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UND students to sell 'Beer Lady' T-shirts

Two UND students are hoping that Fighting Sioux hockey fans' love of Beer Grandma will translate into T-shirt sales. Tommy Van Norman and Jake McConkey belong to UND Mortar Board, an honor society for senior undergraduates. The group's biggest ev...

'Beer Lady' T-shirt design
Info from group's Facebook page: Beer Lady shirts will be on sale this Friday. Shirts are $10 and will be kelly green. Location for sale will be near the Ralph along 6th Street. (Time is TBD) Only 200 shirts were ordered in the first order, and will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis.

Two UND students are hoping that Fighting Sioux hockey fans' love of Beer Grandma will translate into T-shirt sales.

Tommy Van Norman and Jake McConkey belong to UND Mortar Board, an honor society for senior undergraduates. The group's biggest event each year is a turkey basket drive, which provides local families with a free Thanksgiving dinner.

Each group member has to raise money for the drive, and Van Norman said it didn't take long to come up with a fundraising idea when he read recent Herald articles about 85-year-old Northwood, N.D., resident Beth Delano.

Delano became a local celebrity in early 2009 when Fighting Sioux Sports Network cameras panning the crowd before a game caught her with a beer in hand. She soon became the arena's unofficial Beer Grandma, though she told the Herald she prefers "Beer Lady."

Delano was often featured on the arena's scoreboard and even had a part in a commercial for the university's continuing education department. The Herald reported last week that UND President Robert Kelley asked Ralph Engelstad Arena officials about a year and a half ago to consider not showing Delano anymore.

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"We kind of had a few different fundraising ideas, but then after the whole Beer Lady controversy and with how many people like her, we thought it would be fun to put her on a shirt," Van Norman said.

The students created 200 green T-shirts with a white outline of Delano sipping a beer and the words "We Heart Beer Lady." They made the shirts with the permission of Delano and the Herald, which took the photo for a 2009 article.

Van Norman said it seemed like a perfect way to raise money for a good cause.

"I haven't missed a UND game all year," he said. "And she became kind of famous my freshman year when I was here. I'm definitely a fan of hockey."

Van Norman and McConkey will start selling the shirts for $10 around 4:30 p.m. Friday on Sixth Avenue North near the arena. They will not be on arena property.

Van Norman, a criminal justice major, said he hopes to sell all 200 before Friday's game against St. Cloud State University.

"There is a lot of buzz going around campus and on Facebook about them," he said. "We're just hoping people will spend the $10 to buy one."

Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send email to rjohnson@gfherald.com .

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