The checkout line probably lasted longer than the actual University of Kentucky athletics surplus sale.
By 10 a.m., the line of those waiting to pay stretched through the Nutter Field House turf — twice. It was chock-full of people with garbage bags full of discounted UK athletics gear, from rain suits to sweat shirts, ball bats to football helmets.
Alex Green of Paintsville was looking for a blue football jersey with the number “85,” to commemorate his 1985 birthday. He found a white football jersey. Next year he hopes to get a matching blue one.
Season ticket-holders were admitted at 8 a.m., the general public at 9:30 a.m. A line outside the Nutter Field House was more than 300 deep by 9 a.m.
But the time to get in line? That was considerably earlier.
Tyler Tipton of Richmond and his mother Jennifer Tipton lined up at 6:15 a.m., unaware that only season ticket-holders would be admitted at 8 a.m. They were admitted as guests of season ticket-holders.
Tyler Tipton was delighted with the selection and prices: “There’s a selection I can’t find in the big stores, all at a fraction of the price,” he said, standing next to a bag full of shirts, shorts and hoodies.
Chris Bowling of Corbin had, for him, a special item: A UK gear bag, one of only a few available.
How much is it? he was asked.
“I have no clue,” he replied. “I’m buying it anyway.”
Melissa and Stephen Clines of Columbus, Ohio used the strategy of many sale participants: Get in early, grab the stuff you might want, then stake out your pile, sort it and try it on.
Stephen Clines was particularly pleased with a pair of men’s athletic shoes: “Those are $150 shoes that are $20.”
Several shoppers compared the sale to the now-defunct Filene’s Basement store “running of the brides,” in which engaged women would storm the store for sales promising deep discounts on wedding wear.
Dan Rieffer and his father-in-law Harold Frazier emerged with items including a gray Nike Dri-Fit zip-up.
“There’s nothing in there for the women, really,” Frazier observed.
That didn’t stop women from flooding into the field house, where the remaining merchandise was looking distinctly picked over by the time 10 a.m. rolled around. Some shoppers even brought their children.
Melissa Clines admitted that most of the gear was being purchased for her husband, but she didn’t mind sitting in a folding chair and watching him model it for her before joining the huge checkout line.
Stephen Clines said that the pair were up for a sale “any time you can get UK stuff at a good price.”