Million Dollar Band drumline and
watch as the colorguard and cheerleaders walk through on their way to
Standing in the shadow of Denny
Chimes, I strike up a conversation with
a student named Jordan Thompson,
dressed as a 1960s, mod version of
legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. A
senior at Alabama, Thompson is an
ROTC member and was on hand to help
in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
He has a very direct, matter-of-fact way
of speaking, similar to the Joe Friday
character from Dragnet. He must have
called me ‘sir’ a dozen times as he spoke
about his experience on April 27.
“It was pretty intense. My classmates
and I were in the military building and
we weren't allowed to leave until we
pre-game ri Tuals in fron T of her Ten T borderline on The
bizarre bu T are always a blas T. firs T, she offers a sho T of her own
special mixed drink To anyone who walks by, including us.
As we continue our walk, we notice
a dozen people having a lot of fun
underneath a tent, complete with a DJ
blasting Bon Jovi at ear-popping volumes. The party’s host is a saucy and
friendly little strumpet named Julie
Armstrong, or more commonly known
as Julie the Shot Queen when tailgating
Pre-game rituals in front of her tent
borderline on the bizarre but are always
a blast. First, she offers a shot of her own
special mixed drink to anyone who walks
by, including us. An insane concoction
of rum, peach Schnapps, apple pucker,
cranberry juice, Red Bull and pink
lemonade powder, this stuff will make
you . . . well . . . pucker up, Buttercup.
As kickoff approaches, the street in
front of Armstrong’s tent—she has a
handcrafted sign in her image out front
to help fellow tailgaters find her—turns
into a college tailgating version of the
Soul Train Dance Line.
“On both sides of the sidewalk, everybody going to the stadium has to dance
through the middle,” Amstrong says.
“Even the 80-year old tailgaters dance
through the middle. No exceptions."
“My reputation proceeds me,” she
adds. “My son, who lives in Austin,
Texas, ran into a guy that comes here
and tailgates and said, ‘Y’all are the ones
who dance on the sidewalks and have
the shots,’” she adds. “We’re really a
very friendly tailgating group. We invite
the opposing team for every game, even
the Auburn game. We think it’s just
good camaraderie for us to get along
A resident of Dallas, Texas, Armstrong
flies into town for each home game.
Even the fun-loving Shot Queen can’t
keep from getting emotional about the
tornado and the devastation it caused.