Hi Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl fans – it’s Sonee and I’m back with another installment of the activities of the 2012 Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl! Now let’s get caught up on the how it’s already firing up with last Thursday’s standing room only Team Signing and Welcome Press Conference at Tropicana Field. The room was abuzz as the principals entered led by Bowl Executive Brett Dulaney followed by Ball State Head Coach Pete Lembo, AD Bill Scholl and UCF head coach George O’Leary, with AD Todd Stansbury. The crowd was star studded as well with celebrities like Honorary Game Chairman and six-time NFL Pro Bowler Mike Alstott along with the St. Petersburg Mayor among others. Executive Bowl Director Brett Dulaney welcomed everyone as various national media outlets and members stood by with athletes, executives and other dignitaries in attendance. Dulaney spoke about the earlier site visits they made and the perfect weather we were having in Florida! Sorry anyone in cold weather right now but it’s been picture perfect 75 degrees, puffy white clouds on cool blue sky, beautiful sunshine on shimmering gulf waters, bands playing, umbrella drinks, football frenzy…ahhh I digress. If you not packing your bag after that one, Ball State…
“A third of these kids toes have never touched the crystal white sands like St. Pete Beach so we offer events like the Beach Bash which will we host at the Sirata resort for them to enjoy!” I asked Brett later on what his favorite event is and he said the Belly Flop. I can’t wait. Next up was Todd Stansbury UCF Vice President & Director of Athletic who commented on playing in the Beef ‘O’Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg for the 2nd time. “I have heard nothing but good things about the last trip, with the exception of the final score. Coach [O’Leary] has assured me that we are in pretty good shape this time.” As UCF Head Coach George O’ Leary headed to the podium and welcomed the challenge of playing a great team in a great bowl! “I know how much work goes into a bowl game and I think we have a great facility and a great town to have the game in. I know the football team is looking forward to getting over here.” When asked about their competitor, Ball State, O’ Leary said, “I have had the opportunity to look at them on film. It is going to be a great competition and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Bill Scholl Athletic director for Ball State was thoroughly impressed with the hospitality of the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg. “The folks who are here today with me doing a site visit are raving about the hospitality and I can’t imagine that this will be anything but a spectacular week in St. Petersburg for the Ball State fans who find their way down here for the game.” Pete Lembo, Ball State Head Coach was so enthusiastic and visibly excited to be here and to capitalize on this opportunity for his team and Ball State University. When reflecting on this season he said “We’ve had an exciting season, there’s been some memorable wins for us. It’s been a special season in the Mid-American Conference and a privilege to be a part of such a competitive season and to see so many Mid American Conference schools going on to the
post-season and being one of those teams.”
After the formalities of the presser, I was whisked away with my capable camera man Sterling to start doing my one on one interviewing. George O’ Leary was all business and as I tried to talk about the idyllic Florida weather – he was focused on Xs and Os. Ball State head coach Pete Lembo and I talked about his quote “Achieve now – enjoy later”. We agreed that his wife didn’t have to abide by the motto. I’ve got your back Mrs. Lembo!
I snuck Mike Alstott away from the stable of admirers that had him surrounded to talk about the real reason behind the bowl and his mission as Honorary Game Chairman. “It’s a privilege to be Honorary Chairman to a bowl that is another way we stay connected to the community. “It’s all about showing how important these student athletes are to the community and trying to convey that through the bowl game and my foundation”. Brett Dulaney carried on with talking about the importance of community and the St. Pete organizations and businesses that are all responsible for making this happen. He also highlighted the face that this year’s bowl is one of only 10 to feature two 9 win teams. Not even the Rose Bowl can say that! And Brett does this all with a staff of three…amazing!
It was a whirlwind affair. Cameras were flashing, microphones pushing in from everywhere and we were in the middle of it all! Although there were plenty of other media outlets there – all eyes and cameras swept to my individual interviews as I grinded out five back to back segments…whew! I even got compliments from Alstott and Lembo. “Yes, you belong here, Sonee” I told myself as I sat down to discuss the big bowl week approaching and all the fantastic events we have to cover.
With the signing party in full swing after the press conference, the fun continued as I was focused on meeting with marketing company executives and making sure I had interviewed all the necessary who’s who in the room. But I can tell you that drinks were flowing, appetizers were being passed (I did try the veggie sushi rolls…Delish) and plenty of mixing, mingling and good football conversation going on.
Now it’s time to pull out your smartphones and mark your calendars for all these fun filled activities where you can mix and mingle with players,
coaches, cheerleaders and other fired up fans! I’ll be back in a couple days to lay it all out for you in detail!
Some of the 2012 St. Petersburg Bowl Events you don’t want to miss are:
* Tuesday the 18th:
I’ll be going on a dinner cruise with the teams on Tuesday night and I’ll let you know
all the details and whether those Ball State Cardinals really have their sea
legs under them!
* Wednesday the 19th:
You’ll be joining me at the gorgeous Sirata
Beach Resort for the Player Beach Bash.
So much fun…Belly flop, hula hoop tug o war and more!
* Thursday the 20th:
First things first – I’ll be visiting All Children’s Hospital with the Players
Thursday is also the big Kick Off Luncheon at the Renaissance Vinoy with key note speaker Danny Wuerffel.
Later on that day we’ll work off lunch back at the beach with the Battle of the Bands!
Everyone who lives in St. Pete knows the place for fun is Fergs and that’s where we’ll be after the beach band fun
* Friday the 21st
Friday is GAMEDAY and it all starts with an incredible Tailgate Extravaganza, then it’s on to the big game between Ball State and UCF.
So grab your tickets now and keep coming back here for updates!
- Let the FUN Begin!
- Brave souls and Battling Bands
- Tailgating, Tackling and Touchdowns!
- Sonee Thompson the Winner of the 2012 Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl Talent Tryouts!
- Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Renews Sponsorship With St. Petersburg Bowl