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91-Year-Old Gopher Fan Headed To Citrus Bowl

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Andy Dyrdal loves the Minnesota Gophers.

The team's colors -- maroon and gold -- run through his veins.

The 91-year-old said he's been a fan as long as he can remember.

"Since I was about 10 or 11 [on the radio in the country] I listened to Gophers. They broadcast games on Saturdays. I've followed them all my life," he said.

Dyrdal and his late wife, LoAnn, spent many of their days together rooting for the Gophers.

They attended hundreds of games.

One of their favorites was New Year's Day 1962.That's when Minnesota played UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

"We had great seats," Dyrdal said.

Before they took their seats, they lined the street for the parade.

Dyrdal's two children, Tom and Jay, were also there.

Tom was just 5 years old.

"I have distinct memories of standing on a step ladder and watching the flowers and floats go by at the parade," he said.

Tom's fun ended at the parade, but he has a personal keep-sake from the game that will last a lifetime. His parents gave him the original pendant from the 1962 game. It's now hanging on the wall of the family's home.

They also still have the 1962 game day program, which cost 50 cents.

Dyrdal is now ready for another New Year's Day Gophers game.

The football squad will play in the citrus bowl in Orlando, Florida, in their first January bowl appearance since 1962.

This time Tom will be at the game.

"As soon as I heard we got that bowl, I told him, 'We have to go,'" Tom said.

They'll also have company.

Tom's son, Andrew, and his daughter-in-law, Rachel, who's pregnant with a little girl, are going along for the ride.

"It'll be nice," Tom said. "We were talking about having four generations at the game."

Dyrdal and his family left for Orlando on Saturday. They booked their trip with Creative Charters, along with hundreds of other fans.

The group is known as the Travelin' Gophers.

Dyrdal predicts the Minnesota football squad will bring home a victory.

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