Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama will be making a campaign stop in Grand Junction Monday. For thousands of excited Western Slope residents, Saturday was about the race to get the free tickets to the big event.
And it was no trip to the box office. The line started at the Western Slope Campaign for Change Office at 844 Grand Avenue, went down Grand Avenue to 8th Street, up 8th Street to Ouray Avenue, across Ouray Avenue to 9th Street, down 9th street back to Grand, across Grand to 10th Street, and up 10th Street.
Fortunately for history teacher Chris Prickett, that was not the case when he showed up early Saturday morning.
"It started at five forty-five when I got here and it was dark and cold," said Prickett.
Prickett says he missed out on World Series tickets last year and wasn't about to pass up on another huge moment in his home state.
"This is a historic event and I needed to be here, whether it was Obama or McCain," said Prickett.
As the sun began to rise, Prickett soon realized he wasn't the only one who had to be at Monday's event.
"We got here a little after six," said Elaine Muldowney, who drove from Eckert with her husband to get tickets.
"We got here about eight thirty," said Shannon, Wytulka, an Obama supporter.
"I didn't get here until nine," said Martha Graf, a Grand Valley resident hoping to score tickets.
"It was a big deal to us to have the opportunity and so we took it," said Frank Muldowney.
Some passed the time with music, while others spent the hours taking a mid-morning nap. A few even used the wait to catch up on work.
"I should really be in the office getting organized for next week," said Graf. "But this is something that doesn't ever happen."
But most said it was the adrenaline and sheer excitement of what awaited them that kept them going.
"This is the most exciting thing that's happened in Mesa County in a long time," said Mary Beth Pyle, Chair of the Mesa County Democrats. "That crowd is just amazing, everyone's pumped up and it's just so exciting."
Obama supporters say the turnout shows a lot about the changing dynamics of politics on the Western Slope.
"People are ready for a change and I think they're showing it by being here today," said Wytulka.
"To have a national candidate acknowledge that we exist and come here is very exciting," said Elaine Muldowney.
Then at noon, the big payoff -- hundreds secured their spot at the main event.
"It's been a long morning, but I feel good about it," said Prickett.
Tickets were gone within an hour. While some left empty-handed and upset, others say they're still just happy their candidate is coming to the Grand Valley.
"I'm disappointed," said one Obama supporter. "But I'm still very hopeful."
The Obama campaign would not say how many tickets were passed out this morning. Calls to their press office were not returned.