For several years, Ben Stein hosted a quiz-game show in which he took on all comers and was in theory putting up his own cash for the prize — Win Ben Stein’s Money.
With our TwitTix, I’ve created our own Razorback equivalent: Win Bill Smith’s Tickets. Over the past year, a method to the distribution of my own game tickets has evolved to a series of different giveaways through our official Twitter feeds. Obviously, with children growing older and job duties changing, I don’t get the chance to use them as much as I did.
For years when I had left over tickets, I made sure that they went into the hands of what I judged as a deserving fan. Usually a younger fan, perhaps with a dad or grandfather. Nothing made me happier than to see a big smile from the kid, and then the thank you from the adult when I refused any payment for the tickets.
“They were free to me,” I’d say. But let me pay you something was often the reply. “Cheer for the Hogs,” was all I’d ask.
Sure, I know folks who would sell seats. I’d rather help out a friend or a fan.
As we head roll down to Dallas on Friday, I am reminded of one of the main reasons why I never take cash for my seats.
While my passion for Major League Baseball is, well, casual at best, I’ve always been a fan of the Texas Rangers. Probably a product of growing up along the I-20 corridor — we always looked west to DFW.
So making my first trip to the old Arlington Stadium back in college with some friends was a pretty big deal back in the late 1980s. We were in town for another event, and decided to head to the ballpark. Walking up to the ticket window, I was stopped by a guy who asked do you need tickets?
“Here you go. Take these, I don’t need them today.”
“Well, OK, what do I owe you?”
“Nothing. You’re Rangers fans right?”
“Then just enjoy the game.”
Great, we just got four free tickets to the game. Money in our college student blue jeans. I yelled out to my friends to get out of the ticket line.
Remember, college students. We figured we’d buy bleacher seats and be happy. Hmm. Don’t know where section 110 is. Hey ticket taker guy, where are these seats? He smiled and pointed down a ramp. Down? OK we thought.
It didn’t take long to realize we had not only be gifted tickets, but we were holding seats in about the 10th row, lower level, right behind the Rangers dugout.
And years before the movie came out to turn charitable kindness into a cliché, I decided to pay it forward whenever I had the chance.
I never tire of making someone’s day to get into a Razorback event — usually with OK seats (hey, I’m not THAT far up the food chain). This year at the Tennessee Tech game, the TwitTix winners were an older couple from Kansas. They were lifelong Razorback fans, but this was the first time they had decided to get in the car and drive over. It was already a pretty big day for them because they wanted to see Ryan Mallett play. Now, they get in for free.
For the ULM game in Little Rock, the E.R. nurse who picked up the seats outside the Clinton Library. She’d been going from person to person among the Razorback band staff — “are you Bill Smith?”, “are you Bill Smith?”, “do you know where Bill Smith is?” — and was beyond excited. “I saw your Tweet and I couldn’t get off until five,” she said. “I was so worried I wouldn’t get here in time.”
The next day, I’d managed to pick up two extra seats for a bonus giveaway. “What do I have to do to win these?” I was asked. “You got here to the place first, and you have to root for the Hogs,” I replied. He told me he’d been waiting for a while, wanting to make sure he was at the spot in time. After I gave him the tickets, he sat in his car for what looked like 10 minutes, excitedly explaining to someone that he’d won the tickets.
Over the 20-plus years at Arkansas, I probably could have earned a nice amount of spare change off my seats.
No amount of money can replace the smile, the handshake, the bear hugs, I’ve collected instead.
WHAT ARE THE TWITTIX? A pair of seats given away to followers of our official Twitter feed — @ArkRazorbacks — is what the TwitTix are all about. To win, you need to follow the feed to get the clues as to where and when the seats will be given away. Most of the time, it is first come, first served. During baseball or basketball season, I’ll move around the facility and change times for the giveaways to mix things up. For high demand events — conference tournaments or larger football games — you’ll have other requirements. Sometimes it’s being an iHog user — that plus the key Tweet won seats to the Liberty Bowl last year. Sometimes, it’s a trivia question tiebreaker — that happened at the SEC men’s basketball tournament.
SO WHERE ARE THEY TOMORROW: Yes, yes. You’ve indulged my pre-game blog to get down to the brass tacks of where you can win my tickets to the Southwest Classic. Here is the plan. Since I anticipate more than average interest, you will need to be a follower of the main Twitter feed, @ArkRazorbacks. The clues begin Friday morning, and you will need to have the messages to show me on your mobile device to qualify for the tickets.
There are two tickets for the classic up for grabs here — again, my personal seats — and the giveaway will take place at the Razorback Rally at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on Friday night. The rally begins at 7:30 p.m., and I’ll be looking for a winner right around starting time.
TWITTIX SET FOR NEXT FIVE FOOTBALL GAMES: Distant Razorback fans — that means if you live near Auburn, Starkville or Columbia and want to attend those road football games — I will be on the ground with a TwitTix giveaway on the Friday before each game. Watch the @ArkRazorbacks feed for details. I’ll still go game-day for the home games in Fayetteville — Ole Miss and homecoming with Vanderbilt.
NOT JUST SOUTHWEST CLASSIC WEEKEND: The Razorback swimming and diving team opens its season in nearby Denton, Texas, against North Texas.
Back in Fayetteville, it is an important double-double weekend with SEC opponents for Razorback volleyball and soccer. Both teams start at 7 p.m. on Friday evening, with volleyball’s match televised on Cox Cable. All four events will have RazorVision coverage as well as new media live blogs.
BLOGHOGS, UNITE: If you are in the Dallas area for the SW Classic, I’m considering a tweet-up for some of the fans who have been a part of the interactive blogs the past few months. More details during the game blog from the Texas A&M game.
ONLINE DETAILS: With ABC providing coverage via the Big 12 package, this is a split-national event. Here’s links to the coverage map. It will also be on ESPN3 at this specific link. Read carefully here. If you are in the ABC broadcast footprint, we understand that means you won’t have ESPN3 coverage. Obviously, if you are not in the ABC broadcast area, you get the game either GamePlan or ESPN3.
Download: 10-9-10 Arkansas @ Texas A&M.pdf