Overnight ride takes Missouri band to Texas Bowl

Thursday, December 31, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 12:15 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 31, 2009

HOUSTON — The Texas Bowl has provided Sean Radcliff with plenty of opportunity to watch movies. The freshman saxophone player in Marching Mizzou watched six on the band’s bus trip from Columbia to Houston. The band left Columbia at 6 p.m. Tuesday and rode through the night to arrive in Houston around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. It will perform when the Missouri football team plays Navy in the Texas Bowl at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in Houston.

It’s typical for the band to travel through the night for bowl games, said Michael Knight, director of Marching Mizzou. Most of the band’s members had been in their hometowns for winter break, and leaving in the evening allows them to travel to Columbia during the daylight hours. Traveling overnight also requires fewer stops.

Radcliff began his trip by watching “The Hangover,” and “Star Trek,” the two movies that were played on his bus. Marching Mizzou brought six buses of people and a truck with equipment to Houston. After the movies, Knight said much of the band sleeps.

But Radcliff said he is particular about his sleep. He usually needs to have a fan running and can’t sleep on a bus unless he is extremely tired. So he turned to his portable DVD player, watching four John Wayne movies. After the four movies, his DVD player's batteries failed. He finally fell asleep at about 7:30 a.m., sleeping for about two hours before the group arrived in Houston.

Fellow freshman saxophone player Ryan DeLeon took a different approach. He and other members of the band threw blankets over seats to create makeshift “forts,” for sleeping.

“Greatest idea,” he said. “Kept the back real warm.”

He said he managed to get about four hours of sleep and learned some do’s and don’ts about sleeping on a bus.

“I figured out that the floor of a bus gets really cold,” he said. “Really cold, I don’t know why, it’s just the floor. And it’s the only place you can really sprawl out and not worry. But since we were kind of back by the bathroom, you kind of had people wake you up on accident. Because they’re trying to get in, they’ll get you or something.”

The band’s schedule was busy once it arrived in Houston. It had an afternoon rehearsal at Rice University with Navy’s band and an evening pizza party at its hotel. Although coming to the Texas Bowl involved a tight travel schedule, Radcliff said it was worth the trip.

“This place is awesome,” he said, standing in the lobby of the band’s hotel. “So I’m excited about that. And we get a T-shirt out here, so I’m pretty excited about my free T-shirt.”

Jane Monaghan, a freshman baritone player, agreed with Radcliff.

“Just to be able to hang out with everybody, it’s a good way to break up the long winter break that we have,” she said. “A lot of people live out of town, so I don’t really get to see everybody. I don’t know, it’s just a lot of fun. And plus, we get to see the game.”

Knight said the band’s plan is to leave Houston almost immediately after today’s game and arrive in Columbia around lunchtime on Friday.

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