Age didn't matter. Neither did professions.
Diversity seemed to be the common thread among hundreds of people gathered at Robert C. Byrd High School Thursday evening to see Tipper Gore, wife of presidential hopeful Al Gore, at a campaign rally.
Infants, senior citizens, students, local politicians and union members stood shoulder to shoulder on the crowded gymnasium floor for a chance to listen to Mrs. Gore. Rock music blared as she took the stage, looking out at a sea of spectators holding "Tipper Rocks" signs.
Some had waited more than two hours to hear her speak.
Friends Lucille Geso, 82, and Genevive Music, 86, both of Clarksburg, came to the rally to show their support and were positioned at the front of the crowd.
Their first political rally, both women have a keen interest in politics and have never missed voting in an election. They are excited about this year's election because it is a tight race. So tight in fact, they will be following it up to the last minute.
"The last one I stayed up to watch was with John F. Kennedy," Music said. "I stayed up for it until 3 a.m. and I'm going to stay up for it this year because it's going to be close."
Senior citizens at the rally weren't the only ones concerned about the political future of the country. Some of the most outspoken of those gathered weren't even old enough to vote.
Siblings Joel Ridgeway,11, Jordan Ridgeway, 9, and Cetera Parker,13, could barely contain their excitement as they waited for the rally to begin. Adorned with Gore/Lieberman campaign buttons and stickers, the children came with their mother Diane Parker, of Grafton.
"I try to keep them up on politics and hopefully someday they'll be interested in voting," Parker said. "They're pretty interested now and I hope they can just hold onto that."
Joel believes that all people should vote and can't wait until the day he gets his chance.
"We've been telling everyone at school we were coming today," Joel said.
"People should vote because one vote can change everything."
Gore later echoed that same sentiment in her speech as she cited this year's presidential election as being as close as the one in 1960.
Members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, dressed in matching T-shirts and hats, stood together in support of Gore. Union member Danny Poling traveled from Parkersburg to meet up with fellow members and attend the rally.
"I think it's great they came here even though West Virginia is a Democratic state 99 percent of the time," said member Robert R. Parrish. "And we are here to show our appreciation."
The group even has its own campaign slogan ready for the next election - "More of Al Gore in 2004," Parrish said.
The group plans to travel to Charleston to see Al Gore at a rally on Friday.
Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or email@example.com.