SPOKANE, Wash – The Gonzaga University men's basketball team just kicked off the season on Friday, landing a win against Southern Utah.
Now, hundreds of students are camping out in the freezing weather hoping to land tickets to Monday night's home game against West Virginia.
‘Tent City' is a GU tradition; students fan out across campus, waiting for a tweet telling them where to set up. Then, it's a mad dash to get in line.
"It's really fun to watch," Gonzaga Junior Kaitlin Ballantyne told KHQ. "As soon as that tweet goes out you see people sprinting to the location, so it's pretty exciting."
Ballantyne and her friends landed lucky tent #1.
"This is the first time we've gotten tent #1, so we're pretty stoked," she added.
It's clear why. As of Monday afternoon, 114 tents were pitched, each with up to 6 students. And at the end of the line, dozens more students were sitting out in the rain waiting.
Toward the end of the line was Annie Higgins, a Gonzaga freshman.
"I probably won't do this again," she said, referring to sitting in line out in the open. "I'd rather sit in a tent than out here in the rain!"
But she's a good sport. Higgins waited in line Sunday to get tickets to the big game, so she waited in line for about nine hours Monday just to get good seats in the Kennel.
Come rain, snow, or slush, no amount of winter weather will stop these die-hard fans.
"I remember even before I applied (to Gonzaga), looking on You Tube, watching the videos of everyone running for the ‘Tent City' tickets, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to be a part of that, I want to be there,'" freshman Monica Lyons said.
Now camped out for the first time, Lyons landed tent #9, and told KHQ she doesn't mind being called a crazy college kid. Her tent-mates agree:
"My mom was like, ‘What are you doing tonight? You're sick, are you sure you should be doing that?' But it's worth it," fellow freshman Matt Alley said. "The first two rows would be good, maybe the front row, fingers crossed."
A few tents away, Juniors David Bigelow and Colleen Walsh are ‘Tent City' veterans, and tell KHQ they've camped out four or five times as GU students.
"We came in shifts," Bigelow explained. "Luckily we didn't have to spend the night, some freshmen did."
So why camp out in the snow and rain?
"Why not? It's the first big Zag game, and you're only in college once!" Higgins said.
"Because we love GU basketball," Ballantayne answered.
Some of the team members came out to say hi and show their appreciation to their camped out fans Sunday evening, warming up the team spirit ahead of Monday's match against West Virginia.
"We're not out here for nothing," Bigelow added. "We're hoping we see a Gonzaga win, and a good game in the nice warm kennel."