WEBSTER CITY - Murph, Andy and the boys are on their way.
The longest tailgate party in preparation for Saturday's Cy-Hawk rivalry will make a stop in Webster City on Wednesday when RV-TV - the popular tradition spearheaded by WHO-TV Sports Director Keith Murphy - glides inside the city limits.
Murphy and his SoundOff co-anchor Andy Fales will be joined by fellow reporters John Sears and Michael Admire for the event. Photo journalist Brandon McCauley will be on hand to document the festivities.
Members of the WHO-TV sports team that will be in Webster City on Wednesday for RV-TV include (left to right) reporter/weekend anchor John Sears, Sports Director Keith Murphy, SoundOff co-host Andy Fales and reporter Michael Admire. The tailgate will start at 2 p.m.
The legendary RV the team travels in all week will set up shop on Second Street, just east of the Des Moines Street intersection.
The Channel 13 sports team will do the newscasts on location at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. The Murph and Andy radio show, on the air daily from 2-4 p.m. on 1460 KXNO, will broadcast live from the Webster City Chamber of Commerce office.
This is the 13th year that Murphy has hit the road for RV-TV. He made his first excursion while with WOI-TV 20 years ago and he brought the tradition to WHO-TV three years later.
"The first time we did it was in the middle of the Hawkeyes' 15-game winning streak and there was very little buzz about the game," Murphy said. "I had the idea to hype the game in almost a fun way and it went over very well."
In the early years the RV camped out at the stadium in the days leading up to the game. It was only later that the decision to travel to different communities came about and that's when RV-TV became the can't-miss-event that it is today.
"When we made the decision to freshen it and stop in a different town each night on the way to the game, that kind of reenergized it and made it bigger," Murphy said. "We kind of provide an excuse to have a big town tailgate and I think that's why it's grown.
"If somebody just makes it all about, 'Hey, come out and see these guys and watch them do the newscast,' it's not as much fun for the town as those that set up a dunk tank and have tug-of-wars. It plays much bigger."
Webster City isn't about to let the opportunity slip though its fingers. A number of events are scheduled throughout the day, including:
Kid Zone End Zone (4-7 p.m.): spin art, face painting, a coloring contest and football toss.
Herky and Cy live on the street (4:30-6:30 p.m.).
Doodlebug races featuring none other than Murphy and Fales (5 p.m.).
Tug-of-war contests, pitting fans of Iowa and Iowa State against one another (6 p.m.).
A bean bag contest (6 p.m.).
The chili cook-off judging and eating (6-8 p.m.).
*Dance Connection performing live (7 p.m.).
Roasting smores in the fire pits on the street (8-10 p.m.).
The streets surrounding the party will close at noon. Tailgating is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. with area businesses giving away sandwiches.
Murphy and Fales are veterans of the week-long journey. Sears will be making his second appearance after joining WHO-TV last year, and this will be the first time Admire gets to experience the hoopla.
"Michael's really looking forward to it and I'm anxious to see what he thinks by the end of it,"?Murphy said.
Murphy admits RV-TV has been bolstered by the fact that the football game has become more competitive over the past 15 years. After being thought of as a second-class citizen in the state for many years - the Hawkeyes dominated with 15 consecutive victories from 1983-97 - Iowa State has made a resurgence and owns a 9-6 advantage since 1998. The Cyclones ripped off five straight wins starting in '98 and have really been a thorn in the side of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, who is 6-8 all-time against Iowa State.
The level playing field has added to the Iowa State fan base, Murphy says.
"There's no doubt the state still tilts black and gold, but we've seen more Cyclone representation (at RV-TV) than say five years ago and definitely more than 10 years ago,"?he said.
The Cyclones will step onto the grass at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday riding a two-game win streak against the Hawkeyes.
Above all else, Murphy says he hopes the RV-TV experience brings smiles to the faces of those that attend.
"The most frequent comment we get is, "Thanks for coming and doing something positive for our town.' So it's fun to have people be reminded that the news doesn't take place in our studio or exclusively in Des Moines. It's out in the various towns,"?he said.
RV-TV kicked off in Creston on Monday. It travels to Jefferson today before Wednesday's trip to Webster City. Iowa Falls will join the party on Thursday before the crew travels to Ames for Friday and Saturday.
Iowa and Iowa State will kickoff at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be televised nationally by FS1.