For anyone going to the Independence Bowl, it’s time to finish making reservations.
Just about the only thing that hasn’t been entirely booked in the Shreveport-Bossier area is car rental. Nearly all of the hotel rooms are reserved and airplane seats between Columbia Regional Airport and Shreveport Regional Airport are quickly being filled.
But you can still buy a ticket to MU’s first bowl game in five years.
Ticket sales already greater than 1998
The MU Athletic Association sold more than 2,500 tickets by 10:30 a.m. Monday — more than the total number of tickets they sold for the Tigers’ last bowl appearance in Tucson, Ariz., in 1998, according to Marty Finn, ticket manager for MU’s Athletic Association. MU has been allotted 12,000 tickets.
Columbia’s Summit Travel has almost sold all of the 50 ticket packages it is offering. Dodd’s Athletic Travel nearly sold out of its packages, which include about 350 game tickets, according to co-owner Ken Bruce.
Almost all hotels are booked
As of 3 p.m. Monday, almost all 8,300 rooms available in the 26 designated fan hotels in the Shreveport-Bossier area were booked, said Kim Brice of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau.
“It sounds like the Missouri fans and the Arkansas fans are traveling really well,” Brice said.
But not to despair.
Rooms will become available throughout the next three weeks as travel agencies release rooms for which they were unable to sell packages. Fans who change their plans will also release rooms.
Bruce, who remembers selling tickets to the Tigers’ last bowl game, offers an explanation: “This is selling faster because it’s closer.”
Barbara Allen and her friends have already reserved three rooms, one in Shreveport and two 30 miles east of town.
“We decided to go to the bowl no matter where it was,” the 21-year-old MU student said.
Students plan for 11-hour drive
Allen and her friends are planning to meet near Springfield, Mo., on Dec. 29 so they can make the 11-hour drive to Shreveport the next day, but they are not planning on sightseeing along the way.
For MU alumnus Don Allendorf, a season ticket holder and resident of Columbia, this year’s bowl will be his first.
“This has grown into a family thing,” Allendorf said.
His daughter — also an MU alumna — his son-in-law, three grandsons and possibly other relatives plan to attend the bowl game.
Allendorf and his wife considered going to the Tigers’ last bowl game.
“We decided it was too far away,” he said.
His daughter prompted him to buy tickets Monday morning.
Alexis Gardner, an MU student, made the decision to attend the bowl Monday morning.
“I think this will be my only opportunity to attend a bowl game,” she said.
The Columbia resident plans to drive to the bowl game with her boyfriend but has yet to reserve a hotel room.
“It would be great to have 12,000 MU fans at the game,” Finn said.