KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With the UT vs. Alabama game on Saturday, a lot of people are thinking about last year’s game and remembering the big win against the Crimson Tide.
UT fans who aren’t on their way to Tuscaloosa will be watching the game here at home and some businesses have seen an uptick in sales this time of year since last year’s historic game.
“Here at Yee-Haw this is our first football season and we’ve had some outstanding turnouts. football season is big anyway here in east Tennessee especially here with the Vols,” said Brian Dickert the Assistant General Manager at Yee-Haw.
They’re prepared for big crowds during Saturday’s game.
“With away games, we tend to fill up a little faster,” said Celia Hostetler, Events And Marketing Manager at Yee-Haw. “When people don’t have tailgates to go to, they just come here early and watch some other good games that are on, on one of our two Jumbotrons. So make sure to get here early if you want to get a spot or a table.”
Last year, Hostetler got to experience the exciting UT win against Alabama firsthand.
“Oh they’re insane,” she said. “I was lucky enough to go to the game last year. So that was insane to whiteness and not being a native of Knoxville but now becoming kind of an adoptive fan, it was such a cool experience. I will be able to tell people forever and say I was there for that. I saw the goalpost come down.”
After the game, she did what a lot of other Vols fans did, which was celebrate with a game-winning cigar.
“You couldn’t even hear people talking to you right next to you by the end of the game. That celebration cigar was fantastic,” said Hostetler.
That celebration cigar is a tradition for the winning team, but UT hasn’t been able to partake in the tradition for a while. That is until last year.
“You know it was a quiet tradition for most of my tenure in the cigar business, being in the business for almost 16 years, we didn’t have any wins during that period or maybe one, but anyway, we would have guys come in for cigars for the game, but it wasn’t special,” said Dave Watson, owner of Smoky’s Tobacco Cigars And Gifts.
He added, “Then something magical happened last year and it was all before the game. So Tennessee fans knew something was going to happen last night.”
Watson said during last year’s football season, sales skyrocketed.
“In the month of October last year, we sold 7,000 more cigars than we did the previous October. So as a percentage, I think we were probably up I think 20%,” he said.
He added he’s seen the same steady stream of customers this week.
“Cigars are celebratory. Anytime you want to celebrate that’s when you have a good cigar” said Watson.
Many fans are hoping for another big celebration again this year.
“The Alabama-Tennessee game last year was amazing. we’re hoping we can pull off another big win in Tuscaloosa this year,” said Brian Dickert at Yee-Haw.
Kick-off on Saturday, Oct. 21, is set for 3:30.