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Tent count up to 445 on second day of Madness camp-out

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These fans were among the first to set up at the Big Blue Madness ticket camp-out. (Chet White, UK Athletics) These fans were among the first to set up at the Big Blue Madness ticket camp-out. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
We're still almost 48 hours away from the actual distribution of tickets, but the population of "Tent City" is swelling. The number of tents packing the lawn surrounding Memorial Coliseum and the Joe Craft Center is up to approximately 445 as of 9 a.m. Thursday, up from just under 400 late Wednesday afternoon.

On the second morning of last year's camp-out for Big Blue Madness tickets, the tent count sat at 395. The 2010 camp-out would go on to set a record of 525 tents and this year's edition is on pace to top that record.

I had a chance to walk around the camp-out a bit this morning and mingle with a few people and I overheard a conversation that reminded me just how unique this event is. A woman was passing through the camp-out on her way to work and she stopped to chat with a camper. It turned out the woman had just moved to Lexington and had absolutely no idea why people were camping out, so she was naturally curious.

She asked the camper why all the tents were set up and he explained they were waiting for tickets to a UK basketball event. The woman responded by asking who UK would be playing and the camper told her it was actually just a practice. Surprised, the woman asked how long everyone had been there. The man said most of the campers had arrived early Wednesday morning. The woman took the answer in stride, but then said, "Wait, you SLEPT out here?"

To those used to being around Kentucky basketball, the Big Blue Madness ticket camp-out may seem normal. The event happens every year so it becomes almost routine. Hearing and seeing someone totally unfamiliar with the tradition ask questions and learn about exactly what's going on reminded me this camp-out is anything but routine, anything but normal.

In sports, the passion of UK fans knows no equal and I'm not sure there's any time that passion is more on display than this week.

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