Cougar fans watching Sunday's Super Bowl likely thought they had suddenly gone color blind when the ad for Washington State University ran.
A couple of seconds into it, former Tri-Citian Ashtyn Saueressig marches right up to the people holding WSU's crimson and white flags high and asks, "Can I have a picture with it?"
What makes Cougar fans blink is she's wearing her school's colors, orange and black.
So what's an Oregon State University student doing in a WSU commercial? As Saueressig told the flag bearers, "My dad's like biggest Cougar fan in the whole world. Oh, my gosh, he's going to be so excited."
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Her remarks were caught on film and ended up as part of a WSU commercial shown regionally during the Super Bowl.
It was just luck that put her in front of the camera. ESPN was in Corvallis filming a College GameDay segment featuring the OSU Beavers and the University of Oregon Ducks. And for years, wherever ESPN's College GameDay film crews go, so go WSU flag-wavers.
For years, her father, Richland resident Dave Saueressig, a 1988 graduate of WSU, has told her to watch for the flags.
"I said there would be a good chance she would end up on camera," he said.
What Ashtyn didn't realize, even after the WSU film crew pulled her aside and had her sign a release form, was that she would end up on TV.
"If anything, I thought the film might end up online. That it wouldn't be a big deal," she said.
The footage was shot at4:30 a.m. Dec. 4, the day of the "civil war" football game between rivals OSU and the University of Oregon.
"I sent my dad a copy of the photos of me and the WSU flags and then just forgot about it," she said.
Until last Sunday, when one of her uncles texted, "I was just watching you on TV." So were a lot of other people, except her dad and stepmom, Lori.
"We had no idea until people started calling," said Lori."We immediately got online and began e-mailing friends and family. We found (thecommercial) posted onYou Tube within minutes."
Some of her friends at OSU teasingly are calling Saueressig a traitor. But, she says, "I'm a Cougar fan too. My whole extended family went to WSU."
Saueressig said she likely would have attended WSU but she has lived in Portland since her parents' divorce.
"A big part of my decision to attend OSU was paying in-state tuition," she said, adding that she plans to become a teacher. "And they have a cool education program."
To watch the commercial, search the internet for: WSU Super Bowl commercial.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; email@example.com