Dedicated cats fans camp out for Big Blue Madness tickets

By Trey Sadler | News Writer

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Outside Memorial Coliseum, Big Blue Madness has swept through the area. UK basketball fans, both students and non-students, have begun their wait for tickets to the men’s and women’s first official practice of the year.

People began claiming their tent space at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, and now face a four-day wait before they can claim their tickets.

The tents wrapped around Memorial Coliseum and spilled onto the field across the road Wednesday afternoon.

Control cards, which are required to get tickets, will be handed out to campers at 2 p.m. on Friday, with a limit of four control cards per tent. Tickets will be distributed to the crowd at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

UK Athletics spokesman John Hayden said 22,000 tickets will be available.

For UK fan Landi Davis, coming from her hometown of Inez, Ky. to this event for the past 16 years brings back memories of how ticket sales were once coordinated.

“I remember a time when there weren’t any tents, and the line went around the entire building,” she said.

Davis said she has witnessed people get into physical confrontations in past years.

“It’s aggressive,” she said. “I saw a girl bite a guy.  Another guy out front kicked a girl in the face.”

Davis reflected on how many people there were last year, but said she expects more this year.

“There were 700 tents last year,” she said. “I think it will be bigger this year just because what we’re expecting out of this team.  The team we got this year … It’s going to be magic.”

UK graduate Casey Henson, who has attended the event the past four years, also thinks highly of this year’s team.

“I’m excited to see all the freshmen play,” Henson said. “I have high expectations of Julius Randle. I don’t think he’ll disappoint.”

Some people who have come to attend the event aren’t basketball fans at all.  Originally from Illinois, Daniel Brannon arrived with his friends around 11 a.m. seeking something fun to do.  Brannon said he was impressed by the fans’ dedication.

“I was amazed how fast the population increased as the day progressed,” Brannon said. “The commitment is more than I imagined in this heat.”

For UK marketing and spanish senior Bethany Kirk, Big Blue Madness is an event that brings passionate people together.

“How many people do you know who will camp out four days in advance to get tickets for an event three weeks later?” she asked.

Memories are made and friendships are formed, Kirk added.

“I’ve made some unbelievable friends here,” shesaid. “It has become a reunion for me.”