COLUMBIA - Missouri tailgater Nick Cies stands out when he strikes a pose and begins to display the ways of the ninja, which he teaches to anyone who wants to learn.
"It's a family tradition to learn ninja moves, take them on and teach other people," Cies said. "I'm a very helpful person."
Cies is helpful but firm in his teachings. His ninja lessons consist of a 10-part series, and he refuses to continue teaching students until he feels they have mastered the current lesson.
"That's important," said John Gurney, who completed the program in six months. "You get a solid foundation. His techniques are pretty good. He's the best at what he does."
Cies, an MU junior, estimates that he has taught 15 to 20 people in Columbia, only as a hobby.
"It's no income," Cies said. "I don't get paid hourly."
He is very secretive about his training. Only those he instructs can know about the lessons. His students, including Andrew "Wild" Bodeker, who completed the lessons in 2 ½ months, refuse to betray Cies' secrets.
"He's a pretty mysterious man," Gurney said. "He tries to keep a lot of it under wraps. He's a very powerful man."
LAIR OF THE BEAST: Like a lot of fans, MU sophomore Alex Keckeisen wears gold to all Tigers games. But underneath it, Keckeisen sports something few others do: a full-bodied gorilla costume.
"I'm impersonating Chase Coffman, because he's a beast," Keckeisen said. "The guy is a silverback gorilla, he just jumps over people."
OFF TO SEA: Fan Bob Seibel won't be around for most of Missouri's Big 12 schedule. When the Tigers kick off their conference season, Seibel will begin training for the Navy.
"I wasn't a big fan of school," he said. "I've always loved physical things, and I enjoy the water and boats."
Seibel will be in Chicago for two months before continuing training in Coronado, Calif., and eventually serving in Mississippi. He was born and raised a Tiger fan and will continue to pull for Missouri while serving.
VOTE MOORE-WEATHERSPOON IN 2008? With 2008 being an election year, some Tiger fans created shirts touting safety William Moore for president. But if Moore were to win, who would be his vice president?
"Sean Weatherspoon," MU senior Samantha Schaefer said with a laugh. "You can't go wrong with two of the best defensive players in the nation running for president and VP."
Absent from the ticket was quarterback Chase Daniel, but Schaefer had a reason.
"We love Chase," she said. "(But) Chase Daniel is going to be on a lot of people's tickets for the Heisman, so we wanted to give a shout-out to Willy-Mo."
MAKING THE TREK: It would be hard to question the dedication of Reto, Brenda and Amanda Gross to Nevada football after this trip. The family flew to Missouri from Reno, Nev., in support of the Wolf Pack and linebacker Joshua Mauga, Amanda's boyfriend of six years.
"He's like a kid to us," Reto Gross said.
The Gross family, clad in blue #30 jerseys, have season tickets for every Wolf Pack game this season. Most of their trips will be much shorter, but the Wolf Pack play at Hawaii this season, Nevada's longest trip of the year.
""This year, we think we're going to hit every one of (the games)."