About 14 years ago, the band director for the Alabama Crimson Tide Marching Band (the Million Dollar Band) called Doc Ramsey to ask if they could use the football field to practice their halftime show before heading to the UT Knoxville football game. Doc said yes, unlocked the gates for them himself, and a new tradition was born. On home games against Alabama, you can go to the Smoky Bears stadium around 10:30 a.m. to see one of the best bands in the SEC.
I found out about the visit this year from Tabatha and Allison. Here is what I saw…
Eight buses and at least one 18 wheeled equipment truck.
The percussion section moving equipment down to the field. I counted over 6-8 xylophones.
A view going in from the visitors section. The band covers almost half the field. I heard that there were over 450 band members this year.
Lunch was set up and ready to go from our local Chic-filet. Terry said that band members are extremely polite, eat quickly, and are ready to head over to Neyland Stadium.
There was a lot of crimson and orange in the stands watching pieces of the show.
The legendary Doc Ramsey was at the top helping in the press box. He told me the story in the first paragraph above. He was the contact person for the Alabama band director years ago when this started.
Majorettes are in front. Color guard in the back of the end zone.
View from top of Burchfiel Stadium.
View from the very top of the stadium. I see the lunches waiting on the table in the left part of the picture. The mountains are beautiful in the background. Is that Mount Leconte? The bear statue is safe atop the SCHS gym.
On my way out, I had to get a picture on the side of the equipment truck. That is quite a nickname!
Finally, I ran an errand then waited along the parkway to see the famous motorcade that escorts the band out of town to the game. People told me that it is quite a sight. I waited quite a while. A long time. Then, I realized that the band must have left earlier than the. I gave up and drove home. As I got to the last red light on the way home, Allison texted that the band had just left. I was only about 10 seconds from turning off to my street from Chapman Highway when I heard a siren. An officer pulled around me and stopped in the intersection. I looked up into the rear view and saw the motorcade coming quickly toward me. It was a God moment because I had given up on seeing the motorcade. But He put his hand on it and placed me right in the middle. It was an amazing sight!
I jumped out my car with my IPhone (standing close to the car) and started taping the motorcade. Click this video to see what I saw! Exciting! (Keep volume down if you have dogs.)
Someone will probably notice how I jump into the car quickly when the second motorcycle officer comes speeding up behind me. Don’t try that if you find yourself in the middle of a motorcade. This was a fun and very different kind of morning to be out and about in Sevierville!