Tom Hall and Brian Dixon have a friendship spanning decades. But just as important as their friendship during that time has been their schedules – their bowl schedules.
"Once we got to about thirty years, I guess we're pretty serious about this,” said Dixon, who now lives in Denver.
Dixon and Hall met at KU. After they graduated in the early 80s they attended the 1984 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. They had a blast and wanted to commemorate their friendship post-college. So the idea of attending every bowl game was born.
"In 1984 there were 18 bowl games. And we thought, kinda like a bucket list, ‘hey, we'll knock out those 18 games and we'll maybe get in Sports Illustrated and do that,’” said Hall, who lives in Kansas City. “Well now here we are, attending our 37th bowl game. We've been doing it for 34 years, and guess what? There's nine more bowl games left."
The friends choose one or two bowl games to attend each year. Unfortunately, a lot has changed since 1984. Many bowls have been added and subtracted over the years. There are now 41 bowl games, counting the National Championship game.
As health and money continue to be of concern, at the end of the day, the “Bowl Guys’” tradition carries on because of one thing.
"What it's really become is a journey and a friendship. And it's been an opportunity to build a friendship that was there. But like many college friendships, probably would have waned a little bit,” said Dixon.
"We realized that through the bowl games we really were commemorating our friendship,” he said.
They say all that matters now is the journey, uncertain they would even want the trips to end.
"I don't know we may never finish it. We have to watch our weight. We've got to watch what we eat. We got to be really health conscious now so that we can finish this journey that we started off so many years ago,” said Hall.
"Why should it ever end? I mean they added six games last year and ya know, we were almost done with two or three left. But now we got nine games to go, so it's kinda like, Brian, what else are we gonna do? Who can't have fun at a bowl game? It's something we do. And it would be like retiring at an early age. What would I do with myself?" he said.
The “Bowl Guys” plan to attend the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego next week. It will mark their 37th game.
It’s tradition for each Bowl Guy to choose a different team to root for – the loser picking up the tab for food and drinks afterwards.
So far, the Rose Bowl has been their favorite bowl game. They hope to save the National Championship game for last.
"It's a little sobering when you look at how young you looked in the early 80s and compare it to what we look like now,” joked Dixon.
Hall said, "Actually we've been acting like we've been 24 all this time. I mean why grow up?"
Check out The Bowl Guys website to see their entire history, bowl rankings and more pictures.
Josh Helmuth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org