Liberty Bowl will try to silence cowbells

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

Memphis is renowned for its musical history, but there will be no place for cowbells in the Liberty Bowl on Sept. 1.
When Mississippi State opens its 2011 football season against the University of Memphis, the stadium’s new management will be keeping a close eye and ear out for cowbell-wielding Bulldog fans.
The stadium, which is owned by the city, has a longstanding policy against allowing noisemakers, along with coolers, boxes, umbrellas, and other items.
Bob Winn, the Memphis associate athletics director for external affairs, said Monday that the school has long supported the policy, and it’s not a matter of singling out MSU fans.
“There’s a pretty rigorous screening policy for fans coming into the stadium,” Winn said, noting that Memphis fans will be under the same kind of scrutiny.
Global Spectrum took over management of the Liberty Bowl earlier this summer, and this is the group’s first major event in the venue. So MSU fans who plan on sneaking their cowbells into the game will fall back on tried and true methods.
According to fans who offered suggestions via Twitter, the most common method is stuffing paper towels into the cowbell to silence it, then stuffing the bell handle-down into the back of their pants, with the shirttail covering it.
There are other methods, such as taping it to a leg.
The policy didn’t keep cowbells out of the stadium in 2007, when MSU played UCF in the Liberty Bowl. So far MSU has sold 4,700 tickets to its fans for the opener, with more being bought from the Memphis ticket office.
Chances are, a few cowbells will still slip into the stadium.
“I’m not saying they’ll go overboard for the first game,” Winn said, “but certainly with a new management group they’re trying to do their due diligence to adhere to policy.”
brad.locke@journalinc.com