We Made It! Christmas Day from El Paso

Dec. 25, 2008

El Paso, Texas -

We made it!

The Beavers' official party landed in El Paso at 6:54 p.m. MST, about an hour later than scheduled due to weather delays at Portland International Airport.  The team arrived at PDX under heavy snow and then waited on the plane due to subsequent de-icing delays.

But, the Hawaiian Airlines chartered flight went smoothly once in the air, even though it seemed odd to be able to order Guava juice from the flight attendants and watch tourism promotional videos on surfing and luaus in the Islands - when traveling to El Paso, Texas - not the usual Hawaiian flight plan.

Nevertheless the Beavers are in Sun City, and while the locals seemed freezing, us Oregonians or at least the folks who currently call the Beaver state home, were happy to get the heck out of the frigid conditions.

The team had an outstanding Christmas Dinner, relatively speaking, on the plane. Your choice of turkey or roast beef main courses, with the usual complement of vegetables, stuffing and mashed potatoes.  Cheesecake desert to top it off.  It's not mom's cooking, but it wasn't the usual airline fare either. 

We touched down in El Paso after an approximate three hour flight and were greeted by the Sun Bowl committee at the arrival gate - a great bunch of hosts - 'the best in the business' as they call themselves - and from our previous experience - we can't argue.

The mariachi band and the Sun Court princesses welcomed the team at the main entrance to the airport.  A cast of players got to dance (see photos) and head coach Mike Riley got into the act.  Injured reserve cornerback James Dockery seemed right at home in the festivities and quarterback Lyle Moevao looked pretty good too.

It's a quick jaunt from the airport to the Radisson, the headquarters for the Pac-10 team at this bowl.  In fact some of the party actually just walked - it amounts to a quarter-mile walk.

The El Paso media greeted the team - it's a big deal here.  A couple of a television stations and the El Paso Times interviewed Riley, Howard Croom, Dwight Roberson and Victor Butler, among others.

'It's great to be here,' Riley said.  'The team is excited to play in the Sun Bowl again and I know they were looking forward to getting here.  They can't wait to experience the hospitality that the Sun Bowl is known for.'

The team will get a Sun Bowl briefing tonight on what to do and not to do while in El Paso, which amounts to stay away from the border and Juarez.  Then it's off to a movie, before things get heated up tomorrow with 1 p.m. practice at Canutillo High School.

The weather is supposed to get 'chilly' for a couple of days according to the locals, but I think we'll be alright all things considered.

From all of us in El Paso and the rest of the Oregon State Athletic community - Happy Holidays!

Check back tomorrow evening from more from the Southwest and be sure to check Beaver Nation Online for Kurt Richter's video of the events from the Sun Bowl.


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