BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Repeat shoppers and first-time guests began flocking to the home of legendary former Vikings Head Coach Bud Grant Wednesday for the start of a three-day garage sale on Oakmere Road.
The sale started at 5 p.m., but the line began hours earlier with fans who watched Grant lead Minnesota to four Super Bowls and a younger generation that's heard stories about the man behind the steely blue eyes.
Maynard Augst said he arrived from Montgomery around noon and sat in his car until others showed up. The wait provided a fun time for Vikings fans to recall some of their favorite memories.
"I had a great time visiting with people because they all had neat stories to tell of their experiences of going to Vikings games," Augst said. "One lady had a collection of autographs from a lot of different players, and she's actually from Wisconsin and is a Vikings fan."
Augst also attended last year's sale, when he selected binoculars, a rocking chair that belonged to Grant's wife, a couple of books and a hat. This year, Augst selected a rocking chair that belonged to Grant's grandmother.
When I walked up to it and saw it was Bud Grant's grandmother's rocking chair, I just couldn't believe it," Augst said. "I spotted it, it was the one thing of all the things there that I wanted, and it was the same thing with last year."
The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Canadian Football Hall of Fame member signed items that were purchased at the sale and items that were brought to the site for a fee.
Augst said he has been careful with the chair he bought last year while sitting in it on game days, and plans to be just as cautious with this year's chair. Augst recalled the sub-freezing temps during the 1974 NFC Championship in which the Vikings beat the Los Angeles Rams 14-10.
"We sat in the bleachers, the cheap seats, I think I paid $15," Augst said. "There were snowbanks and the port-a-potty that I had to go to was surrounded in piles of snow. That was pretty amazing. Of course, the Los Angeles Rams were ready to go home.
"I was a teenager during the big years of the late 60s and early 70s, so my adrenaline was really flowing in those games," Augst added.
Dan Blageo wasn't around for Grant's era that ended with his retirement after the 1985 season, but he has a high level of appreciation from stories from his father.
Blageo brought a Vikings bowling ball he received from his mother-in-law as a Christmas present last year to have it signed by Grant and picked out a shirt and a hat.
"It's my first time being here. It was awesome," Blageo said. "It was nice meeting him and seeing all the stuff he's got. It was a lot of fun.
"Hearing how much he played a role in my dad's life growing up, it means a lot to me that I can meet someone my dad talked about," Blageo said. "It's kind of a neat experience. Not a lot of people get to do that."
Blageo, of New Brighton, said his favorite Vikings memory so far is attending last year's thrilling overtime victory against the Jets that ended on an 87-yard catch-and-run by Jarius Wright after a screen pass by Teddy Bridgewater.
The items on sale ranged from apparel and sports figurines that included John Randle and Robert Smith, Brett Favre (as a Packer) and Peyton Manning as a Colt and Tennessee Volunteer to an assortment of saws and other tools, stools, tables, books and picture frames.
There was also a bargain bin of sorts with $1 cassette tapes that ranged from Patsy Cline and Kenny Rogers to The Czech Lites and Marv Herzog.
Jamie from Victoria, Minn., said the crowd provided music Wednesday by singing "Happy Birthday" to Grant, who turned 88. He found a training camp shirt from 1997 and a famed, framed editorial cartoon that featured a caricature of former Vikings owner Red McCombs from 1998.
Jamie said he's been a Vikings fan forever, through "ups and downs, but Bud was always a positive."
"When I think of the Vikings, that's who I think about," Jamie said. "He kind of defines the Purple. I wish we had a couple more Buds."
Grant, an avid outdoorsman, also put fishing poles, a gun case, a long bow, dozens of fishing lures and even a small outboard motor up for sale, but Clayton Amundson and Spencer Viessman snagged the catch of the day, a northern that had been painted purple, with speckles of gold and white Vikings horns.
Amundson and Viessman are avid fishermen and Vikings fans and snagged the item to match the Vikings carpet in the ice-fishing house they've built.