Marshall, CSU fans do more than watch football when visiting Albuquerque
December 16, 2017 09:47 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Saturday provided a new look at Dreamstyle Stadium, where the trademark Lobo cherry red was replaced by a sea of green.
Two different of shades of green, to be exact, as the Colorado State Rams and Marshall Thundering Herd faced off in the 12th edition of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
"We're a little disappointed," said Fred Mady, a former UNM football player. "It's always a little more fun when the Lobos are here, but we've all picked out teams."
Mady's family is one full of Lobo athletes both current and former. He put on the helmet and pads, his wife was a cheerleader, and his daughter runs track.
For them, the bowl game is a tradition – no matter which teams are playing.
"If you listen to some athletes from Marshall never playing west of the Mississippi, I think for them and their fans getting out here enjoying some of this great sunshine, it should help both the economy and New Mexico, in general," Mady said.
Whether the fans are traveling from Colorado or West Virginia, the bowl game represents a great way to showcase New Mexico.
"We drove down from Fort Collins yesterday and we are staying at the Hotel Albuquerque," said CSU fan Nino Baietti. "We got out last night and we had a wonderful time."
Baietti isn't the only football fan doing more than watching the game in Albuquerque. David and Cathy Peeler, who came to town to cheer on the Thundering Herd, said they managed to get on the Sandia Tram – a staple of central New Mexico tourism.
Marshall ended up winning the game, 31-28, but that wasn't the only highlight of the Peelers' trip.
"We think it's amazing. We went to the casino, made my donation to New Mexico at the casino," they said. "It's a great location seeing as I don't think any of the Marshall fans have ever been to New Mexico."
It's an unexpected surprise, the Peelers said, to go along with the unique food and welcoming people. They might have even been enticed to return in the future.
Jeff Siembieda, executive director of the bowl game, said he hopes they aren't the only ones.
"It's tangible – the amount of money they're pumping into our economy. (They're) filling rooms, filling restaurants. It's so nice to watch what it has become over 12 years, growing into something (fans) really have a passion for and love."
It's a tradition that will continue with the hopes that more people will come visit, add to the local economy and fall in love with New Mexico in the process.
"It's around football," Siembieda said, "but it's a celebration."
Updated: December 16, 2017 09:47 PM
Created: December 16, 2017 08:34 PM
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