Bundled in green and blue hoodies and jerseys, a short line of dedicated Seahawks fans waited outside the Pierce County auditor’s office in the cold, dark morning Thursday.
Rain moistened the parking lot of the auditor’s office on South 35th Street, but it didn’t dampen these fans’ spirits. They were all on a mission: to become among the first in the state to buy Seahawks license plates.
One by one, fans emerged triumphant, broad smiles on their faces and often followed by a cheer of “Go Hawks!”
Native Tacoman Ernie White said he’s been a lifelong fan of the Seahawks and was excited for the opportunity to have a license plate to display his Seahawks pride: “I’ve gone through the pain, I’ve gone through the misery. This is a great year to get (plates). For a lifelong fan, this is great.”
The state Department of Licensing has said demand will drive the number of plates sold. Once people pay for the plates, they have another two weeks or so to wait before the state Department of Licensing ships the plates to them in the mail, county Auditor Julie Anderson said.
Requests for personalized Seahawks or Sounders FC plate must be submitted to the Department of Licensing in Olympia, Anderson said.
On Thursday, several customers shouted out their new license plate numbers as they received them. Even the staff at the auditor’s office got into the spirit, with most wearing Seahawks- or Sounders-themed shirts and scarves. With each issued plate, a small cheer erupted in the lobby.
“We opened as early as we possibly could,” Anderson said of the 7 a.m. start time, the earliest opening of a vehicle licensing office in the county.
“I think it was awesome,” said county recording licensing technician Jack Saunders of the early opening. “People were really excited about the Seahawks plates.”
By the end of the day, the Pierce County Auditor’s office had sold 101 Seahawks plates and three Sounders plates. As of 4:25 p.m., Seahawks enthusiasts had bought 1,810 specialized plates statewide, while 148 Sounders plates were issued.