ORLANDO, Florida (WXOW) – A sea of red and white as Badger fans rally in Orlando the day before the Capital One Bowl.
"It's the fans, the color, it's just a good time," said Sharon Wood of Waukesha, one of the several thousand on hand for the Wisconsin Pep Rally Tuesday afternoon. "We're season ticket holders. We go to ball games."
She added, "We like to win them."
It was the first chance for the Badger faithful to come together to root on Wisconsin at the Orlando Bowl Week Fan HQ at Pointe Orlando Tuesday afternoon.
The rally began with a video recap of the season to set the stage for the event. The video was followed by Badger players Jared Abbrederis, Chris Borland, James White, and Coach Gary Andersen coming up on stage to talk about their time with Wisconsin and pump the crowd up for the game.
Two College Football Hall of Famers kept the crowd going as current Athletic Director Barry Alvarez and Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne both commented on South Carolina and the game. Dayne ramped the crowd up doing some good-natured trash talking of how the Badgers will beat the Gamecocks on Wednesday.
Tim Williams of Jacksonville, Florida made the trip to Orlando to attend the pep rally and the game. "It's a longer trip to Madison, so I had to come down here to see the Badger crowd."
The retired Navy man is originally from Dousman, near Oconomowoc. His wife is also from Wisconsin. Williams said he wanted to be with other Wisconsin fans. "It's mainly the camaraderie. I'm locked down here in the SEC, so to have the Big 10 close; I wanted to be surrounded by my people, the Badgers, Bucky that's what I want to be close to."
Even after the rally was over, he was still looking for another party to spend time with other fans.
As for the game, he's seen South Carolina in action before. "We've been beaten up by Steve Spurrier down here, the Gators, so to have Wisconsin come down here to Florida, I'm really going to be rooting for a Wisconsin victory."
The rally finished with another tradition-music from the Badger Band. Under the direction of the always enthusiastic Director of Marching Bands Michael Leckrone, the band energized the crowd with the songs that fans have come to know during performances-the Chicken Dance, Tequila, On Wisconsin, Varsity, and You've Said It All. Spontaneous dancing broke out as a woman ran up to Bucky Badger during the Beer Barrel Polka.