BLACKSBURG – Friday is the deadline for all those who want to bid on the “Equipment Manager for a Day” experience being auctioned by the Virginia Tech athletics department for the Bowling Green football game on Sept. 22. All bids need to be submitted by 3 p.m.
For those unaware of the contest, the Tech athletics department is sponsoring an auction that will reward football game-day experiences with members of the equipment room staff, and all proceeds from that auction will be placed in a Virginia Tech Athletic Fund endowment, which funds student-athlete scholarships. The ultimate goal is to establish an endowment in the name of longtime equipment manager Lester Karlin, who has worked in the Tech equipment room for 34 years.
The game-day experiences up for auction included the Austin Peay game, played on Sept. 8, and includes the upcoming Bowling Green and the Duke games.
This experience includes an all-access tour of the equipment room and football facilities, assisting in setting up the Hokies’ locker room before the game, taking a photo with head coach Frank Beamer while holding the prestigious Virginia Tech lunch pail, watching warm-ups and then listening to Beamer’s pregame speech before going through the tunnel and standing on the sideline during the game. The winners will wear the same official Virginia Tech clothing that the coaching staff wears. The experience wraps up with the postgame presentation of the game balls in the locker room.
Anthony Ratliff, and his mother, Vivian, from Pinehurst, N.C., and Bryan Fisher and his mother, Pam Fisher, won the experience for the Austin Peay game, each submitting the same bid at the deadline. All parties enjoyed the day and encouraged other Tech fans to bid and try to win the experience.
“When I read the release about the opportunity to be a Tech equipment manager for a day, I knew that I had to be a part of it,” said Bryan Fisher, who lives in Richmond with his wife and son. “My imagination ran wild as to what the experience would be, and let me tell you, it exceeded all expectations. Starting with a complete tour of the facilities to being with the players in the locker room before and after the game, being on the sideline literally right next to the coaches and team and running out of the tunnel to ‘Enter Sandman,’ it is a day I will never forget.
“I now have a much better understanding of what a game day looks like for the team. All I can say is that, for any Hokie super fan, this is the ultimate experience and one that will take you on a journey of not just being a fan, but also feeling like a part of the team. Thank you for the opportunity to have this experience, as it is one that will last a lifetime.”
Anthony Ratliff and Vivian Ratliff agreed.
“I would like to thank our host Lester Karlin and the whole equipment staff for being outstanding gentlemen during our whole VIP Hokie treatment,” Anthony Ratliff said. “It was first class all the way, and they made us feel right at home!
“This was truly a chance of a lifetime, and anyone serious about Tech football will be in Hokie Heaven for the entire day. I am still reliving the experience and have been on a Hokie high since I've returned home. I can't even begin to express into words the way we felt. The adrenaline you feel is unlike anything else. Meeting the players, coaches, taking the all-access tour, and most of all, running through the tunnel to the greatest entrance in all of college football are definitely memories that will stand the test of time.”
“From 10 a.m. until almost 6:30 p.m., we were treated like royalty by all,” Vivian Ratliff said. “The tour was awesome. Getting to see the players, coaches and managers up close and personal was beyond my expectations. The run through the tunnel was so thrilling that words cannot explain the thrill and excitement … it was electric.
“One player, in particular, went out of his way to be welcoming – Logan Thomas. After he was done on the practice field, he came over to meet us. I know he didn't have to. He’s a real class act, just like Tech has always been. Thank you for one of the most special days ever.”
Once the deadline passes to bid on the Bowling Green experience, Tech fans will have just one more opportunity left to bid on a game-day experience – the Duke game on Oct. 13. The deadline for bids to that game will be Oct. 5.
To bid on the experience, please check out this site: http://www.hokiesports.com/equipment/. All the details can be found there.
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