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Arkansas Living November 2010 : Page 7

Memorial at 55,912. Throughout the decades, the stadium was also home to many thrilling games between the Razorbacks and their once arch rival, the Texas Longhorns, several of which were nationally televised. The dedication plaque honors those who died in the nation’s wars. Among the most memorable Razorback games at War Memorial took place in the last decade. On Nov. 29, 2002, Arkansas won the SEC Western Division Championship when quarterback Matt Jones threw a last-second touchdown pass to DeCori Birmingham to defeat Louisiana State University (LSU) 21-20. That game was dubbed, the “Miracle on Markham.” Six years later, Arkansas again beat LSU in the waning seconds of the game with a touchdown pass from Casey Dick to London Crawford. The pass was in the same end zone that Birmingham had caught the pass in 2002. Arkansas won 31-30 and this game was dubbed the “Miracle on Markham II.” In addition to exciting games, the atmosphere at War Memorial is renowned. It is known for its spirited tailgating parties and a supportive crowd who love to “Call the Hogs” at every opportunity they get. The tailgating, always popular at the stadium, has gotten even more popular in recent years with many fans who don’t even have game tickets hosting tailgating parties. Charlie Staggs, stadium manager, attributed the growth to the addition of reserve tailgating spots and corporate tailgating. “The corporate tailgating has really taken off, ” Staggs said, adding that stadium officials are considering adding additional tailgating space, if there is enough interest. From Billy Graham to the Rolling Stones Although the stadium is best known as the second home for the Arkansas Razorbacks, whose flagship stadium is located on the Fayetteville campus, other historic events have taken place here. On Nov. 11, 1994, the Rolling Stones took the stage as part of their “VooDoo Lounge” Charlie Staggs, stadium manager, discusses renovations. tour, followed in 1995 by Elton John and Billy Joel. That same year, the popular rock band, the Eagles, brought their “Hell Freezes Over” reunion tour to another packed house at the stadium. The Rev. Billy Graham hosted one of his famous crusades at the stadium in 1989, a week-long event that brought about 270,000 to the stadium. In 1991, Bob Hope hosted “Hope Across America,” which drew a crowd of 49,000. Besides the Razorbacks, other Arkansas colleges have played games at War Memorial, including Arkansas State University, the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Several NCAA Division II teams have played here as well. High school football is another mainstay of the stadium. The Arkansas Activities Association hosts the high school state football championship games at the stadium. Little Rock Catholic High school plays its home games at War Memorial while Saline County-based Benton and Bryant high schools play the “The Salt Bowl” there each September in a game that regularly draws about 20,000 fans. High school marching bands from around the state also gather at the stadium each fall for competitions. In addition to sporting events, the stadium’s website said the stadium can be “booked for most every event imaginable,’” including birthday parties, corporate events, trade shows, teleconferences and races. The “Great Stadium Debate” After decades as the Razorbacks’ home away from home, change was in the air in 2000. Then Athletic Director Frank Broyles announced that he wanted to move a home game from War Memorial to the newly expanded Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. He also said that all home games might be moved to Fayetteville. That announcement raised the ire of Little Rock city leaders, prompting the “Great Stadium Debate.” The issue kept radio talk show phone lines buzzing before an agreement was reached for a long-term Continued on next page NOVEMBER 2010 7

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