Storms don’t stop Southern Heritage fans at Liberty Bowl - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Storms don’t stop Southern Heritage fans at Liberty Bowl

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Storms Friday night forced tailgaters to evacuate, but proved to be no match for the fury of fans. Storms Friday night forced tailgaters to evacuate, but proved to be no match for the fury of fans.
Tailgaters toted chairs through water-soaked grass, and set their grills afire for a second time. Tailgaters toted chairs through water-soaked grass, and set their grills afire for a second time.
Michelle Works says Friday's storm gave tailgaters extra work for the 23rd Annual SHC. Michelle Works says Friday's storm gave tailgaters extra work for the 23rd Annual SHC.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Saturday afternoon, Jackson State and Tennessee State Universities kicked off the 23rd Annual Southern Heritage Classic at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.

Friday night, however, storms forced tailgaters to evacuate the area.  But the storm proved to be no match for the fury of fans.

They dropped the coal back into place, toted chairs through water-soaked grass, and set their grills afire for a second time.

Tailgater Michelle Works says Friday's storm gave tailgaters a little extra work at the 23rd Annual Southern Heritage Classic.

"Trying to get prepared again all over again," said Works.  "The wind was blowing really badly, the storm came.  We couldn't stay out because the police had to evacuate everybody," she added.

The fun took a pause, but Tonya Sledge says the festivities didn't stop tailgaters.

"We had a bigger tent.  It blew it down," Sledge said.  "We're not going to let the wind, Mother Nature spoil our fun.  It still has to go on," she explained.

Thomas Roddie, Jr., rode out the storm in his tent to keep his spot at the first-come-first-serve tailgating area across the road from the Liberty Bowl.

"It leaned completely on top of me.  I just scooted a little on over to the left and hey, everything was fine," stated Roddie.

The thunderstorm may have thrashed tailgating tents, but Friday night's evacuation could not put a stop to Saturday's event that drew roughly 45,000 fans and will feed $21 million into the Memphis economy.

"They're going to school, they're playing sports, they're in different organizations," said Roddie.  "What better way than to support our young people," he added.

Eight-year-old Kerri Brown summed up the spirit of the day.

"It's having fun," said Brown.

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