“I said Border Bash,” Tammy Hubatch said. “I married a Gamecock fan. I thought this would be a fun place to be.”
While she admitted there was a lot of trash talking in the car on the way, Tammy Hubatch never second-guessed her decision.
“This is my first year here,” she said. “He’s been a few times, so I wanted to come this year.”
The couple held hands while sitting just to the left of the stage as thousands of people filtered into Augusta Common wearing University of Georgia and University of South Carolina shirts, pants, hats, scarves, earrings and even gloves for the Border Bash, one day before the two teams meet for what is being called one of the biggest matchups in the rivalry’s history.
Both teams are ranked in the top 10 (Georgia is No. 5 and South Carolina is No. 6), and both are undefeated this season.
“This is going to be a record turnout,” John Lynn of the Augusta Bulldog Club said of this year’s Border Bash. “This is the only time of year you will see Carolina and Georgia fans this close together.”
The event, which benefitted local children’s charities, featured food, beer and live music. Cowboy Mouth and the Joe Stevenson Band performed. Kids played football and adults talked trash over funnel cakes.
Both teams’ cheerleaders took the stage as the sun set. Directly after the Bulldogs’ cheerleaders performed, master of ceremonies Austin Rhodes had them help lead a chant repeating the letters ASU. He also told the crowd about the text campaign to replace Georgia Regents University with University of Augusta. Petitioners can now text “savethea” and their name to 91011 to be added to the petition.
Surrounding the stage, vendors sold everything a fan could need, or even dream of, to express loyalty. Along with baby clothing and jewelry, fans could buy Gamecock and Bulldog birdhouses made of a squash-like plant, or miniature tutus with team colors.
Hairy Dawg and Cocky the Gamecock were also in attendance. They performed with the cheerleaders and met the children in the crowd.
Front and center, directly in front of the stage, Rodney Pryor planted his Gamecock flag for the 19th consecutive year.
“This game means so much,” he said, noting that the energy at this year’s Border Bash was palpable. “This is the best crowd I’ve ever seen.”
Pryor also said that every year a Bulldog fan threatens to plant a flag in front of his, but he has yet to see it happen.
The game is set for 7 o’clock Saturday night in Columbia. Last year the Gamecocks won 45-42, which has the Bulldogs energetic for revenge.
“Everyone is really excited,” said Bulldog cheerleader and UGA senior Stephanie Ross. “We both want to stay undefeated.”