2022 Bama Million Dollar Band Pre-game Practice at SCHS

Music fans got a treat on the third Saturday in October when the Bama Million Dollar Band held their pre-game practice at the Sevier County High School stadium. As a former ‘band kid’ in high school at Morristown West, I knew that it was ‘a must visit’ to enjoy the sound of this amazing, collegiate band.

A number of tour buses and trucks were already in the high school bus loading area upon my arrival. I always like looking at this 18 wheeler.

We got out of our cars and followed the sound of music to the stadium.

It was a perfect fall morning for spectators to take in the sights and sounds.

The band itself is enormous while in field position so I had to ‘do a stadium’ and stand at the top to get a full shot.

I worked with Doc Ramsey ‘ back in the day’ at SCHS so I decided to go up and give him a quick greeting during a break.

Conducting practice from the press box.

Retired band director, Doc Ramsey, hosted the Bama band during his years at SCHS and continues the connection today. Pictured are retired SCHS band director, Doc Ramsey, (left) and director of the Bama Million Dollar Band, Dr. Kenneth Ozzello.

Here is ‘time hop’ via screenshot of Russell ‘Doc’ Ramsey as Drum Major for the University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Band. Go Vols!

The Million Dollar Band practices an entrance to the field. I always enjoy the entrance!

Cotton Eyed Joe

After the practice and lunch, the band begins the journey to Neyland Stadium. It is quite thrilling to see the motorcade lead buses up Chapman Highway to the game. If you happen to be nearing an intersection on Main Street, I can testify that it is particularly exciting when you hear sirens and see local police stop traffic within a split second.

These musicians have put in the practice and are quite a delight to see in person. Try to see the band practice and motorcade in a couple of years when they return for a home game with the Vols. It is truly a Million Dollar Band and we got to see it in here in Sevierville.

Buc-ees is on the way!

The Buc-ees super convenience store/gas station will arrive in Sevierville around summer 2023. You can see the building going up now, located on the hill on the right before exit 407. There are 40 Buc-ees stores so the Sevierville site is an important location as they expand through the Southeast. My friends and I could not wait until next summer, so we decided to see a play at the Cumberland County Playhouse and stop by the Crossville Buc-ees to see it for ourselves on the way home. Here are my impressions from the visit and what we may expect at the Sevierville store.

  1. Lots of gas pumps. I have heard Buc-ees may have 90 pumps or more.
2. Lots of super clean restrooms. Guaranteed that you will never have to wait.

3. Any snack that you can think of can probably be found at Buc-ees.

Notice the Little Debbie Cakes that you can buy individually and the wall of treats.

4. A huge selection of jerky—a keto snack.

5. The famous Buc-ees brisket. I first saw this from a Youtube influencer who visited Buc-ees and bought several snacks, plus brisket in Texas. Brisket is one of my favorites so that was what we got for supper. There is a ‘grab and go’ area for food to choose chopped or sliced brisket. I opted for chopped, which was very good, but I will try the sliced version next time. We forgot to take a picture of our sandwiches.

6. Healthy food choices too

7. Seasonal decor. I was not expecting to find seasonal decor at the convenience store, but there was quite a bit there and it was fun to browse.

8. The Buc-ees beaver mascot is everywhere. It must be one of the most successful examples of marketing / branding in the travel industry at this time.

9. Unique gifts and souvenirs.
10. The best coffee and drink area along the U.S. interstate system. It is a coffee lovers dream!

Lots of choices and any kind of sweetener or creamer that you could think of.

Anyone need any ice?

After spending an hour browsing, I made my way to the cash register.
Buc-ees will be a great resource for travelers and locals alike with their selection of things to eat and drinks, gifts, and gas. However, there was one thing that was very confusing to me. With all the fresh food and snacks ready to eat—there is nowhere to sit and eat. No dining area. No picnic tables. Nothing. Travelers must eat on the go, carry it to your destination, or go to a rest area to eat, which is what we did on our trip. On the other hand, no dining areas must save the company money in regard to cleaning and trash so it may be a good idea for them.

We enjoyed Buc-ees and I know that I will stop by frequently to buy coffee, drinks, and brisket. It is a very clean and efficient place for visitors coming in or going home. We look forward to this mega-convenience store at the gateway to the Smoky Mountains. See you at the coffee fill up area!

A Fourth Mural in Downtown Sevierville: Country Music Legends at the Pines Theater

A new mural can be found in downtown Sevierville at the corner of Court Avenue and Joy Street on the side of the old Pines Theater building. The mural depicts famous country music artists who once played at the old theater, including a young Dolly Parton. I was lucky to catch the mural artist in the last stages of his work.

On September 8, 2022, I found Seth Bishop outlining the figures for the mural. He is also the artist who painted the second mural in Seveville. The Red’s Cafe Mural is on Bruce Street, across the street from the gazebo and by the Appalachian restaurant.
Truly, it is a fascinating process to see the shapes become figures on a large wall.
I dropped by three times because it is always interesting to follow the progress of a large
public artwork.
Roy Acuff
Archie Campbell
June Carter Cash
Chet Atkins
A young Dolly Parton performed at the Pines for her first paying gig.

I always like to watch an artist put their signature on a finished mural.

The artist is based out of North Carolina, but has recently been living in Oaxaca Mexico. Find Seth Bishop on Instagram at the address in the picture above
s.bisho.p You can see more of his art, including work in Oaxaca, on his Instagram page. It was really interesting to see his work in both countries on Instagram.

Public art creates a vitality within a community. This mural will make visitors wonder why these country music legends are featured on a wall in downtown Sevierville. Visitors and locals alike will enjoy learning about the history of the Pines Theater and the artists who once played music within those walls. Seth Bishop and the building developer, Austin Williams, have brought that history back to our attention with this mural of country music legends at the Pines Theater.

Certainly, we are excited to see a fourth mural in our town!

Kyker Farms Corn Maze = October Fun!

Having never been to Kyker Farms before, I was looking forward to a trip there on Tuesday. I had always heard great things about the farm and found that it lived up to the recommendations. In my opinion, Kyker Farms is the best place for October fun!

First, the farm is only minutes from downtown Sevierville on 938 Alder Branch Rd. It is not very far at all from Highway 66.

The farm is beautiful and immediately put us in an autumn state of mind.

There are cute places to take a photo. This one was great for our group of 22 fun loving friends.

The kids playground area is excellent and worth at least an hour or two of fun.

Kids can jump on the Korn Hopper, a large inflated area that can handle dozens of kids. There are many benches for parents to rest and watch the fun.

I learned that there is much more to do there than corn mazes. Clearly, this farm is worthy of a whole day trip.

The left side of the trail shows several swing sets with endless rows of sunflowers. The right side shows swings for very young children, small and individual teeter totters, and other playground fun.

Don’t tell anyone…but I got very lost in the kids corn maze. To use Kyker Farm’s word, it was very ‘kornfuzing.’ 🙂

Of course, the main event is the pumpkin patch! Beautiful pumpkins are everywhere.

It was just a few minutes ride on the hayride to the pumpkin patch. So fun to ride this vehicle on a pretty fall day.

Perfect pumpkins are everywhere you look at Kyker Farm.

The restroom and diaper changing facilities are quite impressive. They are clean and can handle large groups of people. You are never far from the facilities…unless you are in the corn maze. Be prepared!

We brought lunches and found plenty of room to sit and refresh.

Then you can go back and play some more!

Our time at Kyker Farms Corn Maze came to an end all too soon, but there are still several weeks left to go back and enjoy it again.

In conclusion, I am a fan of family owned/local businesses and have a great appreciation for agri-tourism so I knew that it would be a good day trip. I was more than impressed with the wide range of things to do and convenient facilities. There were even more activities than I showed here, including the petting zoo. Make sure that you enjoy that too.

Truly, Kyker Farms Corn Maze offers serious October fun. Go while you can!

Here is a link to their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/kykerfarmscornmaze

Also, here is a screenshot of their hours.

See you at the corn maze!