Staff Spotlight: John Friebele

John Friebele is no stranger to the Bryan College Station sports community. He started off as an intern in the summer of 2010 with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and is now one of the two Directors of Sports + Events! John’s passion for sports and serving his community are two major reasons as to why BCS holds such great events and tournaments annually. I got to ask John some questions about his job and life outside of work and here are his answers!

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-What is your favorite thing about serving the sports community of Bryan College Station?

As sports was a large part of my life growing up, I appreciated the positive effects and what it was able to do for individuals who participated in sports. Once I recognized the economic impact it had to a community, as well as the secondary impacts, it became my favorite part of this job. As we recruit new sports events to come to our community, the visiting attendees spend money at hotels, restaurants, gas stations, retail stores and many other businesses, which provides jobs and flow of new dollars throughout Bryan College Station. My love for this community propels me to continue to work towards helping provide this impact and show visitors why Bryan College Station means so much to me.

-What was your most memorable moment during your four years at Texas A&M?

My most memorable moment would also be my favorite Texas A&M tradition, Silver Taps. We hope that each month can pass without having to honor this tradition, however, it certainly burns itself into your memory once you have witnessed it. Having attended many Silver Taps, a specific one does not set itself apart, but the final tribute to any student who passes away while enrolled at Texas A&M is enough to bring chills to anyone in attendance. When darkness overcomes a college campus of more than 50,000 people, and 10,000 people arrive and depart in unison, without making a noise, to the center of campus, you come to understand the importance of being part of the Aggie Family. This tradition will always hold a place in my heart and mind and is something I believe everyone should experience at some point, whether or not you are an Aggie.

 -What is your favorite Texas A&M sports related memory?

I’m not sure that a specific memory would be considered my favorite, as there seem to be quite a few to choose from, such as Acie Law’s “The Shot” over Daniel Gibson, Mike Evan’s catch over an Ole Miss defender along the sideline during a comeback in 2012, the 2012 defeat of No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, or even most recently the Men’s Basketball team coming back in the NCAA tournament against NIU. Every moment spent at a Texas A&M sporting event is special due to the enthusiasm of the fan base. There is nothing like standing with 100,000 of your closest friends during a Fightin’ Texas Aggie football game!

-What professional sports teams do you follow?

My two favorite sports teams are the San Antonio Spurs and the Baltimore Orioles. Having grown up playing most sports, I enjoyed the way the Spurs played an unselfish game of basketball and the aura the team consistently carried themselves with from season to season, and we are still seeing that with the franchise today. As far as the Orioles, I became a fan when my brother was living in Virginia and took me to a game. Baseball was my “main” sport for a number of years and my two favorite players were Ken Griffey Jr. and Cal Ripken Jr. Once I witnessed a game at Camden Yards in Baltimore, there was an instant attraction to the team that has carried with me throughout my life. Unfortunately, the game I attended was a season after Ripken Jr.’s streak had ended, so I did not get the opportunity to watch him in person; although he did make a curtain call from the dugout.

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-What do you like to do on your off days?

When not in the office, working an event around town, or traveling to meet potential clients, I try to spend much of my time traveling to new destinations, being outdoors, and generally spending time with my family, which consists of my wife (and high school sweetheart), Mary Beth, and our 7 year old Golden Retriever, Gus. My favorite hobby, which has waned in recent years due to an ever busying schedule, is saltwater fishing.

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Picture courtesy of: Jeremy Chavez with Casting Tales Fishing Charters

-If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

My ideal location would be an off-the-grid, tropical destination with a slow lifestyle and having my most difficult decision be when to go fishing that day. My wife and I have always been near, and loved, the ocean and the laid back lifestyle fits our personalities well.

Thank you for everything that you do for the community, John!

Stay tuned for more blogs featuring our great staff here in Aggieland!

Feeling Like a Visitor: Brazos Valley African American Museum

 

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Brazos Valley African-American Museum | 500 E. Pruitt St., Bryan, Texas 77803

Bryan College Station possesses years and years of engaging history and in the midst of all the town’s history lies the Brazos Valley African American Museum. Located in Bryan, Texas, co-founders Willie and Mell Pruitt spent years gathering information on African-Americans that lived in the Brazos Valley and eventually their small collection of artifacts grew into something much larger.

Built on the site of one of the original African-American schools in the Brazos Valley, the museum was an idea formed by retired educator and co-founder, Mrs. Mell Pruitt. Mrs. Pruitt quickly realized that while living in Bryan, she could not find any history on African-Americans in the community. It was then that she, with the support and help from her husband, decided to start digging into the history of the African-American community so that she could bring light to this unavailable portion of the county’s background.

In 1999, the African American National Heritage Society (AANHS) was founded in order to raise funds for a future museum and the AANHS recieved its charter from the State of Texas on October 14th, 1999. The museum was then proudly opened to the public on July 22nd 2006 and is the first of its kind to promote the history of African-American citizens in the Brazos Valley.

As I walked into the museum for the first time, I was immediately greeted by the incredibly personable and friendly staff: Wayne Sadberry, Curator, Velma Spivey, Director, and Willie Pruitt, the co-founder.

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Mr. Willie Pruitt, co-founder of the Brazos Valley African American Museum

As I walked through the galleries that were dedicated to the history of local African-American’s involvement in churches, sports, politics, and education, I was taken aback at the final project the Pruitt’s worked so diligently to present to the Brazos Valley. Not only does the museum hold knowledge of the community’s African-American history, but it also presents African-American history of the United States like The Civil-Rights Movement and the Harlem Renaissance. 

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While there is a portion of the museum dedicated to the Pruitt family and their personal history, focusing on how the museum came to life, Mr. Pruitt says that, “Most people think the museum is for me, but it is not. It is for the community.” Adding, “We’re proud of having a museum here and we’re proud of what we do.”  

The Brazos Valley African American Museum holds so much history and pride in their building that I encourage everyone to go check out!

Here are the museum’s hours of operation and admission fees:


 

Monday: Closed

Tuesday-Friday: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Saturday: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Sunday: 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM


Adults: $5.00

Seniors: $4.00

Students: $2.00

5 & Under: FREE

Groups of 8 or more: $3.00/person


With so much going on in this booming town, it’s great to take a step back and enrich yourself with the history that the Pruitt’s worked to share with the community. I know that I appreciated all of the hard work that went in to making Mrs. Pruitt’s dream a reality! 

 

Tourism Month 2016: #CelebrateBCS

Every year during the first week of May, we join the U.S. Travel Association in celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week, but we know the hospitality in Aggieland is so amazing that we celebrate for an ENTIRE MONTH!

The Story of Hospitality:

Legend has it, a sea captain would spear a pineapple outside of his house each time he arrived home safely from a long voyage. The pineapple was an invitation to his neighbors, inviting them to join him and his family for dinner or just to chat. The pineapple symbolizes generosity, the kind spirit, attentive approach and hospitality that brings joy to everyone you meet!

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Celebrate with Us!

We are celebrating Bryan College Station for the entire month of May and we want you to join in on the fun!

  • May 1-7, 2016: National Travel and Tourism Week presented by the U.S. Travel Association
    • Get involved in the conversation by using: #CelebrateBCS and #NTTW16
  • May 6, 2016: 4th Annual Community Celebration – 6:00 pm @ Wolf Pen Creek Park Amphitheater
    • Join us for an evening of FREE goodies, family fun and don’t forget your lawn chairs for Movies in the Park presented by the City of College Station Parks and Recreation! “Seabiscuit” will be showing!
  • May 9-13, 2016: #CelebrateBCS Social Media Competition
    • Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as we give you a challenge each day to win big courtesy of our sponsors!
    • Prizes include an Aggieland War Games Party Pack for 10, a $50 Ground Shuttle gift certificate, a one-night stay in a corner suite at the Hilton Hotel in College Station, and more from Grand Station, and Pebble Creek Country Club!

For more information on BCS Tourism Month and all the fun we’ve planned visit our website!

Experience: A Visit to the Lone Star Court

College Station is getting two new luxury hotels that will be part of the Century Square mixed-use development on University Drive west of Texas Avenue. A Studio Movie Grill, as well as a plethora of restaurants and shops are also planned for the new development.

Cavalry Court, which will be taking reservations for Nov. 1, will be the first of the two to open. The George, will also be opening it’s doors in Century Square this fall. The Cavalry Court will be similar to the Lone Star Court, a sister hotel that is already open in Austin.

Valencia Group, the company behind both of these hotels, was nice enough to invite the Convention & Visitors Bureau staff to check out a sister property, the Lone Star Court so we could get an idea of what we’re in for.

Pulling up to the hotel, I have to admit I was surprised at the exterior style. The outside of the hotel looked industrial; almost like a warehouse. Don’t get me wrong. It fit in with the vibe of the area, but it definitely didn’t look like it belonged in College Station. When I said something about it, I was assured that the College Station property will have a different look on the outside – more of a military barracks feel with hints of olive green and maroon throughout the decor. I’ve also seen pictures of the plans since then, and the hotel looks beautiful.

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The Lone Star Court Courtyard: A great place to gather outdoors with friends!

We were first treated to a build-your-own-sandwich bar with a great selection of veggies and meat and guacamole that was to die for. Later that night, the kitchen was nice enough to make me a portabella mushroom quesadilla in order to accommodate my vegetarian needs. It was absolutely delicious. Everyone else dug into the barbecue, which they all raved about for the remainder of the night.

The restaurant/bar area was great. It was a huge room with high ceilings and wooden beams, and there was a big fireplace in the center of the room. I know, I know, fireplaces are useless most of the year in Texas, but it created just a warm feeling. There was live music from a local artist and guests hanging out all over the place.

Finally, the rooms. You walk in and are captivated by the retro, 1960s feel. The colors are vibrant, almost taking you back in time. It was the subtle details that truly brought the theme to life.

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After we all settled into our rooms, we met downstairs in the courtyard to enjoy the weather before dinner. Oh, my gosh, this courtyard. We set up in a circle around one of the several fire pits. This courtyard was by far my favorite part of our stay. I think all of us in Bryan College Station recognize how lucky we are to live in such a friendly community, and the courtyard evoked that same feeling. Groups were hanging out, everyone said hello as we passed, shared jokes or gushed over Lone Star Court.

If the courtyard – the entire experience as a whole – is any indication, the Cavalry Court and The George are going to be perfect additions to Bryan College Station.

“Softly Call The Muster…”

“If there is an A&M man in one-hundred miles of you, you are expected to get together, eat a little, and live over the days you spent at the A&M College of Texas.” – March 1923 Texas Aggie

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Courtesy of The Association of Former Students

On June 26, 1883, Aggies gathered together to relive their old college days, reminiscing on the victories and defeats both in the classroom and on the drill field. By April 21, 1903, this tradition had grown into a celebration, featuring games and banquets for Aggies to reflect on their lives here in Aggieland. After former students suggested alumni answer to a roll call, the tradition of Aggie Muster was born.

Aggie Muster brings together more Aggies than any other event – hard to believe after seeing Kyle Field on game days! Campus tours are offered to returning alumni, giving ol’ Ags the chance to see the ever-changing campus. A Camaraderie Barbecue is held in Academic Plaza, just like the first Aggie Muster in 1883. The official Muster ceremony features a keynote speaker and the reading of poems, followed by a roll call for the absent. The roll call honors Aggies that have fallen since the last Muster was read. As the names are read, family members or friends are asked to respond “Here” while lighting a candle, showing that although those Aggies are not present in body, they will always remain with us through the Aggie Spirit.

Since those early days of 1883, the tradition of Muster has grown both in size and spirit. Aggie Muster is now celebrated in more than 400 places worldwide, with the largest ceremony being right here on Texas A&M University’s campus.

The 2016 Aggie Muster keynote speaker is R.C. Slocum, former football coach of Texas A&M University. The Camaraderie Barbecue will be held in Kyle Field Plaza from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the event or online at tx.ag/MusterBBQ. Tickets are not needed to attend, but are needed to eat! The Reflections Display will be from April 17th – April 21st in the Memorial Student Center Flag Room.

Wanting to observe Aggie Muster on April 21st, but don’t know where to go? Here’s a list of some of the ceremonies going on in the Brazos Valley:

Starlight Music Series

It all started in 2002…

The annual Starlight Music Series has been a summer staple in the Bryan College Station area for almost fourteen years, and the series is making its return very soon!

Starting on April 16th, the Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheatre, located at 1015 Colgate Drive, College Station, TX 77845, will be hosting six nights of live music and tons of fun throughout the months of April, May, June, and July.

The annual event is hosted by the College Station Parks and Recreation department and is FREE and welcomes ALL AGES to come out and enjoy the shows! The gates for the event open at 6:00 P.M. and the show starts at 7:00 P.M for each concert.

Check out the headliners!

Starlight.pngFor the first time ever, the Starlight Music festival invites YOU to showcase your talent!

On July 2nd, an up-and-coming Texas band will have the chance to headline the festival, and fans will get to choose the band! Bands can register to be chosen to win at cstx.gov/starlight. Just go to the page and click on “voters choice” for the registration form. The second and third choice winners will open for the first place headliner. The deadline to register is APRIL 29TH! So, don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity to share your music!

Here are some quick tips regarding the festival:

  • Coolers and containers will be allowed into the amphitheater grounds, but they must be no larger than 48 quarts. KEGS AND GLASS ARE NOT allowed! 
  • During the festival, concessions will be available for purchase!
  • There will be both blanket-only and chair-only seating areas for each concert. Chairs are welcome, but they are not allowed to be used in the blanket-only seating area.
  • There are also NO PETS ALLOWED and NO SMOKING in the MAIN SEATING area. There will be three designated smoking areas on the festival grounds.
  • Parking is available at the Post Oak Mall and handicap parking will be available from Colgate Drive.

Don’t miss out on these incredible concerts put on by our friends at the Parks and Recreation Department!

St. Patrick’s Day in BCS

How does BCS celebrate good ol’ St. Patty’s Day? Here are some inside tips on all the celebrations and shenanigans happening around town. Leprechauns not included. Sláinte!

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O’Bannon’s Taphouse:

lakjflkjsdThe party starts on Wednesday night with Boyett Street closing down to make room for all of the celebrations! There will be a DJ, food trucks, and GREEN BEER. O’Bannons will provide complimentary mimosas on Thursday morning (3/17) with a catered breakfast and lunch. Big Daddy Z’s food truck will make an appearance on Thursday, serving an assortment of Irish dishes. Get ready to channel your inner Michael Flattery Lord of the Dance with the LIVE Irish music by The Blaggards, playing all day Thursday! There will also be prizes, relays, and T-shirts!


 

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Located on Northgate next to The Dixie Chicken, The Backyard on Northgate will be featuring GREEN BEER, live music, a dunk booth and tons of specials. They’ll be opening early at 2 p.m. on Thursday.


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How does Hurricane Harry’s celebrate everyone’s favorite Irish holiday? If you wear GREEN, you get in free until 10:00 p.m.! Their many specials include $2.50 wells, $3.50 Guinness, and $4 Irish car bombs all night on Thursday!


 

Murphy’s Law:ml

 This little Irish pub in Downtown Bryan will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day the right way. Starting with a traditional Irish toast at 10 a.m., come spend your Thursday over at Murphy’s! There will be specials on all Irish beers, as well as Jameson: $3 Guinness, Smithwick’s, Harp, and Killian’s, and $4 Jameson, Powers, and Tullamore Dew.


 

 Carney’s Pub & Grill:car

Carney’s Pub on South College Avenue in Bryan is throwing a St. Patty’s Day Bash all night long on Thursday! With an outdoor patio bar, live music by The Texas Twisters, and Irish pub food, Carney’s is ready to ring in this year’s green holiday! They’ll also be serving GREEN BEER, Guinness, and much more! Make sure to wear green, win giveaways, and compete for door prizes!


 

Mad Hatters:madhatters

They may not be Irish, but they’re going to party like they are! Mad Hatters will be opening up at 10 a.m. on Thursday with $3 Guinness Pints, Irish Car Bombs, and of course GREEN BEER!

 

 

*Remember to always drink responsibly.