Close to 20,000 Iowa fans huddle ahead of Rose Bowl - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Close to 20,000 Iowa fans huddle ahead of Rose Bowl

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LOS ANGELES (KWWL) -

It was a sea of black and gold Wednesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Officials estimate about 20,000 Iowa fans filled the massive space for the Hawkeye Huddle, put on by the Alumni Association and the National I-Club.

"As we walked up the stairs, just to see a full sea of black and gold, it was just an unreal scene," Mark Ryan of Waterloo said.

Dale Janssen, who is celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary this trip, and also celebrating his birthday Wednesday, was also in awe of the crowd.

"Oh, it's unreal. I never thought it would be like this. The people, I bet there's 100,000 Hawkeye fans out here. It's a great atmosphere. I wouldn't, I mean, it's fantastic," he said.

14-year-old Ashley Steele and her 12-year-old brother Danny agreed.

"It seems like half of Iowa decided to leave and explore California. So it's pretty amazing to see how many people came to support them," Ashley said.

"I'm just amazed by the size of this room, honestly. It's just an amazing room and to see how many people you can fit in here," Danny added.

Among the multitude of Hawkeye fans was a pretty recognizable local: Tom Arnold.  He spoke to the crowd for about ten minutes, before taking a moment to chat with local media.

"It's just been the one consistent thing in my life, and nobody could ever take that away from me, being a Hawk fan. You can fire me, you can divorce me, you can do a lot of things to me, but you can't take that away from me," Arnold said.

He was impressed with the number of fans that came out to Iowa, though not surprised.

"I knew the Rose Bowl people are lucky to have us. Because the college football fans here are about 10 percent as good as the Iowa fans, and that is a fact. We are real fans."

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