AMES, Iowa -- Lost amid Cyclone fans' the weekend-long celebration following a sweep of the Oklahoma Sooners in men’s basketball was some recognition of a part of Hilton Magic that doesn’t get much notice: Hilton Concessions.
This includes treats like Clone Cones, walking tacos, and Lotta-Pop Popcorn. One ESPN broadcast team has crowned Hilton as the Best in the Big 12.
ESPN announcers Bob Wischusen and Fran Fraschilla spend a lot of time in arenas of the Big 12 during basketball season, giving them the chance to sample all the Big 12's cuisine.
On Saturday, they taped a segment before the game showing them loading up on walking tacos and sucking down a Clone Cone. Fraschilla called Hilton’s food “The Best of the Big 12.”
“The walking taco, that's genius,” said Wischusen. “That's like splitting the atom as far as I'm concerned, what they've done here at Hilton.”
Fraschilla compared the food at Hilton to the Iowa State Fair, donning a napkin and eating some White Chocolate Lotta-Pop Popcorn while discussing the game on air.
For the makers of Lotta-Pop Popcorn in Ankeny, it was an unexpected endorsement.
“It was really neat, it's a fantastic opportunity for us, doesn't happen very often,” said Arlie Brandmeyer, owner of Lotta-Pop. “We have a great product and we're glad he liked it.”
“Dad started in 1969. We mainly farmed at the beginning," said Brandmeyer. “We downsized the farm, now do a lot of events so we do downtown farmers markets, Iowa State athletics, Drake athletics, and Iowa Speedway."
Brandmeyer grows the popcorn he sells on a 70-acre farm near Ankeny. He has found popcorn to be popular not only at sporting events, but also as corporate gifts, and has even made its way to the snack table at weddings.