First-time bowl goers and longtime Iowa fans arrive in Nashville ahead of Music City Bowl

Published: Dec. 30, 2022 at 8:17 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, TN (KCRG) - Hawkeye fans have already arrived in the Music City days before the Iowa football team is set to take on Kentucky. For many, this isn’t their first rodeo.

“I went to the Rose Bowl game in ‘91 when we got beat by Washington. I also went to the Alamo Bowl when we played against Texas,” Chris Kitterman explained.

This trip will be one to remember for Cedar Rapids native and Iowa alum, as Kitterman brought his son Payton, a 2021 Iowa grad, to his first bowl game.

“It’s pretty close,” Payton said about the drive. “[I’ve} never been to Nashville either.”

Payton’s dad says he’s excited to share the overall experience with this son.

“I don’t think he quite grasps how we travel,” Chris said. “It’s crazy how we travel. I think it will be awesome for him to see hopefully 20,000 or 30,000 Hawkeye fans in the stadium.”

After arriving on Wednesday, Payton has already run into plenty of Hawkeye faithfuls.

“We were out at a bar last night and found a couple Hawkeyes. Of course, because they were wearing their gear and he had a shirt on too, every time an Iowa fan walks into a bar it’s like ‘Oh hey! Go Hawks,” Payton explained.

One of those longtime fans is Gene Grimsley. Since Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz took over 24 seasons ago, Grimsley has only missed 13 football games. That includes home, away and bowl games.

“I have always been a Hawkeye fan. In 1957, I watched the Hawks play. I would have been 9 years old. I became a Hawkeye fan and have been ever since,” Grimsley said.

He doesn’t like to miss games. Because of that, h plans to attend as many as he can.

“As long as I’m healthy enough, I will be following the Hawkeyes in football all the time and basketball as much as I can,” he said.