Fans say tailgating is an important part of Tuskegee-Morehouse - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fans say tailgating is an important part of Tuskegee-Morehouse

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The 79th annual Tuskegee-Morehouse classic game kicked off Saturday at McClung Memorial Stadium.

Thousands visit Columbus to celebrate the event and to cheer for their favorite team.

News Leader 9 spoke with some tailgaters who have been coming to Columbus for years to support the game as well as the two famous historically black universities.

"This is my 51st year tailgating," 66 year old Pete Berry said. "I've been to the actual game maybe six times. But I've been driving down to Columbus from Atlanta since I was 16 years old."

Berry graduated from Tuskegee and he's been bringing other Tuskegee graduates from Atlanta for the last 51 years to support the team. Berry spends hundreds of dollars on tailgating every year.

"It's not about the money when it comes to tailgating, especially for the Tuskegee-Morehouse game," Berry explained. "It's about fellowship, brotherhood and meeting new friends. We also talk about the good old days when we used to be students at Tuskegee."

Gerald Arrington, a former Morehouse football player who played back in 1972 also said he spends months planning for tailgating.

"We spend months on planning but we also spend about $1,100 on tailgating," Arrington explained. "Homecoming games are especially important. You have people come from different places. We feed about 400 people."

Arrington said tailgating is an important part of all football games.

"The energy makes everyone happy," Arrington said. "You also come to appreciate one another."

Berry said he hopes tailgaters continue to bring fun and exciting spirit to the Tuskegee and Morehouse games in order to motivate more young people to attend historically black colleges and universities.

"My forefathers, grandfathers and my parents all went to Tuskegee," Berry said. "We need young people to continue to attend HBCU's. They also need to remember that these were the only schools we could get our education from at one point."

"The Morehouse and Tuskegee classic goes back a long time," Arrington said. "Kids today need to know the history of things. Great things and traditions didn't just start out of nowhere. They started from somewhere, and being part of historically black colleges and universities give you a sense of pride."

"My group and I will come back again next year for the granddaddy of all football classics," Berry said. "It'll be my 52ND year and I can't wait."

Peter Bowden from Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau also explained the city makes about $680,000 a year from the game. Hotels, local businesses and gas stations especially thrive from the Tuskegee and Morehouse games.


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