Hawkeye fans shatter attendance record at USS Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hawkeye fans shatter attendance record at USS Iowa

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LOS ANGELES (KWWL) -

There's a good chance the organizers of a Hawkeye pep rally at the USS Iowa didn't know quite what they were getting themselves into.

Nearly 20,000 Iowa fans descended on the USS Iowa Thursday, gathering in just another chance to come together ahead of Friday's Rose Bowl.

Organizers say they originally thought they would have 500-1,000 people.  That number continued to swell Thursday as fans were lined up nearly a half a mile to get tickets and get onto the ship.

"Just to be able to be on a ship like this, surrounded by Iowa everywhere. Like I said, I'm from Wisconsin, so I don't get to see this very often. So to be amongst family, basically, is quite an event," Lucas Thielen, said.  He's originally from Dubuque, and relished the chance to be among Iowa faithful.

Karen Roberts relished it, too.  "There's really nothing like it when you are a Hawk fan, and there are thousands and thousands of people that just have that same excitement, I mean, everyone has that, that the Hawkeyes are going to win the game. It's just thrilling."

And even though the lines to get in were extremely long, fans say it was worth the wait.

"I think it's incredible. I'm actually US Navy from 68-69, served in Vietnam, And so I told Charlene when I got on here the first thing I'm gonna want to do is reenlist," Carl Williams said.  His wife Charlene replied, "We won't let him."

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