JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Colt Brennan signed autographs yesterday during a meet-and-greet with University of Hawaii Warrior football fans on the lower campus of UH-Manoa. Thousands stood in line from as early as 3 a.m. for a last chance to get memorabilia signed and pose for pictures with the team before they fly to New Orleans. The one-hour session, however, left many of those fans disappointed they could not get the autographs they wanted.
More than 4,000 UH fans line up to get autographs
» Scalper market for Sugar Bowl tickets shifts from sweet to sour
STORY SUMMARY »
Not too long ago, fans were lining up for tickets to the Allstate Sugar Bowl and leaving disappointed.
Yesterday, there were no lines at the box office and scalpers were selling tickets for less than face value.
But more than 4,000 Warriors fans lined up at the soccer field on campus for a chance to get autographs from the UH football team.
And many left disappointed because there was no way for all the fans to get autographs during the one-hour session.
The line to get into the soccer field stretched all the way back to the Stan Sheriff Center. And the line to get star quarterback Colt Brennan's autograph was only a little shorter.
Fans started lining up for the noon event at 3 a.m.
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In his 19 years, the wait for Colt Brennan's autograph yesterday morning was the longest Aldrich Aguilar ever had to wait for anything.
Aguilar got in line at 7 a.m. and was still several hundred people back from the entrance to the University of Hawaii at Manoa soccer field, where the university held an autograph session with the football team.
The line of an estimated 4,300 Warrior fans snaked past the parking garage and bled deep into the Stan Sheriff Center.
"This is the longest I've ever waited in my life," Aguilar said. "But it was super worth it, just looking at these players."
The autograph session lasted a little more an hour. But it still wasn't enough to accommodate all of the fans that showed up.
As Brennan was being ushered into a van, Warriors fans who were only a few feet away from him chanted, "Five more minutes!" But Brennan departed, and the other players left soon afterward.
Some fans who lined up at 8 a.m., two hours before a line was supposed to have started, couldn't even get to Brennan.
That's why Alvin Jamikawa, 50, of Palolo went to the gate at about 3 a.m.
When Jamikawa and two of his co-workers arrived, the campus was empty save for a few patrolling security guards. He parked off campus and walked in, reserving the first spot in the line.
The line grew exponentially from three to thousands by 10 a.m. Even when the gates opened and the autographs began, the line didn't seem to get any shorter.
It was definitely the longest line Jamikawa has ever seen.
"I mean, just look at it, jeez!" he said, after getting a helmet, book and T-shirt signed by Brennan, the star quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist. "It's incredible."
David Huff, a UH alumnus who now lives in Riverside, Calif., said he waited for two hours. Once he got on the field, he saw the line leading to Brennan, and instead opted to get signatures from the defensive players.
"We avoided the Colt line because it was so long, it looked like it would just be a time-waster," Huff said. "It was a bit chaotic. There was rain, and the restroom situation wasn't the best."
Huff said he hopes to get Brennan's signature when he flies to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.
"It was unfortunate they didn't spread out the opportunities for autographs to take some of the pressure off," Huff said.
John McNamara, UH associate athletic director, said there might be some events after the Sugar Bowl where fans can get autographs.
"I thought it was great for (coach June Jones) and the players to have an event one last time before the Sugar Bowl," McNamara said. "Its because of the incredibly popularity of this team, it's really impossible to accommodate everybody."
PHOTOS BY JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Thousands of Hawaii Warriors football fans lined up for a meet-and-greet with Warriors players yesterday at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Some lined up as early as 3 a.m. to get memorabilia signed and pose for pictures with members of the 12-0 team. This was the team's last public appearance before traveling to New Orleans for the 2007 Allstate Sugar Bowl against Georgia.
Andrea Mills and her son Aaron, 4, waited patiently to get autographs and meet Warriors football players.
Kapahulu resident Joan Tamayose was in a hurry to meet the players during yesterday's autograph session.
UH wide receiver C.J. Hawthorne signed a special-edition Star-Bulletin Dream Season magazine.
UH quarterback Colt Brennan signed as many autographs as he could during the hourlong event.
No sponsors means no party
What had been planned as "The Largest Shuga Party in Hawaii" has been canceled due to lack of sponsorship.
Word had just gone out Friday that promoter Pono Shim of concierge services at the Ward 16 Theatres had booked the Blaisdell Arena to host a free screening of the Sugar Bowl matchup between Hawaii and Georgia.
But Shim said yesterday that the grand plan had fallen through.
The party needed sponsorship because "if I do it on my own, it's too risky. I can't make any money because I can't charge."
If fans still want a memento from the big game, Shim is still selling official Allstate Sugar Bowl programs, which were the impetus for his party plan.
"I only have about 2,000 of them left, but 3,000 more are coming in later, either Thursday or Friday," Shim said.
When that shipment comes in, he'll be selling the programs for $30 at his concierge desk in the multiplex's lobby.
"And if we end up winning the game, I'm going to go back to the publisher and see if I can get more copies," Shim said. "It'll be a tremendous collector's item."
So what's he going to do come game day?
"You know, I'll probably end up staying at home and watching it on my big screen."
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Bernie Eder and Carmen Rodrigues hugged yesterday after Eder bought the last four tickets in the 263 section of the Louisiana Superdome. The pair became fast friends while waiting in line to purchase Sugar Bowl tickets at the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday.
Scalper market for Sugar Bowl tickets shifts from sweet to sour
For Hawaii fans, it's either feast or famine when it comes to Sugar Bowl tickets.
Just a couple of weeks ago, scalpers were asking $300 for the cheap seats with a face value of $125.
Last night, tickets were still available at the Stan Sheriff Center box office and scalpers were selling tickets for $100, $25 below face value.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa put about 300 tickets to the Sugar Bowl on sale for the general public yesterday after fulfilling all requests from season ticket holders.
By yesterday afternoon, the box office sold about 100 tickets to the New Year's bowl and still has a "couple of hundred" tickets left, said UH-Manoa associate athletic director John McNamara.
"Our goal is to make sure we accommodate as many people as possible," McNamara said. "We'll just continue to sell them until we feel the needs have been met."
When the box office opened, there were more people trying to sell tickets than people in line.
"You're looking at the market," said Daniel Dillard, pointing at the box office. "There's nobody there. It's over."
Dillard, a self-described "ticket broker" and owner of Special Event Ticket Services, had 40 Sugar Bowl tickets, which sold for up to $300 each several weeks ago. That was a $175 markup from the face value.
Yesterday, Dillard sold his remaining six tickets for a $100 each. Then he saw the line of scalpers form.
"I picked the one with the best location," Dillard said. "He said, '$50 and they're yours.' I bought all four tickets for $200, and I'm going to sell them for $100 a piece."
Dillard said some scalpers might have overbought tickets and are trying to get rid of them.
"Everyone who wanted tickets, already has them," Dillard said. "For people who bought 20 and only needed two, they're out $1,800. And this was their last chance to get rid of them."
Guy Smith of Kaneohe showed up at the box office looking to get rid of four tickets he won from a Web site.
Smith has put his tickets up on eBay, but said he wants to make sure only Hawaii fans get the tickets.
"I put them on eBay and every call I got were people from Georgia," Smith said. "When they said they were Georgia fans, I just said I'll have to get back to you on that."
Smith had little luck, however, and said he might end up trying to sell them at the Superdome in New Orleans.
There are even airline tickets and hotels still available for New Orleans.
Judy Carlisle, who owns Judy's Worry Free Travel, said she has about five travel packages left and was also trying to sell them at the ticketing office yesterday. Panda Travel also has some packages available, according to its Web site.
Fred Holt and his girlfriend Carmen Rodrigues already have tickets, but waited in line since dawn at the box office for a chance to trade up.
The wait paid off with tickets at the 50-yard line.
Now they have to get rid of the eight tickets they had bought previously.
"I've become a happy ticket holder and scalper in all one fell swipe of a credit card," Holt said.