Kansas City going wild for the Wildcats as Kansas State merchandise flies off shelves

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Bowl Championship Series Standings are out and Kansas State is ranked second, positioning the team with a shot at playing at the BCS National Championship Game in Miami in January.

Thousands of Kansas City residents are wild about the Wildcats, who are 8-0 this season. The team's success is boosting sales of K-State merchandise and encouraging fans to show their Purple Spirit at home and at work.

When customers walk into the Missouri Mud Company Greek Deli and Coffeehouse in Raymore, they enter into Wildcat territory. Three sisters own the restaurant, and they compare the quaint eatery to the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- but with a lot more purple.

Stacie Sampson explained that she and her two sisters share a love of food and everything K-State. Now, their families and their family's families all work together in the restaurant.

The family's obsession with the Wildcats started when family member Clyde Aufner was recruited to play for the K-State football team as an offensive lineman. Although Aufner hung up his football helmet last season, he and his family continue to root for the cats.

"I can't be more excited for the Wildcats and proud to be a former player. I know all of those guys and I'm really happy for their success," Aufer said, adding that he expects the team to become a major force in college football this year.

The Aufner/Sampson families aren't the only ones who can't get enough of K-State's football team.

Kansas State's winning streak has lead the Rally House store on the Country Club Plaza to add an entirely new K-State section because of the demand for Wildcat loot.

"They (customers who are K-State fans) would walk by and say, 'They don't have any K-State stuff in there. We're one of the few winning teams in the area,'" explained Dirk Liebert, Rally House store manager.

The store now carries an assortment of KSU merchandise including Christmas ornaments, T-shirts, sweatshirts, key chains and greeting cards. Liebert noted the store's purple gear is so popular, he can't seem to keep enough in stock. Since August, K-State merchandise sales have skyrocketed 50 percent at Rally House stores throughout Missouri and Kansas, he said.

K-State could be just 4 games from the BCS National Championship Game, while quarterback Colin Klein is one of the top contenders for this season's Heisman Trophy.

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