COLORADO SPRINGS — All 600 free tickets to this month’s Air Force Academy graduation in Falcon Stadium where President Donald Trump will deliver the commencement address were scooped up in less than 10 minutes Thursday morning.
Trump, who was not scheduled to attend Air Force graduation until next year, bumped Vice President Mike Pence last month as the graduation’s keynote speaker.
The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC office handed out 400 tickets in nine minutes, said Academy spokeswoman Laurie Wilson. Another 200 were spoken for in just eight minutes at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, EDC and Visitor Center in Monument.
“I have honestly seen concerts sell out slower online than these physical tickets,” Wilson said. “The line (in Colorado Springs) went all the way around to almost the Pikes Peak Center … at the Tri-Lakes Chamber the line went all the way around their building and up the alley.”
All other seating at the graduation is reserved for participants, including cadets’ families and guests.
One group camped out in Colorado Springs for the tickets, arriving at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Wilson said. Another person camped out in Monument, showing up around 9 p.m. Wednesday, she said.
“Everybody else started showing up around 5 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. this morning,” Wilson said.
The annual graduation draws as many as 30,000 spectators when the president is the keynote speaker. Graduation at the academy also includes an air show by the Air Force Thunderbirds.
Some years, as many as 1,000 free tickets are available for the graduation, but with the president headlining the event this year, seating is limited, Wilson said.
The graduation ceremony will be May 30.