The Sun Bowl Association greeted Stanford and the University of Pittsburg football teams with traditional Borderland culture and hospitality as they arrived to El Paso Wednesday morning.
“The Sun Bowl is the single-biggest event of the year every year here and to be the title sponsor for nine years is incredible and this community always supports the game,” title sponsor and former mayor, Oscar Leeser said.
The Sun Bowl Association leaders set up a week-long schedule of events for the teams, such as a stop at the El Paso Children’s Hospital and a day with the troops at Fort Bliss.
Sun Bowl leaders say these activities are meant to show the players a piece of El Paso and create memories for them apart from the game.
“Something I think El Paso is really well-known for is it’s hospitality and how loving and how welcoming everyone is, so I really hope they appreciate that and they can take that back with them and just treat everyone nice like how El Paso does for them,” the 2018-19 Sun Queen said.
The Sun Bowl Association executive director, Bernie Olivas, says he doesn’t think it’s a problem that the teams are not local and says the city of El Paso will show up to the game as per tradition.
“I mean these are nationally known teams so I hope everybody decides to come out and watch two teams that they don’t get to see very often and enjoy a great game,” Olivas said.
The Sun Bowl game also helps the economy according to Leeser.
“The first year we were the sponsors back in 2010 it brought about $5 million to the economy as a rule it normally brings about 13 to 15 million dollars to the economy and that’s really important to keep the economy going every year so they look forward to the hotel stays, the restaurants and being around our community,” Leeser said.
As far as the two head coaches, they were all smiles upon landing in the Sun City, admiring the work put into the event.
“This is not just a bowl situation this is an entire community, once this bowl game is over they start gearing up for the next year and all the volunteers they love it they are passionate about it and that oozes through in everything that we do,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said.
And Pitt’s head coach, Pat Narduzzi, compared the team and Pittsburgh community to tough work ethic of El Paso.
“I think El Paso is a blue collar town as far as what I see and sense from it today, from the people, but I would say Pittsburg coming here is another tough football team, tough people.”