Hospitality (southern style) and history are two of the themes that come to mind after visiting Memphis last week. Oh, and of course, one heck of a fun time!While attending media activities for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, our travel party toured the landscape and talked with the locals about the Cyclones’ trip to Memphis. There were hospitable folks at every turn. They are proud of their bowl game / festivities and want it to share it with visitors. The AutoZone Liberty Bowl is a community endeavor and that’s apparent. Everywhere Executive Director Steve Ehrhart took us, we were greeted with enthusiasm, a firm handshake or a hug. It’s southern hospitality. The historical nature of the bowl embraces you. The game has been around for 50-plus years and is the seventh-oldest bowl. Great coaches have coached in this game. Great players have played in this game. The Liberty Bowl itself, built in 1965, looks like a smaller version of the “Big Sombrero” in Tampa. It’s clean and sight lines are great. You just feel college football inside the walls. What about fun? You can make your own fun, but it’s guaranteed that Beale Street is on the must-do list. The city of Memphis circles the last week of every year on its calendar. It’s their showcase. On the day before the game, the lineup includes a parade, pep rally for both schools and “Cyclone Central” bashes up-and-down the city’s famous Beale Street. On game-day, the bowl’s spectacular pep rally / buffet / tailgate leads into the game. After a Cyclone victory, it’s Beale Street again where you can expect 40,000 others to help you ring in the New Year. Our party just got a sample of Memphis last week. That only whetted our appetites.
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