He can’t remember how many years he’s had season tickets, but Dennis Buis from Beech Grove has been a Colts fan since the Mayflower (vans) arrived in Indianapolis.
“I’d always been a Chicago Bears fan until the Colts came to town,” he says. “When I was growing up, those were the only games we got to see on TV here in Indianapolis.”
In 1984, the Baltimore Colts became the Indianapolis Colts and Buis finally had has own team – one he could see in person.
“I thought, ‘Well, this is my chance to watch them play live.’ And I have been ever since.”
He had season tickets with someone else first and eventually got his own. A loyal fan for decades, Buis says he respects the way the Colts conduct themselves on and off the field.
“I think that they’re a clean organization,” he says. “They try to keep good citizens on the team and I appreciate that.”
In 2014, the Colts started a 50/50 raffle on game day with half the proceeds from ticket sales going to the winner and the other half to the Colts Foundation. And Buis has been a regular participant from the beginning.
“Anybody that asks me about it, I tell them, ‘Even if you don’t win, the money is going somewhere that it’s being well spent.’”
New Year’s Day was his lucky day.
It was the last game of the season. The Colts were playing the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buis was there with his son, Dennis Buis III.
When the winning numbers were announced in the fourth quarter, it was the younger Buis who checked the ticket.
“He looked at it and said, ‘Boy, that’s close.’ And I said, ‘Let me see it.’ And I said, ‘That’s not close, that is the number!’”
Their share of the prize was $30,514.50.
Buis says he’ll split the winnings with his son, who drove him to the game. Just like his dad, the younger Buis is a huge Colts fan.
“Matter of fact, he said he’d like to take a part of his (winnings) and get a season ticket.”
As for his share, Buis says he’ll use some of it to help him regain the independence he lost after he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his spine.
“I had to have surgery in November of 2010 and I’ve been in a wheelchair ever since,” he says. “I’m in the process of trying to get hand controls put on my van so that I can drive it. That’s going to cost me between $2,000 and $3,000 to get that done and to take the training. It came at a good time.”
For Dennis Buis, the new year means a new life.
And the Colts helped give him a head start.
Proceeds from the Colts 50/50 raffle support efforts around breast cancer research, youth football, education and literacy, as well as other community initiatives. For more information, go to: http://www.colts.com/community/gameday-programs/5050raffle.html.