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  • Writer's pictureAva Severs

Barbeque for Breakfast?

Listening to Nikki Haley speak early this September marked my first Presidential event. Candidates had slowly started to make their presence known in Iowa through the Iowa State Fair. When I was told about the Iowa State Fair, politics managed to work their way in. Unfortunately, I did not attend the Iowa State Fair in 2023. Walking into Jethro's BBQ, it was clear I was not the only one interested in political events in Iowa (no surprise there). When I thought about attending political events, I was not picturing attending a political event in the early hours of a Saturday at a well-known barbeque restaurant.


 As a college student, I was struggling to wake up that morning, but once I walked into the doors of Jethro’s, there was an excitement and interest that filled the air. The sun was shining, and Iowans filled the parking lot. My friends and I were met with a smiling woman wearing a shirt that said “Women for Nikki.” She was eager to welcome us and thank us for being there. Although it seems obvious that you would be welcomed to an event of a presidential candidate, it was almost jarring for your presence at a political event to be so welcomed and excited. We were led to our seats right in front of the stage. 


Before the event, friends from class and I joked that we wanted to see how many attendees would be eating Jethro’s famous wings at 8 in the morning. Surprisingly, no wings were in sight at the event. Few attendees ordered breakfast, but there were no barbeque dishes ordered. This was a little disappointing because Jethro’s is practically famous in Iowa. As an out-of-state voter, I wanted to see Iowans partake in barbeque early on a Saturday morning. The Iowa Caucuses were rumored to be corny but not corny enough to eat barbeque for breakfast. 


After taking our seats, a man who had lived in Iowa since he was young discussed why he was spending his Saturday morning at a political event. A genuine interest in Caucusing for Nikki Haley drew him to Jethros early Saturday morning. As a true Iowan, meeting and listening to politicians in August and September was normal. Four months before the Iowa Caucuses, he discussed his involvement in Iowa politics for a while. While discussing the event and the caucuses, politics seemed to be something to be excited about and look forward to. Typical conversations surrounding elections and politicians can be filled with complaints and doom. However, this was different from the energy I experienced. Instead, I was encouraged to participate and be there for the experiences. 


Nikki Haley discussed the present and future of politics. Attendees were respectful and interested in what she had to say. As she spoke, there were nods of agreement and smiles at statements. Even Haley recognized the excitement, stating, “People are excited; they want something different.” It was refreshing to be in an environment that was positive and interesting for Politics. Everyone seemed just as interested as me to be there. 


Meeting and observing individuals excited me to see a community involved in politics. To see Nikki Haley speak, the space was filled with eager Iowans who were eager to listen and ask questions. The room was so quiet while Haley spoke, which made it clear she was being heard and listened to as a Presidential candidate. 


Almost everywhere you looked, Jethro’s was a television playing college football. Another fact I have learned about Iowans is that they love their college football. For the Iowans this Saturday morning, however, they were more interested in the candidate at the front of the room. Eyes were glued to Haley for the duration of her discussion. After she was finished, not a single person filed towards the door. Instead, everyone quickly walked to the stage, where Haley was happy to meet and speak to the attendees. 


This event at Jethro’s shows that you can experience something you have never thought of if you make an effort in elections. I never thought I would spend a Saturday at 8 a.m. at a barbeque restaurant. However, to earn the votes of Iowans, you seem to need to make an effort to pay attention to what is popular and loved by the state. As a student, I have learned Jethro’s is a beloved barbeque restaurant for Iowans. Nikki Haley also seemed to recognize this and brought a restaurant full of Iowans together. However, nobody seemed to order barbeque for breakfast.

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