POSTED: Saturday, December 29, 2012 - 11:24pm
UPDATED: Sunday, December 30, 2012 - 3:37pm
The countdown to the 79th annual Hyundai Sun Bowl continues and today, both teams took a shopping trip in East El Paso. Business owners enjoy the tourism because they say it brings in healthy sales.
Georgia Tech and USC players made a pit stop at the Lucchese Factory Outlet today to browse through the endless rows of cowboy boots, and try on different styles for a taste of Texas fashion. For many players, it was a first time experience.
"I've never been before. As of now, I'm liking it. I'm digging it. I'm for sure going to get a pair of boots," said USC Offensive Tackle, Nathan Guertler.
"The coaches wanted to take us boot shopping, you know, experience Texas.. Get a little bit of a different culture than Southern California," said David Garness, USC Offensive Lineman.
Carlos Armendariz is the store manager at the Lucchese store on the east side. He is thrilled to share this experience with teams when they come to El Paso each year.
"It's something that they can't get at home. I mean we're in the boot capital of the world so for them to get the selection that we have here at the store, they're just amazed by it and pretty much, all of them buy boots when they're here," he said.
Sales for Lucchese and surrounding businesses soar when football teams are in town for the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
"USC usually travels pretty good so we're expecting good things from them. And we've been getting a lot of business, again, from Georgia Tech also, even though they were here last year, they're still bringing in their fans and a lot of repeat customers from last year," said Armendariz.
Players said El Paso has made them feel right at home.
"The people here are amazing. Hospitality at its finest," said Tyler Teknipp, Georgia Tech Safety.
"People are great here. Everyone's trying to make the trip feel as good as they can. I like it," Guertler said.
"Much much different culture than what we're used to in Southern California. It's awesome. It's a great experience," said Garness.
The Hyundai Sun Bowl festivities continue tomorrow with the Sun Bowl fan fiesta, where families can enjoy mariachi music, dancing, and a colorful fireworks show at the end. The festivities will take place at the Convention Center from 4pm to 8pm.