With the introduction of the CTE building to Barren County High School, new traditions have been added to the Barren County football scene. Additions include tailgating, a larger student section, “the tunnel” and the Trojan Walk.
Tailgating is not usually associated with a high school atmosphere, but this year Barren County has decided to change that. There is now a designated time and place for students, parents and community members to tailgate before games.
The grassy area next to the softball field is filled with the sound of excited chatter, the smell of grilled hamburgers and the sight of people playing various games.
Other guests include local candidates who are set up to not only gain support for their campaigns by offering free food and drinks, but also to support the football team.
“I think it will definitely raise their morale because they have the support of the family and the friends and the community,” Lisa McDaniel, Mica Wood Pence’s campaign volunteer, said.
At last week’s game against Casey County, many were set up with lawn chairs and grills.
Across the lawn from the grilling food, BCHS’ student section painted up in black as the theme Friday was “black out.”
“Painting up is a super fun way to show support for the team,” sophomore Lana Westmoreland said.
Barren County Head Football Coach Jackson Arnett has tried to create an atmosphere where players get involved, too.
“There’s more buzz around the game than there used to be,” Arnett said. “I love it and so do these guys.”
Before games, the Trojans group together. The players do not leave campus. They eat a pregame meal while joining each other in the JROTC building before the Trojan Walk.
“They’re spending a lot of time together with people they never thought they’d spend time with,” Arnett said, “Now they’re creating new relationships and building new bonds.”
Arnett said that players hang out together outside of the team, too. He sees them riding around together often.
“We have to just come together as a family,” Arnett said. “Everybody knows everybody on the team now; last year we had guys who honestly didn’t know some of the others on the team.”
The connectedness doesn’t stop before the game. Players hold hands as they march to the field during the Trojan Walk.
“The Trojan Walk is like a pep rally right before the game,” McDaniel said.
The walk is designed for the football team to see the support they have from the community. Fans line the way to the stadium and cheer the team with cowbells, pompoms and words of encouragement.
During the walk, Trojan pride can be felt among fans according to tailgater and alumni Starla Buckley.
“There is great excitement,” Buckley said. “It’s a great night to be a Trojan.”
When the players run through the tunnel directly below the stands, they can physically feel the fan’s excitement.
“Before we come out of the tunnel, everyone’s banging their feet on the bleachers,” Kaleb Spillman said, “That’ll get you in a mindset you can’t even explain and brings you to another level of hype.”
Trojan fans plan to carry on new traditions, trying new things each game. On Sept. 7, fans plan to have a potluck during pregame activities.
The Trojans host Allen County-Scottsville on Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. Pregame and tailgating activities will begin at 4:45 p.m. in the lawn adjacent the BCHS softball field.