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Hearty Fans Brave Outdoor High School Prep Bowl

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It still sounds the same at the Minnesota High School Prep Bowl, with bands belting out the tunes, fans cheering their lungs out.

But cheering in comfort depends on your layers. Holdingford fan Angie Lichy and her boys brought a little extra to TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

"We have sleeping bags, lots of layers of clothes and … I made the boys wear their long underwear," Lichy said.

Fan Hayley Ruschen was so excited to get here, she forgot a crucial piece.

"My winter jacket, so it's going to be very cold, but one of the stats persons brought an extra one so I'll use one of theirs," Ruschen said.

From the indoor comfort of the press box, tournament director Kevin Merkel says it's going well, considering.

"Not only having our championship games outside but of course having to play the semi-finals outside, which we've played at the [Metrodome]," Merkel said. "And of course with the weather. Most years we would've been fine, and this year just created some extra challenges."

John Lauer is a Prep Bowl regular who came alone. Guess it was too cold, and too early for his Brainerd buddies to make the trip.

"They didn't want to come," Lauer said. "Well, we just started coming down here, I don't even know how many years ago, just coming to see football. And I'm kind of a cheapskate, I like a good deal."

For $18 he'll watch all seven games, one of the hearty football faithful -- both in the stands and on the field.

"Like some of the coaches said, 'They're never going to forget this experience,'" Merkel said.

Prior to the Metrodome's arrival in 1982, these games were also played outside -- sometimes in much colder weather and, at times, on snow covered fields. So it's all relative.

Last year's Prep Bowl drew 34,000 to the championship games inside the Dome. It is certain they'll draw much less this year.

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