Twelfth Man to be on Permanent Signs in Lucas Oil Stadium
INDIANAPOLIS - The Colts this week gave fans a unique chance to be a permanent part of their future home.
The fans responded in a big way.
The Colts, as part of their 25th anniversary season, gave fans a once-in-a-lifetime opunity at the Biggest Fan Contest, an event that took place at the team's practice facility Wednesday afternoon and evening ( Click here to view the photos ).
More than 500 fans attended a photo shoot at the Colts' practice facility, with many wearing their craziest game attire.
Two hundred pictures will be chosen and displayed on one of 200 large permanent banners in Lucas Oil Stadium, the state-of-the-art, retractable-roof facility scheduled to open in downtown Indianapolis in time for the NFL's 2008 NFL season.
"This is great," said Michael "Horseman" Hopson, who attended the event in full game-day gear – face paint, white and blue pants, horsehead, beads and buttons.
"I'm glad they're actually thinking about the 12th man," similarly-attired fan Jake Berry said. "It's always great to get Colts fans together."
Hopson and Berry attended the event together, along with Brandon Gardner. They each have attended Colts game for many years, they said. About five years ago, they began attending as a group, donning their game-day regalia each week.
On Wednesday, they each posed for individual pictures, then posed again together.
"It's a great feeling," Berry said. "They're not leaving us behind."
The team will select the top 200 pictures to be on the banners. From those pictures, one will be chosen as the winner of the "Colts Crazy Fan Contest." Judging will be done by the Colts' marketing staff, with the winning picture winning a "VIP Experience'' to the 2008 regular-season home opener.
"It was absolutely successful," Colts Director of Marketing Chuck O'Hara said. "It was a great evening for the 12th man to come together, and be a part of a fun event. Very often, people got their picture taken, then stood around for another two or three hours and hung out.
"It's really our way of reminding our fans every game, when they look up, that they're an integral part our success."
The VIP experience will include four tickets, pregame on-field sideline access, a limousine to and from the game and dinner for four to a downtown restaurant.
"To build a good economy, you need to build a good infrastructure," Colts fan Stefan Carlin, a native of Scotland and Indiana resident, said. "My infrastructure would not be the quantity of fans, but more loyal fans. I want Colts fans to be the craziest fans.
"I'm a Hoosier at heart. This franchise adopted me. I want to do something special. It's taken care of me and I want to take care of it, tenfold. I just want to get people involved."
Carlin was among those sharing their Colts fan stories after having their pictures taken Wednesday.
"I worked at Taco Bell and refused service to a Patriots fan," Carlin said. "He made a scene. I just kept quiet, kept calm, and everybody in the restaurant applauded. It was great. If you can multiply that one little bit, every day, you have something that every Hoosier is a part of."