Last week, I did something pretty crazy (for me). I drove down to Bristol Motor Speedway and stood in line to purchase tickets for next year’s ‘Battle at Bristol’ football game during their one day on-site sale. The game will take place between Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee, on September 10, at the speedway. They are expecting more than 100,000 to fill the stadium for this game. If you’re getting tired of the football talk, bear with me because this isn’t so much about football as it is about the crazy things you do when you’re a fan of something.
I got up early last Friday, and was on the road to Bristol by 7:00 AM. What is usually a 2 hour drive took nearly 3 due to rain and traffic on the interstate. When I made it to the speedway I headed inside to join the very, very long line. People had gotten in line 24 hours prior to the sale, and there were over 1,000 in line already. It was raining heavily, but luckily we were able to line up inside the speedway under the stands, where the rain was more of a trickle. After about 30 minutes in line, I was handed a number by a speedway staff member. It was a bit disheartening, because it looked to be a long wait, but it did mean I was guaranteed tickets. Each household was allowed to purchase a maximum of four.
I made friends with those around me, most of which were Tennessee fans, and we began to pass the time. We chatted football, college, etc. and things weren’t so bad. I had considered bringing a camp chair in with me, but didn’t do so since initially the line was continuously inching forward. However, I did spend much of the time standing still.
After the first hour and a half, the wind picked up which made it significantly colder than it had been. But I was determined to wait as long as I needed to, as long as I was guaranteed tickets. After about three and a half hours, I was nearly halfway through the line. Someone with a Virginia Tech hat spotted me in line as they were leaving and told me that Tech had just made some tickets available for sale on their official ticket website. We shared the information with the Tennessee fans around me, but they weren’t interested since the tickets were going to be on the Tech side of the speedway.
Thank goodness for smartphones! I was able to get on the website and purchase my tickets before getting out of line. So after a three hour drive and a four hour wait in the rain and wind, I was able to purchase my tickets online. Right around the time I was purchasing my tickets, my in-laws (who live nearby) arrived at the speedway to see how things were going and see if I needed anything. They couldn’t believe I had been able to purchase them online after all of that!
Here’s the kicker: Prior to driving down to Bristol I had contacted the VT ticket office to make sure they were not going to do a public sale of their ticket allotment. I was told they were only available for season ticket holders. However, apparently that was only through October 1st, and the remaining tickets were made available to the public October 2 (the day of the on-site sale at Bristol). About an hour and a half after I purchased my tickets online there was an official email from the VT ticket office about the sale, and they all sold out later that night.
So it’s a bit of a bummer that I drove all the way down there to purchase tickets and then was able to get them online. But I got to visit with my in-laws for a few hours after leaving the speedway, and I got to eat Pals! Yum!
I always say I am a diehard Virginia Tech football fan, and I feel like I solidified that last week. Especially with the season we have been having this year. Honestly, it’s been a rough five years or so. But I still love my Hokies. In fact, we are playing NC State tonight and Barry and I have tickets! Maybe we will turn our season around. Get ’em Hokies!!
Have you ever stood in line for hours to get tickets for an event?
Would you ever spend the night in line to buy tickets?