Being the biggest, and best, Beaver fan is a pretty lofty claim and accomplishment, given the passion typically seen throughout the Beaver Dam, and the dedication a lot of long timers who have suffered through the dark ages of Oregon St. football, not to mention the depths the hoops program sank to until the recent resurgence.
There are a LOT of passionate fans for Oregon St. football, college football in general. Kevin is one of them!
And its even harder when you weren't born and raised in Orange and Black country. But it can be done.
Kevin Blank has not only accomplished it, he's also helped spread the lore of the Orange to spread into country of other colors. And that's why he is Buildingthedam.com's nomination for the Hyundai Fanthropology Sweepstakes.
Like a lot of fans, the 2001 Fiesta Bowl was the commercial for Beaver football and Oregon St. that was the initial hook, but not so many who weren't environmentally pre-disposed.
"I have been a beaver fan since the Steven Jackson years," Kevin said. "The first game I ever watched was the 2001 Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame. Watched that game and became hooked with OSU athletics and college football."
Becoming a college football fan, and even an Oregon St. one after that magical night is understandable, but then there is the matter of staying true to the Orange, something made much tougher when surrounded by Huskies and Cougs.
"I believe I am the Beavers biggest fan because for one, I'm from the middle of Washington," Kevin explained. "My hometown is split between Husky fans and Cougar fans, and then there is me. Throughout being a Beaver fan from Washington, I have been called all sorts of names, and hated on for years. But, recently I have started to see a growing number of Beaver fans back home, and I believe I'm a big contributor to that. Everyone in my high school barely knew my name, they just called me Beaver. This included classmates, and even the teachers and staff."
Hyundai is looking for a thorough fan, not just a bandwagon fan, or one with tunnel vision, and that describes Kevin to a tee.
"When I have an available Saturday, I will watch college football from 9 am until 11 pm. I stay up to date on everything college football. I'm very well versed in what I'm talking about when it comes to college football," Kevin says. "I don't like talking college football with people who aren't as well versed as I am. I always wear my beaver gear, though. Usually either my Derrick Doggett jersey, one of my Mike Hass jerseys, but always some sort of general beaver gear."
And that comparatively late start that many younger fans have, due to when their birthday came up, doesn't mean Kevin doesn't have that sense of history.
"Granted I haven't been a beaver fan for that long, but I know all the history that is behind Beaver football," Kevin told us. "I know all about the early years, when we went to the Rose Bowl. I know the days of Terry Baker, I know the darkest days where we didn't have a winning season for almost three decades, I know about Coach Riley's first stint at coaching at Oregon St., in his home town, and then the explosion of Beaver football with Coach Erickson. And then back to Riley until now. People ask me all time about stats and history of beaver football and I can recall almost everything."
"I have the Beaver football encyclopedia, and have read the whole thing," Kevin added. "I've also read the college football encyclopedia that was released about six years ago. My friends come to me all the time when they have questions about any sport, and what's going on, since I usually hear about anything before anyone else, thanks to you guys at BTD, and ESPN, plus any other OSU sports blog I can fine to read. Most of the time people are blown away that I know so much, they will ask me something that no one will know and I can answer their question within a matter of seconds."
Kevin is immersed in friendly territory now, but his story of growing up says a lot about his early dedication.
"The first Beaver game I went to was my freshman year in high school. It was 2005 and against Wazzu. My mom and I drove down the Thursday before the game, which meant I got out of school," Kevin tells us. "I remember this game vividly because it was towards the end of the game when we started our comeback for the win. I was on the phone with my dad, and Mike Hass caught a huge pass down the field for the score and the stadium went crazy!"
That experience led to what is now indelible proof of Kevin's fandom.
"My mom got me the tattoo the day before I walked for high school graduation 4 years ago," Kevin explained. "Once I received my diploma, I lifted up my robe and showed the entire crowd my brand new beaver tattoo."
Every great fan has some special superstition, and Kevin is no exception. The tattoo figures in it.
"I don't wear any special shirt for gameday, though, as noted, I always wear some kind of Beaver gear. I do get superstitious with my tatto though," Kevin explained. "If we are winning and doing well, I won't shave my tattoo. But if we lose, I will shave it the next day, and let it grow out until we win again."
Kevin's path didn't lead directly to the Corvallis campus, though, but eventually it did.
"After I graduated from Yakima, Washington, I attended Central Washington University for my freshman year and did not fit in at all. Walking around campus in shorts with my tattoo showing, definitely got plenty of weird looks. But then, I made my way down to Corvallis. I'm currently a Senior at Oregon State University, and also a member of Delta Chi fraternity. Being in Corvallis, it's easier for me to watch every Beaver football game. If i'm not at the stadium, or watching it at my fraternity house with my fellow brothers, then I'm at one of the local establishments watching the game with my fellow Beaver Nation."
Kevin is a well-rounded and well traveled Beaver as well.
"As far as road games, I have been to Martin stadium for an Oregon state at WSU, and also to Husky Stadium for another Beaver game. As far as my fandom for Oregon State, I make it to at least one game for every single sport that Oregon State has," Kevin said. "My main focus is football, and then baseball, but my third favorite would have to be gymnastics. Going to a gymnastics meet here at Oregon State inside Gill Coliseum is something every beaver should experience, especially on their annual pink out."
BTD checked with Benny, whom Kevin has meant, and Benny enthusiastically endorses Kevin's fandom!
Finally, to be the Beavers' biggest fan, and the best college football fan In the country, you have to have the proper appreciation for those early days, and Kevin has his priorities straight.
"I have a signed Sabby Piscatelli photo, but my favorite item that I own that is Oregon State memorabilia is my signed Terry Baker photo (our only Heisman Trophy winnner)."
You can see all the finalists at http://www.sbnation.com/fanthropology
----------THIS IS THE POST SCRIPT-------------
By commenting below, you are subject to and accept the terms and conditions of the Hyundai Fanthropology Sweepstakes.