Hustonville man, friends watch SEC tourney games in style from skybox

March 15, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

ATLANTA - Almost a year ago Hustonville's Jimmy Gordon knew where he was going to be when the 2004 Southeastern Conference Tournament was played.

"I was in Nashville for the NCAA South Region last year and a friend had a suite for the games," said Gordon. "I decided right then that was the only way to go and that's how I would watch the SEC Tournament in Atlanta."

He called the Georgia Dome last June and learned that a suite to accommodate 16 people would cost $5,000, or about $312 per person. He immediately took it and has been here since Thursday with friends watching Kentucky and other teams play in the SEC Tournament.

"I didn't think I would have any trouble finding enough people to go to the games," Gordon said.

Considering a ticket to each game of the SEC Tournament would cost $200, Gordon thought the added luxury of the suite would be an easy sell. Each suite has two televisions, a couch and access to a bathroom. It also comes with four parking passes to each tournament session along with four passes that allow those who already have tickets to obtain access to the suite, too.


"I think it is a good deal," said Danville's Erv Vanover, who works at Kentucky Utilities with Gordon. "It's only a little more than what a regular ticket would cost, and you get a lot better value. Jimmy put all this together. I didn't think he could do it, but when he asked me, I immediately told him I was in."

Wesley Burnside, also of Danville, said even though the suite is located high above the Georgia Dome court, the setting is perfect.

"I think the view is great. I love looking down any way. Plus, you don't have to worry about any fans jumping up in front of you and keeping you from seeing the game," Burnside said.

They've been to the SEC Tournament the last four years

Gordon and Danville's Eddie Smock have been to the SEC Tournament the last four years. They both like meeting people and watching Kentucky play basketball.

"It's just something we enjoy and have fun doing," Smock said.

"I do miss sitting out with all the other fans a little bit because we've met some nice people from other places that way," Gordon said.

He met Alabama fans at last year's tournament in New Orleans who had extra tickets that he bought. To return the favor, he invited the two fans to join him and his friends in their suite Thursday.

Some other friends joined the group Friday and Saturday.

He also had two couples from Lincoln County - Jessica and David Cornelius and Debbie and Bill Demrow -- join the group Friday.

"When Kentucky wins, it's just a plus," Gordon said. "Win or lose, we are here for the tournament. We like Kentucky basketball, but we also just like basketball and being around people that we know and like. You can't have this much fun at home."

Gordon has already started making plans for next year's tournament which will be played here, too.

"Next year we are going to add eight more people," Gordon said. "They have a suite for 24 that will cost $8,000. That's not much more per person, but we will have even more room.

"Once you have come to a tournament this way, it's the only way to do it."

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