Clearwater Beach Hosts Outback Bowl Beach Day
by Sandy Fahy
Photo by SANDI FAHY
CLEARWATER BEACH - If you like music, fun and excitement, Clearwater Beach was the place to be on Sunday. It was Outback Bowl Beach Day, a time for some spirited competition between the University of Wisconsin and University of Tennessee bands, mascots, cheerleaders and football teams on the sand in front of the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort.
Fans of all ages gathered early for the giant pep rally, which featured various activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It wasn't hard to tell who was rooting for who. Wisconsin fans sported red and white attire while their counterparts from Tennessee wore orange. They were in town to see their respective teams face off in the Outback Bowl in Tampa on Tuesday and Beach Day was the perfect opportunity to get a tan and cheer their teams on at the same time. The excitement of the day was heightened when the Badger band made its appearance playing "On Wisconsin" and the UT band played "Rocky Top". Among the other activities scheduled that day were a tug-of-war competition between the cheerleaders of each school and a skydiving exhibition.
The Outback Bowl features teams from the Southeastern and Big Ten conferences. This year's game marked its 22nd anniversary. Over 500 players from past bowl games have gone on to play in the NFL. The University of Wisconsin is a repeat performer. Its team has played in the Outback Bowl several times. The University of Michigan, University of Iowa, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of South Carolina, Ohio State University and Purdue University are among the other schools who have made the trip to Tampa for the bowl game.
Known as the Hall of Fame Bowl for the first nine years, the name was changed when Outback Steakhouse became title sponsor 13 years ago. The annual Beach Day is sponsored by the Hilton and St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.