkeyes fans

Hawkeye Headquarters

It’s a multi-tentacled tailgate not far from Nile Kinnick, where hoards of Hawkeyes fans indulge every Saturday.

“You can’t say no to coming to Iowa City for the Hawks. I mean, what else are you gonna do on a Saturday other than watch it on TV?” said Joe Demmer. “The atmosphere is awesome. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big game or a non-conference game.”

Demmer and his family have had their spot here for around a decade.

“Getting back together with everybody from back home when I was in college and then continuing the tradition after I graduated from college,” Demmer said.

It’s a tradition enhanced by a vehicle from the past.

“We ride down in a van every weekend,” Demmer said. “An ’89 Ford Econoline.”

Tigerhawks and other Iowa paraphernalia have spiffed up the van to make it a more tailgate-themed ride.

“Mom and Dad sold it when we were younger,” Demmer said. “We found one that was really similar, so that kind of makes it a special moment from our childhood, now to these tailgating days.”

And the 1980s relic has in turn brought back some of Hawkeyes fans’ greatest memories from that special decade.

“I’m an Iowa fan. I bleed black-and-gold,” Knipper said. “When Iowa was No. 1, Michigan was No. 2, I had my two sons with me and Rob Houghton kicked the field goal and we won the game.”

Whether it’s the Econoline or a legendary kick, the thread that connects generations at this party is Hawkeyes football.

“Just getting together on the Saturdays, that’s what it’s all about,” Demmer said.

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