Tennessee football tailgaters happy to be back on Rocky Top for season opener

Tennessee Vols

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As the countdown to kickoff continued Thursday, fans set up and tailgated most of the day. Sister station WATE Six On Your Side spent time around Rocky Top talking with some of Tennessee football’s biggest fans.

One family who was in the RV parking lot off of Hall of Fame Drive said they drove in Wednesday night to secure a prime parking spot ahead of the game. “It’s a special place, it’s a special feeling to be in Neyland Stadium,” said James Ross. “Win or lose, we love the Vols!”

Ross said he was still able to come up for a couple of games last season and meet up with his RV friends. However, not all fans can say the same.

“New coaching staff, new year, trying to get through this coronavirus pandemic and just excited to be able to get back in Neyland Stadium,” said Ryan Bradford who came in town with his brother and son for the first game of the 2021 season.

Bradford said he’s excited to be there as an alumnus and because it’s a family tradition to get to Knoxville for a game.

“There ain’t nothing like a game day in Knoxville,” said Dustin Bradford. “You got running through the T, the Vol Walk, Vol Navy right here behind us, which will be bigger later, you just can’t beat it up here.”

The Vol Navy only had a couple of boats out earlier in the day on game day, but those that were out promised there’d be more by game time. All were excited to be back after some time apart.

“This year we’re very excited to be back,” said Jana Matsinger who was a passenger on a boat docked at Volunteer Landing. “We missed the football, the coming up to Knoxville, the tailgating, all of it.”

Neyland Stadium celebrates its 100th Anniversary as home to Tennessee Football. The stadium holds 102,455 fans.

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