TUPELO – The Fairpark lawn looked like a scene out Romeo and Juliet and Rebel and Bulldog fans were the Montagues and Capulets.
Red, white and blue tents of Ole Miss peppered one half of the lawn in front of City Hall, while the maroon and white ones covered the other. It was Saturday, both schools were playing, but neither were playing one another – a good day for some football.
Hundreds of football fans piled onto the Fairpark lawn in front of City Hall to tailgate and root for their teams as Ole Miss took on the Crimson Tide of Alabama and MSU tackled the Florida Gators.
And even though the two teams weren’t playing one another, ill will for one’s rival was still evident. Todd Helton, decked out in his maroon and white Bulldog gear and holding on to one of the infamous cowbells, was obviously there to root for his team and against the other.
“I have two teams I’m rooting against today and two that I’m rooting for,” said Helton as he showed off his MSU visor. “Go State and to hell with Ole Miss. It will be a perfect day if we all get to sit here together and watch the Rebels or the Black Bears or whoever they are lose while the Bulldogs get a win. My football weekend would be perfect.”
Rebel fans didn’t mind sharing their thoughts of their hopeful demise of MSU against the Gators.
“Gator bait baby, Gator bait,” said Michael Ringer as he taunted a group of State fans who happened to be his friends. “We are going to roll over the Tide while they become Gator bait. I can’t wait to watch State lose this game. I just hope we win ours.”
Fans of all teams got to watch the games on a jumbotron while waiting for the Rebels and Dawgs to start up. Just like a normal game day at Ole Miss or MSU, the tailgating experience was filled with a lot of family fun. A live band played music while little Rebels and Dawgs played a game of tackle football. To some it was just as good as the real thing.
“I love going over to Oxford and Starkville to watch games but this is a very good day to do this right here at home,” said Tupelo resident Clint Mitchell. “We all are enjoying it and even though we root for different teams we are all one big football-loving family. I really appreciate the city for doing this for us. Some people have never had a real tailgating experience so they can get it right here at home.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DANZA JOHNSON / NEMS Daily Journal