It was a classic '70s rust bucket, right down to its striped wallpaper and harvest-gold linoleum.
But through the rose-tinted glasses — no, make that the Seahawks-blue shades — of superfandom, this collection of friends and neighbors knew they'd found their perfect tailgate-party trailer.
"Dude, it looks sweet. That hawk looks amazing," marveled Armond Garcia when he and his buddies picked up their freshly detailed trailer, scheduled to make its debut outside tonight's first Seahawks exhibition game.
The eight Lake Stevens men — all season-ticket holders — combined $3,000 of their own cash with contributions from a growing list of sponsors to transform their 1975 Bell travel trailer into a Seahawks partymobile.
And they sweet-talked Seahawks management into granting them a season parking pass for Qwest Field's primo, sold-out north parking lot.
"I love their spirit; it's terrific," said John Rizzardini, the team's chief marketing officer.
Their devotion was spawned in the 1980s, when as young boys they shared the excitement of the Seahawks' first buzz of glory.
"I grew up watching Steve Largent and Dave Krieg," said Garcia, 30. "They went to the playoffs, but they never got past the second round."
Group masterminds Art Miranda and Justin Reid spotted the 14-foot, yellow-and-white trailer a few months ago, sitting in a Lake Stevens front yard with a "for sale" sign. For $500, it was theirs.
Then the work began. Gone are the decades of rust, the gummy collection of camping stickers, the vintage curtains and cushions. A mock hardwood floor replaced the linoleum, the windows are tinted black, new rims and tires are in place and the men paid a professional to paint the exterior with a glossy coat of "helmet blue."
This week they turned the trailer over to Casey DuBeau, a Marysville man who's done work on Country Music Television's "Trick My Truck" series. He and a two-man crew donated a 10-hour painting marathon, adding airbrushed Seahawks logos to every side.
The men planned to spend Friday adding final touches — a ceiling covering of green turf, marbled blue wallpaper, a couple of small plasma TVs on the interior walls.
The biggest-ticket item — a 50-inch plasma TV, to be hung outside during the game parties — should be in place for the first regular season game, Sept. 17 against Arizona.
Reid hopes to swing a sponsor for that, too, as well as a donated satellite dish. The reward? The men's abiding gratitude plus a bit of permanent advertising. The logos of all sponsors will be affixed to the sides of the trailer.
DuBeau, who estimated the paint job's worth at about $2,000, plans to paint a few more details before the Sept. 17 kickoff. The propane tanks will resemble footballs, and a huge 12 — symbolizing the fans, called "the 12th Man" — will be painted on the trailer's roof. Pedestrians won't be able to see it, but it's not for them.
"It's for the helicopter shots, and the blimp," said Reid. And the fans in the upper stadium levels, added Garcia.
They planned to arrive at the stadium about noon today to guarantee a prime parking spot before the 7 p.m. game against Dallas.
The first die-hard fan staked out an RV spot in the north lot Thursday, said Rizzardini, who's looking forward to this year's tailgate scene.
"It's fun to just walk around, see what kinds of food people have, how everyone is dressed," he said. "Just soaking up all the fans' spirit."
Diane Brooks: 425-745-7802 or email@example.com