MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Outside the Liberty Bowl on a sunny Memphis winter day, a group of locals stood at the walkway to the stadium offering bar-b-que and handshakes. They called themselves the ambassadors of Memphis.
"We're in the same spot every year," Lance Gehring said. "We just cook and entertain stop passersby, invite them in."
Groups like that of Troy Kyle, visiting from Texas, paraded in wearing red and purple; red for the University of Georgia and purple for Texas Christian University, who faced off in the 2017 AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
“We have two good friends: one went to Georgia, one to TCU. And the luck of them getting in the same bowl game, we thought, 'Hey let’s get everyone together. Let's fly up to Memphis,'” Kyle said.
With a record-high year in crime, WREG asked if they felt safe.
“There was a lot of police on Beale Street last night," Jodi Kyle said. "For sure [that made me feel safe]. You don’t have to worry about it.”
Liberty Bowl officials said security for the game included officers from Memphis Police, Shelby County Sheriff’s and Homeland Security.
They said they spent months preparing in production meetings, knowing how important the annual event was to the Mid-South.
“It was a breeze coming in. Police have been super directing us in,” said Carrie Ballinger, a University of Georgia fan who lives in Memphis.