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Going Back To 1970: The Ramblin' Reck Travels To El Paso

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The 1970 Southwest Conference squad
via The 1970 Southwest Conference squad

This year's Sun Bowl marks the second time the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have played in El Paso. (The first was in 1970 against Texas Tech in the first Sun Bowl game that featured ranked teams.) But did you know that this football showcase will also be the second time the Ramblin Reck has made it out West?

It's the farthest west the Reck has ever been. At approximately 1,420 miles, it's a trip made for only the young and strong in spirit (and legs after sitting in the car for so long). For the 2011 Sun Bowl, the current Reck Driver and his successor will be making the trip. In preparation for this trip, I was able to discuss the 1970 Sun Bowl trip with the 1970 Reck Driver, Pat Hurley. Pat has become a good friend of mine over the past few years and was excited to tell me about the game.

The bowl game scenario was different back then as we might expect. Bowl games meant something and it was a privilege to get an invite. Pat told me that the Sun Bowl billed the matchup as "Tech vs. Tech" and there was excitement on campus tbe able to plays the ranked Red Raiders.

With all Ramblin' Reck stories come some sort of "heart attack" story. Pat's story with the Reck is one that was on the way to a photo-op. Let's see if I can give you guys the highlights without any pictures (Georgia Tech's archives are shut down until January 3rd due to some server heating issues).

- Money was needed for Ramblin' Reck transport to El Paso - Ramblin Reck Club sends out cold calls and letters.

- President of then small, now defunct airline company was a GT alum and offered to help support the trip's cause.

- Photo opportunity with the Ramblin' Reck and an airplane - WHERE IS THIS PICTURE?!

- While driving to the airport, the car overheated! While driving down the interstate - yes the interstate, times were different back then - Pat had to pull off to the side of the road and pour a gallon of water down the radiator cap. Take a second and imagine that for a second. Pretty sure Bird, myself. and 'ole DressHerInWhiteAndGold are all shaking with that.

Before trekking out to El Paso, Pat got a call from the Athletic Association at the time and got to fly on the team charter plane. The Reck actually got carried in a U-Haul by two other club members across the country.

The game itself for the Reck was uneventful which is always a good thing. Pat's favorite memories from the game waere the Reck chasing the Red Raider on his horse underneath the stadium tunnel (LOL) and being taken care of completely by the very hospitable Sun Bowl Committee. The current Driver's sentiments are identival about this year's committee.

The story of the Reck getting to El Paso was a successful one. Here's to the 2011 trip being just as successful.

Go Jackets!