The word is Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,

Let every loyal Iowan sing;

The word is Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,

Until the walls and rafters ring (Rah! Rah!)

Come on and cheer, cheer, cheer, for IOWA

Come on and cheer until you hear the final gun.

The word is Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,

Until the game is won.

Music and lyrics written by Iowa native Meredith Wilson

There are fans…and then there are Nels and Rowena Nord of Huxley, the ultimate in Iowa Hawkeye fans.

For Nels, the passion began when he was 10 years old. He’s worn a law enforcement uniform and the hat of Huxley’s mayor. But at the young age of 10, Nels was introduced to the Iowa Hawkeyes, and that began a long history in black and gold.

“My family were big Hawk fans,” he tells from his home in Huxley. “Dad was a doctor — he had a conference in Iowa City and took me with him to a football game — that was the start of it all.”

Nels tells the story about his father getting tickets again, and he and a couple friends decided to use the tickets and get themselves to Iowa City.

They hitchhiked…over and back. He was 15 years old.

“We hitched a ride to Iowa City to watch Iowa play Michigan,” he remembers. “Iowa lost the game, and it was 44 degrees outside. We spent the night in the dorm with my older brother. The next morning, we hitched a ride to Des Moines and then back to Huxley.”

Since then, there has been no turning back. He has missed only one game, and Rowena has missed two, in the last 43 years.

Nels said he always loved the game of football. Football saw its first year at Ballard High School when he was a senior. He was a captain on that first team.

Now, Rowena — the Mrs. in this story — didn’t become a Hawk fan until after she and Nels were married. Although she was a cheerleader on the sidelines of that first Ballard High School football team, she admits she didn’t understand a thing that was going on.

“It was so boring,” she tells. “I didn’t understand one thing that was taking place on the football field. Once I learned the game, I became a Hawk fan, too. It was in 1974 that we purchased our first season tickets. I have been hooked ever since.”

It’s been a family affair, lots of passion and travel and fun.

One football game that stands out for the “fanatics” is the 1981 Michigan State–Iowa game.

“As the game progressed, we knew that we had probably earned a spot to play in the Rose Bowl,” tells Nels. “Then they started throwing roses from the press box. We have been to every bowl game, except for two. We make the bowl games our vacations.”

Nels and Rowena consider themselves very passionate Hawk fans.

“We both enjoy it,” she said. “We have lots of memorabilia, with lots of posters. We have purchased a lot of them, but have also received Hawk items as gifts. I guess you could say we have about everything you can buy that would yell “Hawkeyes.”

What does it take to be a fan?

“It takes lots of dedication, and we do contribute money to the program too,” told Nels. “We hold season tickets for five seats. We often share our tickets with family and friends.”

“We just love it, and are very passionate about the Hawks,” remarked Rowena. “We don’t hate the other college teams, as some people believe. We have a great rivalry with Iowa State, but we don’t hate Iowa State or any other college team.”

Nels tells that he went out for the team at Iowa State when he first started college.

“I went to Iowa State for one year, and decided to try out for the team,” he tells. “I didn’t make the team, but did go to Iowa State games.”

Summing up the Hawks this year, the Nords are just coming off a historic win against Ohio State, a game that also saw the Hawkeyes become bowl eligible. “It probably was the overall best game I’ve ever seen from an offensive and defensive standpoint against a top-rated and national power as Ohio State,” Nels said. “From the game’s first play, you knew something was up. The fans were into the game for the full 60 minutes. It’s just remarkable that Iowa and Iowa State beat the No. 3 Ohio State and Oklahoma teams, two of the nation’s most powerful football teams, in the same year.”

Football season at the Nord home means many Saturdays of sitting at Kinnick Stadium, much travel, tailgating with friends and the highlight of their fall.

And the passion doesn’t stop in the end zone at the last game of the season. It then moves to a different venue, Hawkeye Carver Arena, where the couple cheers on the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the wrestling team.

This writer totally agrees, the Nords are very passionate about the Hawkeyes. It’s nice to share your passion with your life partner.

“How about those Hawkeyes?”