WOODWAY, Texas (KWTX) A longtime schoolteacher and her 8-year-old daughter who are both diehard Baylor football fans say they didn’t have the extra money in their budget this holiday season to get to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans to watch the Baylor Bears take on the Georgia Bulldogs Wednesday night, so they decided to bake their way to the Big Easy.
Leeann Fortenberry and her daughter, Faith, decided to bake pies and sell them to raise the money to get to the game after they had a successful bake sale over Thanksgiving in which they baked pies and sold them to provide Christmas for a school-aged kid in need.
This past week, the mother-daughter duo baked and sold 60 pies at 12 dollars apiece, bringing in enough cash to buy $10 seats to the game and two tickets aboard a fan charter bus that’s traveling from Waco to New Orleans and straight back home after the game.
"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 and Faith opened the orders up just days ago letting friends and family members know online the money raised would be put toward making the trek to support the green and gold.
The response was overwhelming and the pair cut the orders off at 60.
They baked day and night from Dec. 22 through Christmas Eve in order to get all the orders out in time for Christmas meals.
Leeann and Faith delivered some 30 minutes away to Leeann’s hometown of Hubbard while the majority of the pies were picked up at their Woodway home.
“We had an assembly line to get them done,” Leeann said.
“Then when people came to pick them up we made it like a Christmas open house with music. It was like a party.”
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 die hard and we love the bears. Our whole life revolves around Baylor football. We miss weddings and funerals for Baylor football.”
Leeann and Faith will leave Waco at 5 a.m. Wednesday aboard a Continental Touring Solutions bus out of Dallas.
They plan to arrive to New Orleans in time for a tailgate at 2 p.m. before attending the game which begins at 7:45.
When the game ends, the Fortenberrys will board the bus and head straight back to Waco.
“I told Faith ‘you know what if the Baylor Bears go to a big bowl, we’ll figure out a way to get there.’ And we did. Sic ‘em Bears!”