Jenny Rohl/The News
Cheerleaders form a tunnel outside Tequila Cowboy March 7 in Nashville, Tenn., to welcome Racer fans to the Alumni Association’s pregame event.
Racer Nation took over Nashville, Tenn., this weekend, and the Alumni Association brought all the blue and gold to one location Saturday night before the championship game against Belmont. Before the heartbreaking loss, fans were hopeful as they crowded the upper level of Tequila Cowboy Bar and Grill to eat, drink and enjoy live music from the Racer Band.
Rachel Foley, the Racer to Racer Coordinator of Alumni Affairs, was pleased with the turnout. In years past, the Alumni Association has held similar events at Bailey’s Sports Grille in downtown Nashville, Tenn. The Tequila Cowboy is kid-friendly and offered the chance for whole families to attend.
Free items such as rally towels, Koozies and Dunker signs were handed out, and the $10 cover charge covered the cost of pizza, salad and drinks. A signed basketball was also given away to one lucky fan in a drawing. Foley said she thought the snow combined with the Racers’ successful season is what brought so many Racer fans to Nashville, Tenn., for the weekend.
“Even though we had the snowstorm, with it being sunny and everything and the great season that we’ve had, I think that this is a far bigger crowd than we’ve ever had in the past,” Foley said.
Alumni and current students packed the balcony and the bar at Tequila Cowboy as they came together to celebrate the regular season and prepare for the final game of the tournament. Murray State alumni Chris and Lacosta Hays of Murray were also celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary March 7.
“These events are great,” Lacosta said. “It’s really great to get everybody together to come kind of rally and get ready for the big game. It’s just a great experience. With lots of fun things going on in Nashville, anyways, when Murray comes to Nashville it just brings it all together and makes it that much better.”
Win or lose, many Racer fans travel to watch the tournament every year. Aimee Graves, a second-year graduate student from Murray, has attended the OVC Tournament almost every year since her first time in 2001.
“I grew up doing it,” Graves said. “My grandparents used to have season tickets back in Racer Arena, so I was kind of indoctrinated very young into being a Murray State fan, and it just kind of stuck.”
Foley said that fans, such as Graves, are what make the basketball program and the University in general so special. Gathering to reminisce the past and support the future is what events like this pregame party are all about.
“I think that as Racer Nation, we’re a community and we stick together through everything,” Foley said. “And I think that whether our team does good or bad, we’re always there to support them. I just think that the crowd at tonight’s event goes to show the commitment that the community has to supporting the University and the team.”
Story by Mallory Tucker, Sports Editor