By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The countdown stands at 121 days until Minnesota takes center stage for the Super Bowl.  Beyond security and downtown business logistics, one of the biggest efforts will be on the volunteers who will help make the days leading up to the big game run smoothly.

Michael Howard is the communications director for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

“It feels like a train that’s officially left the station,” Howard said.

Makeshift office space on Nicollet Mall makes sure that train stays on track.  Inside a headquarters that showcases the Super Bowl and stepping forward.

In the first 48 hours of putting out the call, 9,000 people signed up to be a part of the volunteer team called Crew 52.

“We had a good sense of that energy and excitement and it just continues to build as we move closer to the game,” Howard said.

Now, more than 30,000 have applied.  But, it will be 10,000 people who will get the call back in the coming days that they’ve made the cut.

More than 90 percent of Super Bowl volunteers are coming from Minnesota. You might be surprised how far some folks are willing to drive to be a part of it.

Like Stacy Mente, from the southwest corner of the state in Adrian.  She’s a mother of three and family farmer.  Mente gets points for her church and 4-H volunteering and for her love of cold weather.

“Being from the farm I totally get it, it’s probably going to be cold but I will be prepared,” Mente said.

Mente’s application is one of the more than 500 that have come from cities outside the metro.  Plenty of people are willing to cross the border, too.  Many applicants came from North and South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Stacy Mente found out she made it.

“I think it’s exciting. I think it’s great,” she said.

One now of many tasked with making the experience an unforgettable one for the 1 million visitors who will be here come February.

“All of the planning continues and we’ll be ready,” Howard said.

Volunteers will work three shifts during the 10-day Super Bowl festival.

All 10,000 volunteers for Crew 52 will be notified by mid-October that they made the team.  A big training event for all of them will be held in Minneapolis in November.

Liz Collin