UCM military appreciation tailgate and football game

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The University of Central Missouri (UCM) hosted a military appreciation tailgate to kick off the UCM Mules first football game at Walton Stadium in Warrensburg, Missouri, Aug. 31, 2017.

There were games, face paintings, food and more at the pregame tailgate for military members and their families. Over 600 Team Whiteman members enjoyed snow cones, cotton candy, inflatables, music and caricatures before the big game started. The UCM marching band performed several songs at the tailgate shortly before the game started to get the members pumped up.

“It was a great way to start the weekend,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Walker Wilson, a firefighter assigned to the 509th Civil Engineer Squadron. “I enjoyed all the activities, food and interacting with different members of the military.”

As UCM fans made their way to their seats in the stadium they felt the energy and excitement surround them. The school colors of black and cardinal covered everything on the home side of the stadium.

On the final note of the National Anthem a B-2 Spirit performed a flyover showing military support and appreciation. This increased the excitement level of the fans before the game.

The UCM Mule Kickers , cheerleaders and marching band performed on the field and electrified the audience. Upbeat music filled the stadium and the fans cheered when they saw the team storm out onto the field with their bright red UCM Mules flag.

Four members from both the UCM team and the Pittsburg State University team walked to the center of the field for the coin toss. Brig. Gen. John J. Nichols, the 509th Bomb Wing commander, flipped the coin at the beginning of the game to determine what team would choose to receive or defend first.

It was a close game with the UCM Mules winning against the Pittsburg State University Gorillas, with a final score of 28 to 23.

“The tailgate and game were beneficial for Whiteman because it helped promote military and community relations,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin McNeeley, the compliance and inventory NCO in charge assigned to the 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron. “It was a fun way to get the University of Central Missouri and us supporting each other.”