By Diandra Marquez
What a great way to kick off this years Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl with the ninth annual VIP Party.
The Westcott Parking Lot near Gerald J. Ford Stadium on the SMU campus was full of activities for people of all ages. You could feel the level of pride in the air as different branches of the U.S. military came together and showed everyone how they served our country. There were many different activities for everyone to participate in and get a feel of what it took to be a soldier and to serve in the U.S. military. Located in the back corner of Adventure Land during the ninth annual Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bow, the elegant ESPN VIP Party event was another rousing success.
This event again provided the bowl’s special guests a place to mingle and talk about the upcoming game between BYU and Tulsa. The atmosphere of the party was accentuated with the sound of Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, one of the most revered entertainment groups among the USO and U.S. forces worldwide. This proved to be a great event leading toward an exciting game - a 24-21 victory by BYU with the winning touchdown coming in the final 11 seconds of regulation.
By Tyler Scott
Fans were entertained by a plethora of activities at the Armed Forces Adventure Park Friday morning just hours before BYU and Tulsa took the field at SMU’s Ford Stadium in Dallas.
Set up just outside the football complexes on SMU’s campus, the Adventure Parkarea featured stations from all five branches of the United States Armed Forces. The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard all made use of this great event to recruit future heroes to their respective branches.
Recruiting was only a small portion of the Adventure Park area, though. Fans were granted access to interact hands on with many very special aspects of the United States military. Many got to discover the rich traditions of the respective military branches by exploring large trailers filled with pictures and memorabilia. Others found a little competition in football tossing and military pull-up contests. Loud music, free food and prizes also accompanied the party.
A BYU fan from Tulsa, Okla., was impressed with how the park highlighted the importance of bringing the fans from both teams together.
“[The Adventure Park] makes for a good, fun collegiate game experience. You know, you get together with two sides and enjoy each other even though you’re playing against each other,” Mark explained. “It makes the game exciting and meaningful.”
From exploring tanks and personnel carriers to riding in flight simulators to shaking hands with active heroes of the US Armed Services, the Adventure Park offered a unique opportunity for fans to not only interact with each other, but also with those who serve our country.
The Armed Forces Adventure Park emphasized the fact that the Armed Forces Bowl is much more than a bowl game.