COLUMBIA — The initial reactions of students who lined up for tickets to the Independence Bowl were all similar. The price was a typo. A joke. A misunderstanding.
But it wasn't. With the Missouri Athletics Department's support, Tiger's Lair sold student tickets for $9.99 Friday morning at the MU Student Center. The ticket covers transportation to Shreveport, La., entry into the Missouri football game against North Carolina, a one-night hotel stay and a breakfast.
The bus leaves Columbia for Shreveport at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 26. The game is the same day at 4 p.m. The students who go will have to return to campus on Christmas to make it on the bus.
For students who live a few hours away, it is still a deal.
"I've never been to a bowl game before, and I've never been to Louisiana," freshman Kiley Findley said. "I figured at $10, it was pretty much a steal. So why not go?"
Findley, who is from Lawson, about two hours from Columbia, said she had to sweet-talk her mom into letting her go. Findley was first in line after arriving with her roommate at 3 a.m. She figured the sale would attract many students.
The next group, including junior Travis McCartney, didn't arrive until 5 a.m. By 9 a.m., when the tickets went on sale, Greg Loeffler, Tiger's Lair travel coordinator, estimated there were 70 to 75 people in line. The 53 available tickets sold out in 45 minutes.
McCartney said he didn't find out about the deal until his father, who saw it on Facebook, alerted him.
"He told me, 'You're going,'" McCartney said.
McCartney, from Cameron, said his family is usually done with its Christmas festivities by 10:30 in the morning. He plans on driving back to Columbia around 5 or 6 p.m. to catch the bus.
Rather than returning to Columbia the morning after the game, McCartney said he plans to rent a car and drive five hours to Houston to visit relatives.
After paying $10 for the bowl game trip, he would pay $135 for the rental car.
The athletics department helped to lower the cost by paying for the game tickets and the bus, Loeffler said. The bus cost the athletics department about $5,000.
Ticket sales were open to all students, and each student had the option of bringing one guest at an inflated rate of $29.99.
Senior Mackensie Murphy of Columbia stood in line with his father, but Tim Murphy wasn't there for the guest ticket. Both father and son are seniors at MU, studying English and biology, respectively.
Tim Murphy, 53, works at Learfield Sports and updates the college football scoreboard on Saturdays, so he hasn't attended a Missouri football game all season. Mackensie Murphy, 21, told him about the bowl game deal, and after they got permission from Mackensie's mom, they decided to go.
"It's one of those experiences I've not done," Tim Murphy said.