For those new to the area, the Bill Snyder Family Stadium that you see when you drive by is a far cry from where it began. When I was in middle school I can remember coming to town with my mom. We would come to visit my sister who while going to school at K-State was also a trainer for the Kansas State University football team and my mom is a die-hard fan so we were definitely going to the games while we were here! My mom truly BLEEEDS PURPLE!
We would arrive at the stadium literally a few minutes before game time, you know, enough time for us to grab snacks then head to our seats. "Our seats" is used very loosely here. You see back in the early 90s there were not many people at the games, so you basically could pick your seats each game. Most of the time you were down, front and center, pretty close to the 50-yard line! No, I am not kidding.
The turnaround for Kansas State University Football is coined, "The greatest turnaround in college football history." There is even a movie about the evolution of the program called "The Miracle In Manhattan." It is definitely worth watching to see where this all began and for those who did not witness it in person, really the only way to understand how it all started.
The experience at Bill Snyder Family Stadium is something everyone should experience at least once. The energy and atmosphere are second to none in college football. As you head to the stadium, the sea of purple flooding towards the gates lets you know that it is almost time!
As many fans head to their seats, they make sure they have plenty of time to watch "The Pride." The Pride of Wildcat Land is our marching band. As one of the top bands in the nation, they know how to get the crowd pumped up and ready for game time!
Next, you might think the team rushes the field, nope, not here! It's all about the anticipation.....
What comes next is the celebration of the day. Each game represents an event that we all either celebrate or honor. These events range from Fort Riley Day, Harley Day, Marching Band Day to traditionally the last home game, Senior Day. While all are special and beloved by the fans, for me Fort Riley Day and Harley Day are some of my favorites. Willie leads and always coordinates with the gameday celebration.
One of the constants throughout the years of BSFS is the word FAMILY! It is not just on the press box, the atmosphere is steeped in history and tradition. Many families have tailgated in the same spot for years. They know their "neighbors" and the weekend is dedicated to friends and family coming from all over. We take time to catch up, eat great food, visit Manhappiness, and always celebrate a Wildcat Victory!
We are known as the best fans in college football. Stories of K-State fans helping out the other teams traveling fans are well known. At our core, we are people who believe in taking care of each other and also, healthy competition. We believe and embody the 16 Goals that are the primary foundation the program is built on. These goals are principles that most of us were raised on, they are also how we have shaped our lives and our businesses.
As the community and university continue to grow and expand, I am thrilled to have a front-row seat. The stadium is as much a part of the community, as the community is a part of the stadium! Every home game we come together with 50,000+ of our closest family and friends and most of us wouldn't have it any other way.
The Stadium is also used for various community events. Many fans even take time out on their wedding day to have photos taken at the stadium! These photos below are from the Wildcat Kickoff party, Train and Zac Brown band performed the night before the first home game. Fans Wabashed to the music and had a great time!
If you are now asking, "What is Wabash?" It is the final pregame tradition. The entire stadium leans back and forth opposite each other and soon enough, the cats take the field!
Like most places, this year of 2020, will be a little different at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Fewer fans and no tailgating will change how we come together, but I know we will. I remember when Jacob Pullen hit the buzzer-beater in the NCAA tournament to get us to the Elite 8. When I walked outside of my home I heard cheering and horns honking. Even though we couldn't be with our cats cheering them on at the tournament, the community was coming together to celebrate. Much like that, I know that we will all be cheering them on at home and continuing to celebrate those "Wildcat Victories!!"
As always, GO CATS!