'All My Rowdy Friends ... Are Here on Thursday Night'

(With apologies to Hank Williams, Jr.)

Those Sioux City-bound for Thursday night's Fox News Republican presidential candidates debate should prepare for a "rowdy crowd."

Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn predicts a loud and charged-up audience for the final debate before the Jan. 3 caucuses.

In addition to being the last in a long series of pre-caucus/primary debates, Strawn notes the crowd should be very different from previous audiences, including the most recent debate on Saturday night hosted by ABC.

Watch the Fox News debate on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET from the Sioux City Convention Center.

First of all, Strawn points out a large bloc of tickets to Saturday's debate went to the host, Drake University. The Fox News debate audience will include far more partisans.

"We could have (given away) another 1,000 tickets (for the debate)," Strawn said.

Adding to the excitement is that this remarkably is the first presidential debate in Sioux City, the heart of red-dirt Republican territory.

"People out there are psyched for this," Strawn said. 

Topping it off are the stakes surrounding the debate.

"If a candidate doesn't have momentum by then, this may be the last chance to get it (before the caucuses)," said long-time GOP activist Chuck Laudner.

High stakes. Excited host city. Packed house of enthusiastic supporters. Hope Bret, Megyn, Chris and Neil bring their headsets. They might need them.

Steve Brown is an author, radio broadcaster and seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.