The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


January 6, 2014

Local Auburn fans make trek to California for championship game

A rarity has become regularity for Auburn fans after the football team made it to its second national championship game in four years. The Tigers play Florida State tonight in Pasadena for the BCS National Championship and local Auburn fans are there to cheer on their team.

Ross Smith, a Limestone County native and 1966 Auburn graduate, has been a season-ticket holder for more than 40 years and would not miss an opportunity to see the Tigers play for it all.

“I’ve been going to Auburn games all my life,” said Smith. “I started in 1962 when I was a student there. I’ve gone back pretty much every year since. We knew we wanted to go to this game right away. We are anticipating a victory for the Tigers.”

Smith and his family made the trip in 2010 when Auburn played for its first national championship since 1957. One of the worst snow storms in decades hit Alabama during the same week Auburn was to play Oregon in Glendale, Ariz., that year.

Smith’s grandson, Ty Smith, along with many other Auburn fans was stuck in the snow, literally, and could not fly out to the big game. After some last-minute maneuvering, Ty was able to catch a flight out of Nashville and made it to Arizona just hours before gametime.

Barring a last-minute snowstorm, Ty will be there along with his grandfather, Ross, to watch Auburn in the national championship game.

Other local Auburn fans will see Auburn play in the title game for the first time. Anna Leigh Peek, was born and raised in Limestone County and is currently a senior at Auburn. Peek went to all the Tigers’ home games as well as several away games last year as Auburn suffered a 3-9 season.

“Last year, driving back from all those games got old really fast,” said Peek. “But I hung in and it’s made this year much better. I came in on a high note and I’m leaving on a good note.”

Peek, like many other fans, thought she had missed a once in a lifetime opportunity when she was unable to see Auburn play in person three years ago for its first national championship in more than 40 years.

“I didn’t go my freshman year when Auburn won and I regretted it so much,” she said.  “It just seems like it’s meant for them this year. It’s my last year and I didn’t want to miss this.”

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