By GERRY STEELE
Matt and Tom Bunch of Baker City will celebrate New Year's Day 2007 in the middle of a sea of orange and blue-clad Boise State University supporters at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
Boise State will play Oklahoma at 5:30 p.m. New Year's Day. The game will be televised on FOX Channel 12.
Matt, the oldest of Tom and Donna Bunch's two sons, is a sophomore at BSU and purchased two tickets to the bowl game as a Christmas present for his father.
andquot;This was supposed to be a Christmas present for me,andquot; Tom said recently while watching younger son, Mark, play for the Baker boys basketball team.
andquot;But, Matt talked to his mother and they decided it would be better to tell me about it so I could ask for time off from my job at Ash Grove.andquot;
It took some creative work for Matt to procure the tickets which were like gold at BSU.
When tickets went on sale it was set up to open the ticket booths at 6 a.m. Boise time. Many Bronco fans had thoughts of camping out in the parking lot at Bronco stadium to assure a spot at the front of the line.
andquot;Some people were going to camp out. But BSU security said there would be no overnight camping allowed in the parking lot,andquot; Matt said. andquot;They said security would be there at 6 a.m. and people could start lining up then.andquot;
Bunch and his three college roommates found a way around the security. They parked their car along the street outside the parking area at 3 a.m. and waited for daylight.
andquot;We were about 10 people back from the start of the line and we all got tickets,andquot; Matt said.
Lines formed at 6 a.m. and security then issued 500 green bracelets assuring those people their spots in line and the right to purchase tickets.
andquot;The doors opened at 9 a.m., and if you had a bracelet you got to go to the front of the line,andquot; Matt said.
Friends of the Bunches may also have noticed that Matt and his dad would attend the game after Matt was interviewed by a reporter from KTVB, a Boise television station, shortly after purchasing the tickets.
He purchased two tickets one student and one additional for the BSU section at the University of Phoenix Stadium. That section is on the lower level between the goal line and 20-yard line.
andquot;We're not sure if seats will be assigned, or if you get your seat like general admission,andquot; Matt said.
He said he had thoughts of trying to purchase four tickets so that his mother and brother also could attend the game, but the limit was two tickets per student.
andquot;I thought about asking my friends for their IDs to get two more tickets, but we decided not to. Mom decided to stay home, and Mark is playing basketball.andquot;
To assure that tickets weren't being purchased and then scalped, each purchaser received a receipt that they must redeem at the ticket booth in Arizona.
andquot;We're excited that the Broncos made a BCS bowl. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience,andquot; Matt said.
Tom said the Bunches chose the Fiesta Bowl over Oregon's and Oregon State's bowl games for a couple of reasons.
andquot;We're big fans of all three teams,andquot; he said. andquot;But Matt goes to BSU, and we've gone to several of the games in Boise, and we know several of the players.andquot;
Matt and Tom plan to drive to Arizona this weekend.
andquot;We hope we can find some other BSU fans with sleeping bags or motels,andquot; Tom said. andquot;We may throw our golf clubs in and find some courses to play on. I told Matt maybe we can get stranded and spend the winter there. That's some wishful thinking.andquot;
andquot;It should be a lot of fun,andquot; Matt added. andquot;We've never been to a bowl game before.andquot;
Like the Bronco fans that they are, both men predict a BSU win.
andquot;I'm going with Boise State. They're the darkhorse and have to play well,andquot; Tom said.
andquot;BSU by a touchdown,andquot; Matt said.