It was a perfect evening at Morrow’s Meadow in Yorktown, Indiana. There were kids and dogs and dads in suits. There was music and food and fun.
It was exactly as Dave Bartle envisioned it when he saw the “Bring the Colts to Your Town” contest on Colts.com early this year.
“I spent a good 30 to 45 minutes writing up almost a little article about our town and where we could have it,” he said. “I was pleased to find out they selected us and a couple of other towns. It went up for voting – and we won!”
And when they found out Adam Vinatieri and Robert Turbin were coming, they won again.
“We’re huge Adam Vinatieri fans, my wife is in love with him,” Bartle said. “So, that was the icing on the cake when we found out he was coming.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kyla. “I knew the Colts were coming to Yorktown and I was just like, ‘Hmmm, I wonder who it will be.’ I never dreamed it would be him.”
For submitting the winning entry, Dave, Kyla, and their daughters spent some one-on-one time getting to know the players and having them sign autographs before they opened it up to Colts fans who stood in line for hours to do the same.
“The summertime is really the time we use to take the Colts, our inflatables and fun, Play 60 Zone, Colts in Motion, players, cheerleaders, Blue, and take that outside of Indianapolis and into the backyard of our fans,” said Colts Event Coordinator Chelsea Durham.
For Ruth Britton, it really was her backyard. And she decorated appropriately.
“I just love the Colts. It’s lots of fun and it’s so close to home and I just thought it would be exciting,” she said. “Pretty neat to have them right here.”
On a June night, with Corey Cox belting out tunes from Kenny Chesney, Mellencamp, and others – you could almost feel fall in the air.
For a fan who grew up in Pendleton, Indiana going to games with his parents who were season ticket holders, playing for Colts fans will always be one of Cox’s favorite gigs.
“We’ve done so many different events and they’re all fun in their own different way. Obviously, when we do some of the tailgate stuff right outside the stadium right before the game, the energy is awesome,” he said. “But then here, early summer, it’s beautiful outside. We couldn’t have asked for a better night. It’s just so much fun.”
And for the players, it’s about getting to meet the fans – the people who fill the seats, cheer them on, buy the merchandise, and stand in line for hours to meet them.
“It’s always cool to see all of our fans and get to interact with some of the kids and some of the adults that have just been die-hards since we moved here,” said Vinatieri. “It’s a lot of fun to just hang out with the fans.”
“Any time you can interact with the fans and know how much they support you and love your team – it’s good to put a smile on their face and make their day,” Turbin said.
They made many a day on Tuesday – starting with the Bartle family.
“That’s what it’s about, making memories with your family, with your fellow Colts fans, and it’s a memory that will last a lifetime,” said Dave. “That’s something that we’ll never forget.”
It was also a way for the Colts to show their appreciation to the fans.
“Football season will be here before we know it and we rely on the people in Yorktown and all over the state of Indiana to help support us throughout the year,” Durham said.
The fans in Yorktown – and countless cities across the state of Indiana – are counting the days.