WACO, Texas (KWTX) Third grader Faith Fortenberry and her schoolteacher-mom Leeann, who baked their way to the Sugar Bowl by selling pies to buy tickets to the game and for a 30-hour round-trip charter bus ride, arrived home at around 9 a.m. Thursday with plenty of good memories despite Baylor’s 26-14 loss to Georgia.
“We’re tired” said 8-year old Faith Fortenberry.
“Yesterday was so fun. We were there for 27 hours. But even though we’re tired, we had a great time.”
The two die-hard Baylor football fans dreamed of going to the Sugar Bowl from the moment the Bears’ selection was announced, but they didn’t have the extra money to pay for trip to New Orleans.
But they had an idea how to raise it.
After having a successful bake sale over the Thanksgiving break to provide Christmas for a school-aged child in need, the Fortenberry women decided to open up sales once again for their well-known pies and the response was overwhelming.
In just hours the bakers were maxed out with orders for 60 pies to bake at $12 apiece.
The proceeds bankrolled the bowl trip.
"We just want to say thank you to everyone that bought pies, even some that didn’t want them, to make our dreams come true,” Leeann said.
“That sounds so cliché but for Baylor football we’ll do whatever it takes.”
Leeann didn’t go to Baylor, but growing up in Hubbard she’s always been a big fan of the Bears and so in 2004 she began to buy season tickets to the games and when Faith came along a few years later she began to tag along.
“I work my tail off to keep those tickets,” the teacher of nearly 25 years said.
“We’ve never missed a home game in 15 years but maybe five with Faith being sick.”
Faith was born with SMA type 2 and is currently the national ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
She lives her life in a wheelchair but it’s never stopped her down from doing much of anything, including making frequent trips to McLane Stadium.
When ESPN College Gameday came to town in November, Faith was given backstage passes to meet the hosts and have a front row seat to the broadcast watched around the country.
Leeann says she and Faith have stuck with the Bears through the highs and lows which is why going to the Sugar Bowl was a no brainer for them if they could figure out a way.
“I've been through the ups and downs,” she said.
“We're usually first to get there and last leave. We are diehard and we love the bears. Our whole life revolves around Baylor football. We miss weddings and funerals for Baylor football.”
While Leeann and Faith say the experience was crazy and tiring they say every moment was worth it, even if the Bears didn’t pull off the win they were hoping for.
“We are so proud of our Bears. And it worth all those hours in a bus and every penny and we can’t wait for September,” Leeann said.