MTSU ‘Pigskin’ kickoff scholarship fundraiser brews at Hop Springs Farm

A new venue with a growing connection to MTSU’s fermentation science program will be on tap for Blue Raider fans attending the annual Pigskin Pregame, the kickoff to the 2018 football season.

Steel Barrel Brewery at Hop Springs Farm, 6790 John Bragg Highway, will be the site for the event starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, with tickets now available for purchase. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased at www.mtalumni.com/pigskin2018.

“Pigskin Pregame has been a Blue Raider tradition for more than 20 years,” said Blaire Buergler, an Office of Alumni Relations assistant director. “It comes during an exciting time of the year — where we are preparing to greet students as they return to campus and counting down to football.”

As for the new location, Buergler said the Alumni Association “is thrilled to host this year’s event at Hop Springs. While still working on the space’s finishing touches, they have already been a great university partner. We are hopeful the excitement around this new venue will bring many new faces to the event and have already seen support from new sponsors. We invite all community members to join us in August for this annual celebration.”

Pigskin Pregame is an annual fundraiser for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship, which is awarded to children and grandchildren of MTSU alumni, Buergler said.

The Alumni Association will award $1,000 scholarships — $500 in the fall and $500 in the spring semester — to students again this year. Eligible sophomores, juniors and seniors are considered. Pigskin Pregame has raised more than $70,000 during the past eight years.

Party patrons will be among the first in the area to enjoy this property, as its official grand opening has been delayed until sometime in September, Buergler said. Eventually, fermentation science students will conduct research in the business’s laboratory.

Fermentation science program director Tony Johnston said he and students will be on hand to answer questions, brochures will be available, there will be a floor plan of the laboratory layout and an opportunity for attendees to participate in a simple sensory science exercise.

“This brief test will demonstrate the type of testing we’ll be able to accomplish in the Sensory Lab when construction is completed,” Johnston said. “I encourage everyone to participate until our supplies run out. Everyone who participates will be given their ‘results,’ which doesn’t normally occur when a person participates in formal sensory testing. It’s going to be a great experience for all.”

In addition to football coach Rick Stockstill, head coaches in other men’s and women’s sports at MTSU are likely to attend the event, which will be held rain or shine.

Music will be provided by alumni Jessilynn Kidd (Class of 2016) and her fiancée Cory Fisher (’17), who met in assistant professor Odie Blackmon’s songwriting class, Buergler said.

Food will be catered by Slick Pig Bar-B-Q.

Platinum-level sponsors include First Tennessee Bank; J. Harmon, Home Team of Keller Williams; Shalag US Inc.; and Guy and Maggie Wilson.

The Blue Raiders open the season at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, against Vanderbilt in Nashville. Their home opener in Floyd Stadium will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, against Tennessee-Martin.

MTSU has more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

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