Although the Colts have been in Indianapolis for over twenty years, they continue to attract new fans every day.
Rick Bailey of Valparaiso has been a fan of the Indianapolis Colts since 2001 when he attended his first Colts game. Rick was playing host to a friend visiting from Africa who wanted to see a Colts game, so the pair attended their first Colts game together.
"I never really watched football before 2001; it just wasn't something I was interested in," said Rick. "But when I went to that first game, something about the atmosphere made me realize that I loved it. It's contagious, and now I never miss a game."
Rick was not the only person to leave that fateful 2001 Colts game as a fan. His friend left a fan as well, taking his love of the Colts with him back to Africa, where he continues to stay updated on the Colts.
"When the Colts played the Bears in the SuperBowl, my friend had a TV set up in Africa so he and his friends could watch the game," said Rick. "He talked the Colts up before the game, and now all of his friends love the Colts too."
While attending his first game in 2001 at the RCA Dome, Rick entered in a contest to win free tickets to a game the following week.
"It was funny," said Rick's wife, Stephanie. "We entered to win free tickets at the game, and we ended up winning tickets for the next game! After those games, we knew we were going to be Colts fans forever."
The entire Bailey family is now Colts fans, even the couple's daughters Ava, 6, and Kiersten, 11. The girls stood in line with their parents at Wednesday's Fan Fest event in Valparaiso, and were both excited to meet Colts defensive back Jamie Silva and wide receiver Sam Giguere.
"Rick loves the team," said Stephanie. "He saves everything from each game he attends, and puts it all in a box. We even have our ticket stubs from the very first game we attended."
Since Rick has only been a fan for eight years, he wants to make up for missing out on so many years of being a Colts fan. He attends as many games as he can, and he and his family have been to some fantastic Colts games, including the inaugural game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Indianapolis Colts will be hosting the last Fan Fest event of the summer on Friday, July 10th in Indianapolis. On Monday, July 13th, the Colts will be in Greentown for a Make It Personal stop.