Estep Takes Part in Bowl Activities
Many local residents took part in special festivities this past weekend to ring in the new year. It’s safe to say that the majority of those festivities also included a bit of college football, as various college football bowl games were held Thursday through Saturday. For New Martinsville resident and Magnolia High School senior Evan Estep though, the weekend included a celebration like none other, including a front row seat to the 2015 Autozone Liberty Bowl.
Estep, MHS’ 2015 homecoming queen, had the honor of being part of an elite group of homecoming queens from all over the United States who were chosen as 2015 Autozone Liberty Bowl Queens. These queens were chosen through an application process via America’s Homecoming Queen.
Estep was able to participate in a variety of activities over the weekend, including a visit to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Evan said herself and fellow queens learned about the hospital, had the priviledge of hearing from a patient at the hospital, and received a tour of the world renowned hospital.
That night, Estep and the queens were free to spend their New Year’s Eve on the famous Beale Street.
“It was crazy and packed,” Estep stated.
On Friday, Jan. 1, Evan and fellow queens took part in a New Year’s Day Brunch in the Tennessee Ballroom at the Doubletree Downtown Hotel. Also on New Year’s Day, the queens took part in the Autozone Liberty Bowl Parade.
“I have never been in front of that many people in my life,” Estep stated of the parade, adding, “It really warmed me up for the next day.”
Estep said Saturday, gameday, was a “whirlwind,” as the queens reported to the field bright and early at 8:30 a.m. to rehearse the pre-game and halftime show.
“Afterwards, we were fed at the official Pre-Game Buffet where we ate with a lot of Arkansas fans,” she stated.
Estep said 60,000 people were present for the game, and the queens were escorted to the field by servicemen from different branches of the military for the pre-game ceremonies. The queens then stood on the field with Ms. America as she sang the National Anthem.
“We then sat in the front row to witness the first half of the game,” Estep stated.
Estep noted that half-time “was when the real fun started.”
“We got to strut onto the field, wave to the crowd, and dance along while country singer Craig Morgan performed for the 60,000 fans.”
“The whole experience of this trip was like none other,” Estep stated. “I made so many new friends from all over the country, did things I never thought I could do, and I got to represent my beautiful home state.”
Arkansas beat Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl, 45-23.