Tailgaters, full-capacity stadium allowed as UK kicks-off football season

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – University of Kentucky is kicking off its football season against University of Louisiana-Monroe. It’s back to normal this year after COVID-19 changed the gameday atmosphere.

In a statement, the University of Kentucky said that this year, it intends to return to its traditional game day environment.

“With an exciting lineup of opponents, and anticipating the return of bands, cheerleaders, tailgating and everything that goes along with college football Saturdays, we’re planning for great times at Kroger Field this fall,” said UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart in the statement.

Last year, COVID-19 limited Kroger Field’s seating capacity, and tailgating was not permitted. Tailgater Jeffrey Poole says that fans would park and sit in their vehicles for the games.

“Last year, everybody came and just sat in their vehicles. So you couldn’t even get out…so we missed this atmosphere,” said Poole.

Curtis Bethel, a medical student at the University of Kentucky, is excited to be back after a year-long hiatus.

“I understand why we had to take last year off and I hope that everyone understands that as well. I hope people get vaccinated, you know. Got to get that herd immunity and get everyone back in action and doing stuff like this. It’s nice that it actually feels normal,” said Bethel.

For many Solid Blue fans, tailgating is a deep-rooted tradition. Mark Myers says he’s been tailgating every year with family and friends since 1979.

“We love it, the atmosphere is incredible, we always bring something good to eat…it’s great to see the Cats and where they are now compared to where they’ve been in the past,” said Myers.

The Solid Blue fans are ready to cheer on their Cats, and they believe it’s what the players want too.

“I think it’s fantastic I think that’s what the fans needed. You know, Coach Stoops talked about it on air the other day, and was like, ‘we need you there, we need you at the Catwalk…last year, they didn’t get to feel that fan support,” said Poole.

The next Kentucky football game is against the Missouri Tigers at Kroger Field September 11.

Categories: Featured, Football, Local News, News, Solid Blue, Sports