Winter conditions don’t stop students from camping out for Gonzaga

Ryan Turner
Elliot Evans and Nathan Jenkins are the very first students in line at the Marriott Center for Thursday’s historic game. (Ryan Turner)

A sold out Marriott Center will be electric this Thursday night when No. 1 Gonzaga visits for the first conference match-up this season between the Bulldogs and Cougars.

It will also be the first time in BYU history that the Cougars have hosted the No. 1 team in the nation.

In preparation for the biggest home game of the season, dedicated BYU students began camping out early Monday morning for prime ROC section seats despite temperatures in the single digits.

BYU students Elliott Evans, Ryan Sawyer and Kelly Taylor were the first students to get to the Marriott Center.

“I got here at like 11 p.m. on Sunday,” Evans said.

Once the clock struck midnight and camping was allowed, he was out of his car and pitched his tent just outside the northwest doors of the Marriott Center.

Ryan Turner
The first six tents in line at the Marriott Center. The line continues to grow as Thursday approaches. (Ryan Turner)

A few tents behind, another group of students arrived just after Evans and his group.

“We thought they were going to drop (line cards), like they did with the football games,” said BYU student Maddie Hayes. “On Sunday we found out you have to camp out the whole week, so we had to find a tent. We called everyone in our contacts to find a tent at 10:40 on Sunday night.”

Once they obtained a tent, they set out to stockpile their winter bunker.

“We got tons of sleeping bags and blankets and pads, we’ve got Coke Zero, we’ve got mad Cheese-Its everywhere, and we have fruit smiles,” said BYU student Bryan Earl. “That’s pretty much it. That’s all we’ve got.”

Then they found a rotation so everyone can still get to their classes.

“It’s kind of tough, but I think we’ve got it figured out,” Earl said.

As game day approaches, more and more students are already joining the ROC line.

“I’ve been here since 3 p.m. (on Monday) but we’ve had people here since noon,” said BYU student Kyle Lee. “We planned it all out last night, but had been planning to do this since we’ve known about the Gonzaga game.”

Forecasts call for warmer weather leading up to Thursday, with temperatures in the low-40s.

On Thursday, BYU’s student section will be packed and prepared for what could be a historic night.

“I want it to be a good show,” said BYU student Kenny Gneiting. “My hope is that it will be a close game.”

The Cougars and Bulldogs tip off at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2.

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