Sports column: T-shirt is a reminder of the effort put into Red Carpet Bowl

Published 4:00 am Sunday, June 23, 2024

The humble Red Carpet Bowl T-shirt is a fashion staple in Vicksburg.

They’re easily obtained — many wind up being given away or sold at minimal cost — plentiful and comfortable, and of good quality. They can be worn on their own, yet are disposable enough to save for yard work. Wearing one to church might be a bit much, but it’s a very versatile garment.

It didn’t dawn on me until recently, however, just how underappreciated this shirt is. More specifically, how much effort goes into producing it.

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The Red Carpet Bowl committee recently held one of its first organizational meetings to nail down the plan for the 2024 doubleheader scheduled for Aug. 30 at Warren Central. The 90-minute discussion covered a number of topics, but a surprising amount of time was spent talking about T-shirts.

Long before they’re ever pulled over sweaty shoulders on a hot August evening, those shirts have gone through a long production process. They need to be designed. Printed. Purchased. Distributed. And, most importantly, paid for.
Some of the steps are simple enough. After 61 years, the Red Carpet Bowl committee has a list of screen printers they can do business with and know how to place an order with them.

Distribution is a sticky issue. Making sure every player, cheerleader and band member gets one without leaving any group out requires some coordination among the coaches and administrators from each school, and then there’s the decision on how to distribute the leftovers.

The design can vary, but is usually the logo for that year’s game on the front — coming up with it can take some time — and a mosaic of sponsor logos on the back. It’s this last part that takes the most effort.

Procuring enthusiastic and reliable sponsors for the game is an ongoing task for the committee members. It requires some marketing skill to sell the sponsorships and maintain a business relationship with those partners, and it’s also the lifeblood of the game.

I won’t give the total amount that was mentioned for the cost of the T-shirts or the total expenses of the game, but let’s just say it was surprisingly high for a bunch of T-shirts. Each team receives a payout similar to a college bowl game and there are dozens of other things like security and insurance that must be funded.

Each year, the Red Carpet Bowl also awards scholarships to students at all four Warren County high schools. For 2025, the amount of each will be $1,000.

It’s a price that needs to be paid, and sponsors — as much or more than ticket sales — foot a lot of the bill. Everything, from the game to the scholarships, would not be at all possible without their involvement and contributions.

There were 50 sponsors on the back of the 2023 Red Carpet Bowl T-shirts that covered the spectrum of local Vicksburg businesses. From restaurants to industries, banks to lawnscaping services, and everything in between they help keep this unique Vicksburg tradition — as well as a number of other community events that they sponsor throughout the year — alive and well. It’s a genuine community effort by dozens of people who are donating their time and money to give us all something to be proud of.

So, the next time you take an old Red Carpet Bowl T-shirt out of the closet or throw one on at this year’s game, take a second to think about what it took to get it in your hands. Take a peek at the sponsor logos on the back and give a silent thank you to them. Support their business when you’re able to. Without them, we wouldn’t have a lot of the events we enjoy around here.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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