Vol fans hit the water to tailgate, the Vol Navy tradition

Vol fans hit the water to tailgate and experience the tradition of Vol Navy

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Dozens of boats have gathered at Vol Navy ahead of Saturday's season opener. Dozens of boats have gathered at Vol Navy ahead of Saturday's season opener.
Many boat owners have their Vol Navy flags out and are getting the food stocked and ready to go for Saturday. Many boat owners have their Vol Navy flags out and are getting the food stocked and ready to go for Saturday.
For the past 13 years, Julie Moffatt has been tailgating on the water with the Vol Navy. For the past 13 years, Julie Moffatt has been tailgating on the water with the Vol Navy.
"Everyone is just so excited to be here. Everyone is in good spirits ready to get some good weather and do some boating," said Joe Cornelius, manager of the Volunteer Landing Marina. "Everyone is just so excited to be here. Everyone is in good spirits ready to get some good weather and do some boating," said Joe Cornelius, manager of the Volunteer Landing Marina.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Vols 2013 football season begins in one day. Saturday is the Big Orange debut of new head football coach Butch Jones. Fans are hoping the new coach can restore some luster to the program and return the Vols to their winning ways.

Dozens of boats have gathered at Vol Navy ahead of Saturday's season opener. Many boat owners have their Vol Navy flags out and are getting the food stocked and ready to go for Saturday.

Julie Moffatt was raised in Tennessee. Despite spending the last 30 years in South Carolina, she's remained a die-hard Vol fan. For the past 13 years, she's been tailgating on the water with the Vol Navy.

"It's like really high energy down here and lots of fun lots of people. This is the most boats I've seen down here in all the years we've been coming here," said Moffatt.

Moffatt docked the boat at Volunteer Landing two weeks ago to get a prime spot. She's planning on hosting a tailgate party with more than 30 people.

"There's a lot of people, a lot of stuff going on lots of parties on the boats you meet people you've never known before it's just a really great place to be," said Moffatt.

Vol fan Joe Cornelius is the manager at the Volunteer Landing Marina. In the past 10 years, he's been working while the Vol Navy was tailgating.

"Everyone is just so excited to be here. Everyone is in good spirits ready to get some good weather and do some boating," said Cornelius.

More than 100 boats make up this giant floating tailgate party on the river. According to the Vol Navy, the tradition was inspired by Vol broadcaster George Mooney. In 1962 he decided to get to Neyland Stadium by boat instead of waiting in traffic. Now, dozens of boaters follow suit and the tradition even draws spectators from the other teams.

"It gets really packed. You've got fans from other teams come down and look at all the boats and everything cause they've never seen it before most of them," said Moffatt.

Fans say they are looking forward to the start of the new season and think Butch Jones will eventually bring success to Tennessee.

"He has just brought an enthusiasm that we haven't seen in a while. Go Vols and go Butch Jones. We are glad you're here," said Moffatt.

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