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Fair Grove, Missouri
January 7, 2005
While we had been to several of our hometown college football games, my family and I had never been to a game between major Division I teams. We went because our son’s high school band had been selected to perform in the halftime show, along with 19 other high school bands. We took the DART rail system train to City Place Station, then boarded a shuttle bus to the game in order to avoid the traffic. The rail station was crowded, and it took at least half an hour to get on a shuttle bus, but it still beat driving in the heavy traffic around the stadium.
Although the game was very lopsided and essentially over in the first quarter, it was a lot of fun to experience a major college bowl game in person. The Tennessee Vols dominated the game, allowing only one Texas A&M touchdown, with 5 minutes left in the game. Tennessee won the game 38 to 7.
Attendance was reported as 75,404—a very large and noisy crowd. The cheers of the fans were so loud that I’m sure they could be heard quite a distance from the stadium. The weather was overcast but warm, making for an enjoyable outdoor experience. There were vendors selling souvenirs, food, and drink, but all these items were expensive, as is typical at sporting events. T-shirts were $30, hot dogs $3.50, and beer was $6 per 16-ounce bottle.
The halftime show was very good. First, the Tennessee band took the field and performed a couple of songs and demonstrated their marching ability. Next, Texas A&M’s band performed a couple of songs and displayed their very impressive marching formations. Their formations were quite detailed and complicated, but they performed them flawlessly. Finally, the 20 high school bands took the field and performed one song as a group. It was impressive that 20 bands could learn to perform together with only 2 days of practice and sound so good. The halftime show was the main reason we went to the game, but we ended up really enjoying the whole experience. We are planning to go back next year or attend a different bowl game.
From journal Dallas Texas for the 2005 SBC Cotton Bowl
The parade was expected to draw approximately 85,000 spectators, but while the crowd was large, I don’t think that many people lined the parade route when the parade commenced at 3pm on New Years Eve. The weather was perfect, with sunny skies and a temperature of 72 degrees. Although there was a large crowd, parking was not a problem, and traffic moved into and out of the area efficiently.
Bands ranged in size from small bands like my son’s, with approximately 65 members, to the Texas A&M Aggie Band, with several hundred members, but all the bands performed well and were a tribute to their respective schools. The Wright City, MO, band won the marching band competition.
At the end of the parade, the bands from the two colleges participating in the SBC Cotton Bowl held pep rallies in separate areas of Fair Park. There were large numbers of fans at both rallies, but the Texas A&M Rally drew a massive crowd, since they were the local favorites over the Tennessee Vols.
In addition to the parade, SBC, the sponsor of the 2005 Cotton Bowl, had a trailer promoting their products and services. People could call anywhere in the country for free, check their email, or have their picture taken in front of various backgrounds and emailed home for free. They also gave away prizes ranging from T-shirts and hats to USB jump-drive memory sticks to those who visited the tent. A few vendors provided snacks on the grounds as well.
Although my son’s band, the Fair Grove High School Marching Eagles, didn’t win the competition, it was a thrill for them to participate in an event of this caliber, and it was a thrill as a parent to have the opportunity to be there.
The combination of beautiful weather and a great afternoon of marching bands made the 2005 SBC Parade of Bands a great afternoon of fun and entertainment.