Tennessee Athletics’ annual summer outreach tour takes on a different, more expansive look and feel this year, with the aim of blanketing the entire Volunteer State during the “Summer of Smokey.”
Whereas in previous years the Big Orange Caravan made handful of stops in various cities around the state and Southeast region, the Summer of Smokey will thank the world’s best fans by delivering the magic of Rocky Top to nearly every county throughout Tennessee.
The popular costumed Smokey mascot is eager to tour the state from late May through August, accompanied by members of the UT Spirit Squads as well as members of Tennessee’s Fan Experience team. Along the way, Smokey will be posing for photographs, giving away Tennessee posters and keepsakes and spreading Big Orange cheer. The tour also will include special guests at certain stops.
“When we initially discussed a temporary departure from our traditional Big Orange Caravan, my main concern was ensuring that our summer tour maintains its impact as a meaningful way to show our appreciation for our fans,” Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer said. “Our team has put a lot of thought and effort into the Summer of Smokey, and we believe it will allow us to reach more fans in more areas all throughout the state of Tennessee. We’re all excited about this new concept that will carry the Volunteer spirit statewide all summer long.”
Stops include local festivals, community events and drop-ins at popular parks and eateries in various Tennessee towns. Fans who believe Smokey should visit their community on a particular date can make their case on social media using the hashtag: #SummerOfSmokey
Fans are encouraged to follow @Vol_Sports on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest plans and scheduled stops for the Summer of Smokey tour. News about the tour’s first stops will be shared soon.
This year’s Summer of Smokey does not signal the end of the traditional Big Orange Caravan. It simply serves as a different method of outreach that will take the place of the caravan in some years, with the goal of making Tennessee Athletics accessible to more markets that faithfully support the Vols and Lady Vols year-round.