It was mostly a normal tailgate Saturday in Ames, Iowa, — Cyclone fans were grilling, playing cornhole, throwing back cans of Busch Light — but there was one noticeable difference.
Lots of yellow.
Earlier this week, fans at Saturday’s game were asked to wear that color to honor Celia Barquin Arozamena, the former ISU golfer who was killed Monday morning while playing Coldwater Golf Links in Ames. The overwhelming majority of them obliged.
Eric Swan, 19, helped direct parking near a tailgating lot off South Fourth Street hours before kickoff. He worked ISU’s game against Oklahoma last week and said the gold and cardinal split in fans’ wear was about 50-50.
On Saturday? About 75-80 percent yellow.
“It is tremendous,” he said.
The percentage was likely even higher once the stadium filled. It was an important enough cause that some people bought their garb at the stadium. Others purchased tickets specifically to be there to help honor Barquin Arozamena.
Before Iowa State’s morning kickoff against Akron, everyone in the stadium stood silently for 12 seconds in remembrance of Barquin Arozamena. Iowa State and Akron players wore “CBA” decals on their helmets, and the Cyclone marching band former her initials for the national anthem.
The pregame atmosphere was subdued, none of the usual fireworks. Iowa State players stepped onto the MidAmerican Energy Field turf carrying the flag of Spain, Barquin Arozamena’s native country.
A video tribute described her as “passionate, caring” person who embraced being a Cyclone. The 2018 Big 12 Conference champion golfer was also named as this year’s Iowa State female athlete of the year.
It capped a solemn week in Ames. Police charged a 22-year-old man in Barquin Arozamena’s death soon after her body was found. Her former coach called her a “beautiful person” and her boyfriend said the couple was the Spanish version of Jim and Pam from “The Office.”
The 22-year-old student, who was finishing her civil engineering degree, was remembered for her smile and her ability to make her teammates laugh.
Yellow was her favorite color, and Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt suggested fans wear it Saturday in her memory. In their seating area, students overwhelmingly wore yellow. The same went for the rest of the 54,000-plus Jack Trice Stadium crowd.
Some fans went to more trouble than usual to find their gameday outfit. ISU student Adam Wegmann, 19, and his friend Zach Hull woke up early to visit several stores to find yellow or gold shirts. After striking out off campus, they settled on buying a pair of nondescript, gold Iowa State shirts for $20 each from a vendor outside the stadium’s north end zone. Like thousands of others, they wanted to show their support for Barquin Arozamena and her family.
“We’re one big family here,” Wegmann said.