BSU football invades Idaho Falls

Boise State Head Football Coach Bryan Harsin talks to fans during a meet-and-greet Wednesday at McCowin Park in Ammon. Harsin, along with a few players, cheerleaders and the mascot Buster are traveling across the state to raise support for the football program. Pat Sutphin /

Skyline High School graduate Aubrey Campbell didn’t go to Boise to be a star.

For that, she had to come back home.

Campbell, a 2013 Skyline graduate who now counts herself among the Boise State cheerleading corps, spent most of Wednesday afternoon kissing babies, signing posters and pos-

ing for photos as part of a football public relations tour that hit Ammon’s McCowin Park.

As part of an all-Idaho travel junket, the BSU athletics department sent cheerleaders, select players and first-year head coach Bryan Harsin to Ammon for a meet-and-greet with eastern Idaho’s biggest Broncos fans.

And those babies? They’re getting more than kisses from Campbell.

They’re getting ink done.

“Most of the time I’m just following the players around and cheering, but on days like today, I end up signing babies,” Campbell said. “With Sharpies. Yep. Really.”

On days like Wednesday, McCowin Park is transformed into a mini Bronco Stadium, complete with blue grass, orange end zones and hordes of fans decked out in blue and orange.

The cars lining the streets were littered with all things BSU, from flags to bumper stickers to giant Broncos sticky logos.

Among the most fervent fans among the gathering of at least 800 was Idaho Falls student Lexy Keim, 16, whose family has season tickets and was at both the 2007 and 2010 Fiesta Bowls. Keim’s parents fell in love as BSU students, and Lexy has been a fan ever since.

“I started cheering for the Broncos before I was born,” Keim said. “I was a baby when they were in college, and I was at the Fiesta Bowl and it was like the most crazy game ever.”

Keim’s father Brent, 38, carried 14-month-old Ryder Keim in his left arm, with the toddler bearing a little No. 1 BSU jersey, as well as a sweet blue mohawk for the occasion.

For daddy Heim, it was all about coach Harsin and getting back to the Statue of Liberty play and Hook and Ladder that scored BSU a 43-42 overtime win against Oklahoma.

”Coach Harsin was our (offensive coordinator) through those years, and I think we have lost a little bit of that creativity over the years,” Brent Keim said. “As a fan, that has been disappointing. It’s exciting for Harsin coming back in because we hope he will mix some of that creativity back in.”

Calvary Chapel kindergartner-to-be Aiden Erickson, 5, concedes the point, even if he has no recollection of the OT drama on New Year’s Day 2007. For Erickson, it’s all about gender and color.

“It’s like Boise, and Boise is a boy, see?” he said with a wry grin. “My favorite colors are orange and blue and green. I want to play at Boise State, and then I want to be a coach.”

Josh Hepworth, who goes to school across the street from McCowin Park at Hillview Elementary, saw coach Harsin’s visit was a rare opportunity to walk across the street and meet a hero.

Hepworth, a broad shouldered 11-year-old who has dreams of gridiron greatness, was all about the inspiration Wednesday.

“It’s probably tough for (Harsin) to travel all those miles, and I think it’s cool for him to come here to little-ol Ammon,” Hepworth said. “I want to keep playing, kick butt, and be a part of Boise State one day.”