Olivia Mancino-Hinde marveled at the throngs of Republican faithful who stood in line for hours Saturday in Topeka to fill the Kansas Expocentre to its rafters.
The 13-year-old from Salina doesn't have many friends who share her enthusiasm for President Donald Trump, and she was thrilled to see so many others reveling in the joy of seeing him.
"I'm really excited because it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Mancino-Hinde said.
She likes how outgoing Trump is, and how he's trying to secure the borders. Others praised his work on the economy and selection of a U.S. Supreme Court justice who could become a difference-maker for a number of conservative issues, including the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Mary Claire Bien, a 19-year-old student at Kansas State University who opposes abortion, rejoiced in a thundering cheer that swept the parking lot as news broke that the Senate had confirmed the appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
She is drawn to Trump, she said, because "he shares a lot of values with me. Family is very important to him."
Bien was among the 45,000 people who RSVP'd for the rally, said Brad Parscale, the Topeka native who manages Trump's campaign. He said that was perhaps the highest number he has seen for a Midwest rally yet. Only about 11,000 could enter the facility before the fire marshal cut them off.
"Kansas is Trump country," Parscale said.
Paul Karpinski wasn't sure if he would make it in. The retired Army veteran drove up from Wichita in hopes of seeing a sitting president for the first time.
Karpinski was born in Poland but came to the United States in 1954. He remembers the "horror stories" his mother told him about the Germans and decided to make a career out of serving in the Army, which he did for 22 and a half years.
His service took him to Germany, Okinawa and Vietnam, where he was wounded in the leg in the 1960s. He came to Kansas in 1970.
He praised Trump for fostering the greatest economy of the past 50 years.
"He kept his promise to make America great again," Karpinski said.
Many of the supporters wore hats or carried signs promoting that message. Other signs read: "Women for Trump," "Finish the Wall" and "Promises Made, Promises Kept." One man wore a T-shirt that read "free hugs."
There were deafening chants of "U.S.A.!" and "drain the swamp" from the gleeful crowd, and unbridled enthusiasm when the president took the stage. Much of the crowd was on its feet throughout Trump's speech, applauding his accomplishments and aiming boos toward news media penned in the middle of the arena.
Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by James Mitchell, roamed the crowd inside and out. Mitchell is this year's winner of the Lincoln, Kan., lookalike contest, and he wanted people to know he put the 34th star on the great state of Kansas.
For Ambra Denham, the rally was a wish come true. Saturday was her birthday, and "this is what I wanted," she said.
Her husband, Chad, and three of their children secured spots on the floor, as close to the president as they could get.
"It's a pretty neat opportunity to be this close," Chad Denham said.
As the owner of a scrap salvage business in the Kansas City area, he appreciates Trump's deal-making abilities. The president is making China deal with him whether the country wants to or not, he said.
He also appreciates Trump's disregard for being politically correct, as long as he gets the job done.
"Any time you can affect the economy in a positive way, I'm always in favor of that," Chad Denham said. "Do I like everything about him? No, but I don't like everything about myself, either."