Insight.com Fiesta Block Party – Dec 31st, 2007
Still not feeling 100%, we arrived a little late to the pep rally. We could hear Coach Pete speaking as we were walking to the main stage from where we parked (Sun Devil Stadium Lot). But, we were unable to make out what he was saying. We could tell there were a lot of people there from the sheer volume of the cheers.
We finally got to the stage area and found our way into the beer garden. I figured, hell… it’s New Years Eve, I’m in Phoenix with 6000 fellow Broncos, I might as well muscle through a beer. Remarkably enough, with each beer I had, the better and better I felt. I do love beer…
The pep rally was kinda cool. Mark Johnson was the MC and they had a parade of Bronco people and famous Idahoans up there. Not exactly Rah Rah, but it was still cool. Speakers included (while we were there) AD Gene Bleymaier, president Dr. Bob Kustra (who is an amazing speaker) they also had former Boise Junior College player and NFL Hall of Famer Dave Wilcox (who is also father of defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox) and MLB Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew of Payette. There were the requisite cheers and chants from the crowd. We got our first taste of the madness that was to come in the next 36 hours.
My personal highlight of the pep rally was when the cheerleaders started throwing out foam “Idaho potato” hats to the crowd. Directly in front of us, they threw one, and a drunk guy lunged for it with the same hand he was holding his full beer. The beer exploded all over the place in the ensuing melee, including all over the people around him. HIGH-larious!
The marching band played (video) and the cheerleaders did their things. Here are a few pictures to get what it was like for us there. I’m definitely no professional photographer but it was ‘magic hour’ and I like the self portrait…
This block party was very cool. It was a lot like the old Boise River Festival used to be, only bigger and there was simply a sea of blue and orange. There was nary an Oklahoma fan anywhere to be seen. We were confused by this, but figured maybe there was something that all of those OK people were doing instead of being down there. I have said it before, but there is nothing as thrilling to be somewhere on the road with thousands of people all there for the same event. I just love seeing all the Bronco fans showing out for the team. I would say 80% of ALL people at this whole block party had some sort of Boise State gear on. Most, had more than one piece (like we did). As Coach Pete said, Bronco Nation did, indeed, show up in force.
They were selling more Fiesta Bowl and Boise State merch, so we had to fork over a little more cash. We got ticket lanyards, seat cushions, etc. I also got the greatest shirt… It has the Bronco helmet on it and in big letters just says “LATER SOONERS” Who knew this shirt would be so prophetic, huh?
After filling our shopping bags, and being 3 or 4 beers in, we decided to make our way up the street and see what they had to offer. There were the usual carnival games where carneys bark at you to fork over your cash to try to win a gigantic teddy bear. John and I used to LOVE those things at the fair when we were kids. So, just for old time sake he had to try the baseball-throw-at-the-beer-bottles one. No, he didn’t even come close. But, that’s what John does… Spend money like water.
Speaking of spending money like water, there was a booth that was selling crazy hats. Since they had bronco orange and blue, he and Ilinda could hardly pass up the opportunity. John spent the rest of the evening referring to his “pimp hat”. Aren’t they cute?
After the hat purchases we moseyed on down the way. There were tons of food vendors, booths with stuff for sale, street artists, etc etc. It was quite the party atmosphere.
Since we had been without alcohol for maybe 20 minutes, John was getting antsy. We went into one of the bars along Mill Ave. called “Big Fat Greek Restaurant”. I ordered one of the cheep beers they were offering. Ilinda got a sea breeze. John, on the other hand ordered, and I quote, “Give me the biggest glass you have, fill it with ice, then fill it with Jack Daniels.” Sure enough, the bartender comes back with a pint glass, ice, and Jack. Apparently, John was done screwing around. He was getting it ON.
We downed our drinks in about 15 minutes, which we spent watching the MPC Computers Bowl back home in Boise on their TV’s. Nevada was hanging with Miami. Go Nevada! Yes, John did finish that drink in 15 minutes. Well, you gotta have a hobby, I suppose…
More walking. Then the bands both marched up the main drag of the party. Anyone who knows me knows I love marching band music, so this was very cool. First the Blue Thunder Marching Band came by. (video. By the way, I love the lady right in front of me ‘conducting’ the band as they come by. No, she wasn’t affiliated with the band at all). Then came the Oklahoma band (video), which was really the first time we really saw any Oklahoma representation the whole night. I will admit, OU has a great fight song. Classic. And their band is friggin HUGE. Having the bands playing really added to the atmosphere that evening.
Down the street a bit was a girl doing face painting. Well, we couldn’t let an opportunity like that pass by and Ilinda really wanted a Bronco. So, she got a Bronco! Yes, that is Paul J. in the picture looking on…
And, the finished product.
After the face painting, we wandered down to the big screen to watch the end of the MPC Bowl. Nevada was getting SERIOUS love from the Bronco crowd down there to beat Miami. Well, that is until Jeff Rowe threw that game ending interception and everyone left. Way to go Nevada. Way to end your career, Rowe. Terrific performance against BSU in your house on Senior day, then give the bowl game away against Miami. Bravo.
So it was, we went back to the beer garden. The particular beer garden we found had some crappy local band playing in front of nobody. John was really feeling his booze at this point. He was quite silly. For some reason, he was walking around most of the night with both arms in the air like he was already at the game. Also letting loose with the random, “Wooooooooo!” See the picture for an example. I love that shot…
We also fooled around with the camera a bit, and I make another apperance in the pictures. I love the one of me and John. I call that one “Me & the Gay Cowboy”.
As you might be able to tell from the pictures that John is fully 3 sheets to the wind at this point. In full roar, if you will. When he gets like this, he talks non-stop to anyone and everyone. We were stopping strangers and taking photos. He was the life of the party.
We ran into a guy whom John called “The Blue Pimp”, who reportedly told him to “have some coffee”. Now, when a guy dressed as a pimp at a Bronco New Years Eve party tells you you have probably had too much to drink, you should probably pay attention.
Sensing that John was on the verge, we ambled down the street to a joint selling pizza slices to get a little food in us. I had stopped drinking earlier since I had the feeling I might be employed to get us home. Which was probably a wise move as John deteriorated.
John had gotten quiet now. You know the end is near when he STOPS talking. He had that full ‘drunk walk’ in effect. I like to call it the ‘foot-slap’ walk where he’s not really stepping, but more slapping his feet down. Bobbing and weaving. Since he was obviously done and I was getting tired we decided we might as well call it a night, and headed off to find the car.
Yes, for those of you out there astute enough to notice that we haven’t reached midnight yet. In fact, we made it back to the hotel at just after 11. John passed out with his clothes on, and Ilinda and I watched the celebrations on TV and chatted a bit. She got quiet not long after that, and it was just me. I tried to stay up until I saw the ball drop, but I think I fell asleep something like 11:45.
You know you are old when you fall asleep before midnight on New Years Eve. You know you’re even older when that fact doesn’t seem to bother you all that much.
Besides… tomorrow was THE day. I had bigger fish to fry.
To be continued…