Hog fans party through the pain of historical loss

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 57 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — It’s been a rough week for Razorback fans and things didn’t get any easier for them Saturday (Sept. 15). The dreary day threatened resolve with constant drizzle, but fans still turned out in droves to support their team, wearing their Razorback red and calling those hogs.

Prior to the game, 100 or so gathered at George’s Majestic Lounge for the Cox Annual VIP Tailgate HOG Party. Guests of the lively event were treated to Razortinis, an assortment of barbeque, live music by TJ Scarlett, door prizes and other giveaways.

“It’s taken on a life of its own. It’s really grown over the years,” said Kelly Zega, director of public affairs for Cox. One year, they briefly thought about not hosting the tailgate but were met with adamant opposition.

“We had people ask us in the summer, ‘Are you going to do that?’” And the rest is history.

Barbecue sandwiches were the order of the day, complimented by a variety of cheese dips, crackers and dip, fruit and bruschetta washed down by beer, wine and cocktails and finished off with dessert puddings in a shot-sized glass. TJ Scarlett kept the energy flowing with renditions of Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” and other favorites such as Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World” and Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World.”

Even the door prizes bled Razorback red, lending helpful items to the average hog fan: Seat cushions for the game, remote control covers to watch it from home and more. The giveaways were generous, with nearly 10 big items.

The winner of the cornerstone gift basket (a large basket filled with game day merchandise for the male fan) was ecstatic, retrieving the item as he jumped to his feet and his friends cheered him on. But he was generous enough to bestow his host with the gift.

No one at the Cox tailgate left empty handed. Guests were given Razorback red ponchos for the rainy game and drawstring Razorback/Cox bags.

The stands looked a little sparse, but skybox party-goers weren’t so quick to give up the ghost. While they weren’t comfortable with the 52-0 loss, they had access to the comforts of catered food and beverages of their choice.
 
The rainy drizzle may have put a damper on the amount of fans present, but it didn’t dampen their spirits. Fans turned out for an afternoon of pre- and post-game tailgating, wearing red pants, red scarves, red shirts, red ponchos and other appropriate attire.

Ricardo Martinelli, the president of Panama and one of the UA’s notable alumni, watched the game from the chancellor’s box.

From his seat in the Greenwood Gearhart skybox, John Vitale, an assistant coach for the Van Buren Pointers high school football team, offered a little perspective on the state of affairs for the Razorbacks.

“Louisiana-Monroe took a burn, but it doesn’t really matter,” Vitale said. “[Our] players love [John L.] Smith” as a coach, he said, shedding light on the fact that Smith builds them up, while Petrino was more of a tough seed. “Smith was the best we could do under the circumstances.”

Vitale also noted that Jeff Long’s future looks good, and that “you’ve got to do what’s right for the players.”

After halftime, some skybox hosts and guests kept to the backs of their boxes or averted their eyes. In other words, one didn’t have to watch the game to know what was going on.

“You can tell by the yells” whether it was a good play or not, said Jim Phillips, owner of Springdale Liquor franchises, as he entertained guests and waited out the conclusion of the game. “I’ve never left a single game early.”

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