It's hard to complain when the Tigers keep winning, said 28-year-old Harry Rome.
Three different hotel check-ins, a group laundry trip and endless hours waiting in lines, on the phone or scrounging the internet for tickets have simply been part of the journey for Rome and the nine other Fred's Bar employees in Omaha for the College World Series.
The owner of the Tigerland bar told the crew to, "'Go have fun, and don't come back until the Tigers lose,'" said Rome, a manager at the bar. "It's been wild."
They arrived in Omaha after an almost 17-hour drive among three vehicles June 16, the evening before LSU's first round game against Florida State. Armed with a Fred's moose flag and even a moose hat, the group has since dwindled to seven — Rome, four bartenders and two bar backs, one of whom is the only girl — but they are in it for the long haul.
"It's really been great," Rome said. "Seeing the four guys come back (to the team) and seeing how much they really care— it's definitely got an '09 feel."
Brett McMasters, a lifelong Tigers fan, wished he could have been there for the whole series, but when the team made it to the finals, he knew he was going — even if it meant alone.
"This has been a bucket list of mine since they started making it in the '90s," McMasters said.
The 15-hour drive from Walker to Omaha is a "walk in the park" for the 36-year-old, who has driven more than 30 hours from different Army bases where he was stationed in order to watch a Tigers weekend series at LSU's Alex Box Stadium.
After none of his friends would commit to the drive to Omaha, McMasters left late Sunday with plans to drive through the night for Monday's game. This year could be it, he said.
"The team's got heart," McMasters said. "With the tweets from the players, them doing their hair and everything else, they've got that camaraderie, the brotherhood is running deep and Florida's just in the way right now."
McMasters said he's saving almost $400 by driving instead of flying and he plans to sleep in his back seat.
"I'd rather buy a T-shirt from Omaha … or food at the stadium," he said. Monday's ticket already cost him more than $100, while Tuesday's are inching toward $200 apiece, he said.
Also heading north Sunday was 29-year-old Austin Langley with his soon-to-be brother-in-law and father-in-law.
"You got to jump at the opportunity when it presents itself," said Langley, a 2010 LSU grad.
The three had planned to fly to Omaha, but each time they tried to reserve their flight, the transaction failed and prices went up, skyrocketing to as much as $2,500 a ticket, Langley said. So they hit the road, packed with a jambalaya pot and their tailgating supplies.
Langley and his family did have success booking a hotel for their stay, making them part of the influx of fans that hotels in the area have seen since the final teams were announced for the College World Series.
Sleep Inn Omaha, a hotel that's a nine-minute drive from TD Ameritrade Park, reported 10 to 15 percent increases in occupancy since the Tigers defeated Oregon State twice, said Emily Benson, a hotel manager.
"All of my LSU fans and all of my media have expanded their stay to the end of the College World Series," Benson said.
The La Quinta Inn in Carter Lake, Iowa, reported a spike in the last two weeks, as well as the last couple of days, a front desk worker said. Management from two other hotels, who asked to remain unnamed, reported an increase the last few days.
Bradford Smith was convinced to head back to Omaha after he went in 2009, this time with his dad and brother — and with a little more planning.
Last time, Smith went with some of his buddies: no tickets, no plans, no hotel rooms. They almost bought a tent from Walmart to sleep in, until they ran into a friend who said they could crash on the floor.
"We're doing it a little better than last time," said Smith, who is looking forward to the atmosphere in Omaha, the new stadium and sharing the experience with his family. Oh, and winning.
"I think we have a real good shot; we've faced the best arms in the country already this year," said Smith, who holds both an undergraduate degree and a law degree from LSU. "I think they absolutely have what it takes."