Editor’s note: Our good friend Twist, aka @FightOnTwist, flocked to El Paso for Monday’s Sun Bowl. Here’s his personal account of the trip, as he pays homage to The Sun City despite a 21-7 USC loss to Georgia Tech. Enjoy as he recants his adventures from the weekend.
This article is nothing more than one of thanks. There are a number of articles you can pull up for analysis on the game, but I wanted this one to be a special thank you to the people of El Paso.
See, this trip had the potential for disaster given the events leading up to the 79th Hyundai Sun Bowl. While some natives had no problem reminding USC fans that they were unwelcome after Twitter comments from players— and it’s important to recognize that this is something they are allowed to say after what was said about their town—the vast majority of the people I met couldn’t have been any nicer if they had tried.
Where to begin? I’m starting at the manliest steakhouse I have ever seen: The Cattleman’s Steakhouse.
If you haven’t heard of this place, do yourself a massive favor and look it up. Upon walking into the restaurant, your man senses were on high alert as everything around you punched you in the face with manliness. To paraphrase Maddox, this place kicked so much ass, they had to import colons from other countries just to meet the demand.
I won’t even bother trying to summarize their menu because I know I won’t do it justice. Instead, I will say that Jesse, our server, couldn’t have been a nicer guy. Texans have a very humble way of reminding you that they have forgotten more about steak than some of us So Cal folk will ever know, and Jesse was no different. He took the time to break down the manliness of each item on the menu and suggest we try something called “The Cowboy.”
The Cowboy is the ultimate test of awesome. This thing is two pounds of steak. Yeah, you read that right. Aside from the fact that it was ridiculously cheap—only $38 for two pounds of New York Strip & filet mignon!—this thing was probably one of the best steaks I have ever had. I don’t understand the size of the glass your drink comes in, given the size of your actual entrée, but Jesse solved that problem by bringing me multiple drinks at once.
After finishing our meal and checking out some of the 52 square miles of ranch this steakhouse sat on, we headed over to the Fan Fiesta.
We finally met up with the Hyundai Sun Bowl PR team & they couldn’t have been any cooler. Ana Chavez, the maiden of the group, gave us the straight up truth about where to go. She went out of her way to consider what we enjoyed before recommending anything. How many bowls will do that for you? Some might, sure. But she also stood out underneath the El Paso sky with me and watched the fireworks show put on by the Sun Bowl. Now, how many bowls will do that for you? She was the consummate professional and was always checking in to see that we were having a blast.
Ana actually recommended our next adventure to the Hope & Anchor. It’s the local favorite, from what I could tell. The bartenders were talking with us all night and throwing drinks at us and I met two locals in the bar, Francesca & Shaun. Again, probably one of the cooler couples I have ever met.
Francesca & Shaun share degrees and a love of history from UTEP. They spent much of the night hanging out with us and trying to help us find something to do. They didn’t pretend that there was a lot to do, but they never stopped trying. It was a pleasure to speak with them the whole night and I’m thankful they enjoyed hanging out with us.
Lastly, one of the more remarkable things I witnessed was how the city of El Paso embraces the Sun Bowl. It’s not a wonder this bowl has been around for 79 years. The citizens of El Paso come out and support this bowl. They pick a team they like, buy a ticket, and show up to watch the game. It was honestly one of the coolest things I had ever seen. They love their Sun Bowl and will continue to support it. Not hard to see why, honestly.
So, thank you to El Paso. You guys had every reason not to embrace Trojan fans, but you did it anyhow. I won’t forget it.
For photos from the trip, click on the thumbnails below.