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The secret to postcard perfection at The Road to Omaha statue

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OMAHA — It almost stretches to the corner of 13th and Cuming streets, the line of fans who want their picture taken in the front of "The Road to Omaha" statue.

Some fans set up right under the statue. A few kids sit on the base of it to keep a good height line with their parents. Others — perhaps to give the statue its due — stand almost to the side of it, near the edges of its base.

The one constant, from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the statue, is the photographer. Susan Estep.

She’s one of the CWS ambassadors outfitted with a double-pocketed backpack that has a prominent College World Series flag sticking up and out from it. On a breezy day, the wind whips at this flag like a gust pulling a kite. Estep jokes she’ll blow over. She doesn’t.

Estep lived in Omaha for 14 years — two sons and all of her grandkids still do — but she’s moved, with her husband, to California. His job’s out there. The kids — and the CWS — is here.  Estep answers fans’ questions — where to go, how to get there — and takes photos.

First, a couple vertical portraits. Then, a few horizontal landscapes.

Road to Omaha statue

CWS ambassador Susan Estep takes a photo for Arkansas fans in front of The Road to Omaha statue. 

“People are great about taking each other’s photos — ‘I’ll take yours if you take mine’ — but there are things that I learned about taking photos the last couple years,” says Estep, in her second year as an ambassador.

She has a secret just for the statue photos — 0.05 zoom. When she zooms out just that much, she can get the top of the stadium, the Charles Schwab name, all of it. It’s a lucky postcard option for the fan’s gallery.

“Which way is the best way to go to Gate 2?” one fan asks her in between questions from a reporter.

“Straight down this road,” she says, indicating the first-base line of the stadium. “But don’t stop when you see all the people lined up for the club entrance. Keep going.”

Next up: A group of Arkansas fans. As the Razorbacks prepared to take on Auburn in a Tuesday night elimination game, they comprised the bulk of Estep’s photo requests at dinner time. One group, including a woman carrying a white, glittery purse with the word “Sooie” embroidered in red, wanted to know if there were any fun facts about the statue. Another group was the family of an Arkansas player.

But fans other teams — or just fans of baseball — lined up, too. Texas A&M fans basked in the glory of a Tuesday afternoon win. A Texas fan, prominent in burnt orange, thanked Estep twice as he stood among a group of friends. A dude in a Christian Yelich Milwaukee Brewers jersey had one taken, then walked up the steps to Gate 1 to await entry.

Estep doesn’t have to take the photos. She loves to take do it. It’s one of the happiest moments of the entire CWS for each fan who hands her their phone.

“Even when their teams lose, it’s OK,” Estep said. “Typically it’s families, so you gets lots of smiles, Christmas card photos. Puts Omaha on the map, you know?"

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