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Friday, September 2, 2016---Tour of the AT&T Stadium, USC Pep Rally and Spirit of Troy Reception

AT&T Stadium

AT&T StadiumToday was the busiest day for Trojan Candy in Dallas. My husband Jim and I were very anxious to see an old friend whom we haven't seen for nearly twenty years! We, along with Patti and Dudley, arrived at the AT&T Stadium at 9:00 a.m. After checking in at the lobby and receiving "Texas" size name tags, we waited for our friend Paul Turner. Jim and I first met Paul in August 1993 when he became the House Manager of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. Jim and I have been volunteering at the CCPA since January 1993 when Frank Sinatra opened our theater. Now, Paul is the Events and Operations Manager of the entire AT&T Stadium.

WindowsHe walked toward us with his big smile. Paul looked just the same as I remembered him, except minus his mustache. After hugs, Paul started taking the four of us on a private tour. He took us into the stadium first, entering on the north visitor's side. Trojan Candy noticed first the enormous windows at the west and east ends of the building. There were no goal posts up. Paul explained to us that the turf had to be changed from their Dallas Cowboy's game last night to a collegiate turf for our game versus Alabama tomorrow night. The hash marks are 40 feet apart for college and 18.5 feet apart for professional football. What a massive overhaul!

Turf
Here is a picture of the field without any Alabama, USC or game markings yet.
Gooseneck post
The gooseneck post of the goal post was installed first.
Crossbar
Next the crossbar would be attached to the gooseneck post.

Next, Paul pointed out the Owner's Box across the stadium (see below). This is the 50 yard line enclosed box where Jerry Jones gets to view the games. Paul told us that behind the Owner's Box there is a 3,000 sq. ft. luxury suite for the Jones family to relax in and view the game. Amazing!

Jerry Jones's box
Jerry Jones's Box.
Crown Royal Club
We left the field, and Paul showed us the Crown Royal Club of the Field Level Suites.
Art work
There was even art work on the ceiling of this level.

On second level, the Hall of Fame Level, Paul walked us into suite HF251 which belonged to The Brierley Group. Each Hall of Fame suite has HDTVs, a full bar/kitchen, inside den area for seating, an outside seating area, a private restroom, and VIP parking. Each suite can accommodate up to 40 people. Wow!

Interior seating
Interior seating of Suite HF251
Jim Yee, Paul Turner, and Patti and Dudley Poon
I took this picture of Jim, Paul, Patti and Dudley in Suite HF251.
Jim Yee, Patti and Dudley Poon, and Trojan Candy
Then Paul took this picture of the four of us sitting in the outside seats.
West goal post
By now, the West goal post was being tightened in place.
Bar/Kitchen
Bar/kitchen of HF251.
Optum Club
Paul took us in an elevator back down to the field level. We walked into the opulent Optum Club.
Optum Club bar
Optum Club bar.
Star
Cowboys Star on the marble floor of Optum Club.
Draft Kings Fantasy Sports Lounge
We left the Optum Club and walked to the Draft Kings Fantasy Sports Lounge.
Draft Kings Fantasy Sports Lounge
From the Draft Kings Fantasy Sports Lounge, one can see the visiting team entering and exiting the playing field.
Path to field
All of us walked this path out onto the field.
Artificial field turf
This is a close up picture of the artificial field turf.
Jim Yee
I took this picture of my hubby. Just above his head, you can see Jerry Jones's Box.
Professional turf
We left the field and walked back under the stadium seats to walk around the inside perimeter of the stadium. We looked into the room where the professional turf was stored.
Patti and Dudley Poon, Jim Yee, and Paul Turner
Paul commandeered a golf cart for us to ride.
Tyron Smith's locker
Paul then drove us to the Dallas Cowboy's Locker Room. Two Trojans currently play for the Cowboys. Here is Tyron Smith's locker.
Tyron Smith
Here is a picture of Tyron Smith (9/9/2010) in the locker room just below the ceiling. FIGHT ON!
Jim and Candy Yee
Jim and I sat at Brice Butler's (8/20/2009) locker next. Paul took this picture of us.
USC Locker Room
As we walked out of the Dallas Cowboy's Locker Room, Dudley pointed out a sign. It read, "USC Locker Room." Unfortunately, Paul said that we could not go inside.
Dallas Cheerleader's locker room
We were allowed to go into the Dallas Cheerleader's Locker Room. So we did.
Memorabilia
Back on our golf cart, Paul drove us by a storage room that housed memorabilia.
Paul Turner
Then Paul dropped us off at the Stadium Operations and parked the cart. When he returned, he led us inside to see his office. Here is Paul sitting at his desk.
$600 million
Among his memorabilia is this picture taken when $600 million in suites were sold.
Cerritos Center
He also has three pictures of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

Paul, THANK YOU for our private tour!

It turns out that Paul had to make an important phone call at 11:00 a.m. So, he finished our private tour in time for us to drive to the USC Pep Rally in downtown Dallas.

USC Pep Rally

Luckily, the traffic from Arlington to downtown Dallas was light. We parked our car in the same cheap parking lot at Union Station and caught a free D-Link bus to Klyde Warren Park. There was so much traffic around the park that our bus driver advised us to get off the bus a block early and walk to the park. We still arrived before the rally started. It was so hot and humid!

Dudley and Patti Poon, Anita Ybarra, Karen Trust, Artie Boy Ybarra, Eddie and CoCo Saldibar, and Elena and Joe CardenasIn the park, Trojan Candy saw several familiar USC faces among the hundreds in attendance, as I always do. The first friends were Karen Trust and Anita Ybarra. They must have arrived very early since they had a space in the shade. I took this picture of them with their friends. Dudley and Patti Poon, Anita Ybarra, Karen Trust, Artie Boy Ybarra, Eddie and CoCo Saldibar, and Elena and Joe Cardenas.

Roy, Karin, and Nolan Yamamoto, Elaine Kan, Wally Arakawa, and Oscar OkudaNearby, I saw some new friends whom I had met at LAX. We had been in line waiting to board our Southwest Airlines plane. I gave Karin Yamamoto my Trojan Candy card. Now, at the rally, Karin told me that she and her family had checked out my blog. Surprised, I thanked them and took their picture. Roy, Karin, and Nolan Yamamoto, Elaine Kan, Wally Arakawa, and Oscar Okuda.

Sal, Alyssa, and Richard and Marciano FloresAs I walked away from the stage to find a location to take pictures and videos, I saw a very good friend that I see at away games and at Monday Morning Quarterback. Richard Flores introduced me to his friends Sal and Alyssa. Here is the picture I took of Sal, Alyssa, Richard and his dad Marciano Flores.

Spirit of TroyThen, I heard the drums in the distance. The Spirit of Troy was coming. I ran to a spot where they were entering, but I was too close. Luckily, my husband Jim took this video of the Spirit of Troy marching into the pep rally on his iPhone.

I quickly moved to the front border line where many spectators, who followed the band into the park, had already sat down. I sneaked in to the second row and kneeled down next to and behind good friend Dan Avila. Dan was the official USC photographer for the rally. Believe me, it was so hot and humid. I was fortunate to be somewhat shaded by spectators standing behind me. How can the band members in their wool band uniforms stand the heat and humidity?

Song Girls and Drum Major
The Song Girls and Drum Major Tim Larson were ready to begin the pep rally.
Art Bartner
Dr. Art Bartner speaks to the crowd.
Song
The Song Girls, Silks and band finished a routine.
William Tell Overture
Trojan Candy took two videos of the Song Girls, Band and Yell Squad. They performed "The William Tell Overture."
Conquest
"Conquest"
Spirit of Troy
Trojan Candy tried to take a video of the Spirit of Troy marching out of the park, but I was way too close to the action. Jim, who stood in the back of the crowd, took this video on his iPhone.

The USC crowd dispersed very quickly because of the heat. Pat, Dudley, Jim and I met across the street.

Nestle truck
We were able to get free Nestle chocolate milk that was being handed out by workers in this truck. It was cold and delicious.
Dudley and Patti Poon, Jerry Ensom, and Jim Yee
In the shade finally, Trojan Candy saw another friendly face. Spirit of Troy Supporter Jerry Ensom posed with Dudley, Patti and Jim.
Ben Chua
My last picture of the pep rally was of USC Pep Band Director and band photographer Ben Chua (8/30/2013) as he walked to the band buses.

Patti, Dudley, Jim and I took a break from the heat and walked into the air conditioned Dallas Art Museum. The Spirit of Troy members were taking a break there too. They toured the museum.

After we cooled off some, we caught the D-Link bus back to our car and then walked to the USC Headquarters at the Hyatt Regency Hotel via an air conditioned underground tunnel underneath the railroad tracks.

At the Hyatt Regency we went upstairs to the USC Alumni Association Weekender Central.

Patrick Auerbach and Patti Poon
Trojan Candy saw friend Patrick Auerbach, the Associate Senior Vice President for Alumni Relations. He posed with Patti.
Poster
Throughout the hotel this poster of Alabama and USC football players was displayed.
Judy Steinberg, Valerie Sampson, Patti and Dudley Poon, and Jim Yee
As Patti, Dudley, Jim and I were walking back to the underground tunnel, we saw a very good friend waving at us. Valerie Sampson introduced us to her friend Judy Steinberg. Everyone stood by one of the football posters.

Valerie told us that she is going to be on the new USC football poster. Fantastic, Valerie!

After we said goodbye to Valerie and Judy, the four of us walked back through the air conditioned underground tunnel to the D-Link bus stop.

Spirit of Troy Reception

We were headed to the historic Adolphus Hotel in downtown Dallas to attend the "On the Road with the Spirit of Troy" Reception. It would feature a concert and a special multimedia presentation on the history of the Spirit of Troy's support of the football team at stadiums around the country.

Mike Low, Michael Donovan, Kevin Merickel, Sara Merz, and Jeff MerickelThe Adolphus Grand Ballroom was already jammed packed for the Spirit of Troy Reception. Luckily, we were able to find four seats at the end of a row. As usual, Trojan Candy walked around the room taking pictures. I saw Michael Donovan III with some friends first. Mike Low, Michael, Kevin Merickel, Sara Merz, and Jeff Merickel.

Coby and Christine Ginsberg, Dana Pechar, Barbara Van Dyk, and Charlene StrawbridgeSitting with a row of friends was a Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts friend and fellow volunteer usher Charlene Strawbridge. Charlene's daughter is a Spirit of Troy Twirler alumna. I took this picture of her with her friends. Coby and Christine Ginsberg, Dana Pechar, Barbara Van Dyk, and Charlene.

Rex and Sandy Johnston and Arthur Bartner
Next, I walked up to the front near the stage and saw friends Rex and Sandy Johnston with Dr. Art Bartner.
On the Road
This slide and others were shown as we visited before the start of the program.
Spirit of Troy entering
The Spirit of Troy, Song Girls, Silks and Pep Squad marched into the ballroom.
Stadiums Conquered
This is a map of the "Stadiums Conquered 1987-2016."
Fight On
"Fight On"
Orange Bowl
The presentation included slides of the band at various football stadiums, places like Australia and Japan, and bowl games.
Tusk
Trojan Candy recorded the best part of "Tusk."
Conquest
As The Spirit of Troy played "Conquest" to end the pep rally, everyone was hyped up for the game.
Steve Chock and Wandy and Larry Jung
As we were leaving the ballroom, Trojan Candy came upon friends Steve Chock and Wandy and Larry Jung.
Bart and Susette Campbell, Doris and Mel Hughes, Dudley Poon, Jim Yee and Patti Poon
Trojan Candy met friends whom we see at men's basketball games. Bart and Susette Campbell, Doris and Mel Hughes, Dudley, Jim and Patti.
Barbara and Dan Cassidy
Spirit of Troy friends Barbara and Dan Cassidy.
Richard and Marciano Flores, Patti and Dudley Poon, and Jim Yee
Finally, as we walked downstairs, we ran into very good friends Richard and Marciano Flores. Trojan Candy saw them at the noon pep rally. What a perfect picture to end our eventful day.