The West Virginia University Alumni Association is urging fans to make travel plans and purchase tickets today if they plan to join the stampede to Charlotte, N.C., to root for the Mountaineers in the inaugural Continental Tire Bowl. The game will be played at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28, at Ericsson Stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers.


“The WVU Alumni Association is not offering a complete travel package this year, so we encourage fans to call their local travel agents, go to their favorite Internet sites, and make their transportation and hotel arrangements as soon as possible,”said Steve Douglas, CEO of the WVU Alumni Association.


For assistance in booking accommodations, call the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-231-4636. A complete listing of Charlotte hotels can also be found online athttp://charlotte.hotelguide.net. Fans can also call 1-800-246-8357 to make reservations via hotels.com.  Additional bowl information is available athttp://www.wvu.edu/bowl/.


The Alumni Association will announce the location of its Charlotte headquarters and details regarding alumni events in the next day or two, Douglas added.


“Many Mountaineer fans booked hotel rooms months in advance in anticipation of a trip to the bowl game,”he said,”so we are finding that a lot of people have made accommodations and now just need to know what activities are offered.


“Many others are making this a day trip and will go down early Saturday morning, watch the game, and then return home,”he added.”As in years past, we want to help everyone enjoy themselves.”


Over the past week, as the excitement has built up preceding the bowl announcement, the Alumni Association has received an average of 100 calls per day. This number is expected to escalate throughout the week.


””This is a new bowl, and people are excited about the football program and the breakthrough season,”Douglas said.”If the number of calls are any indication, we are certain there will be a lot of gold and blue in North Carolina on Dec. 28.”


Game tickets are available by calling the WVU ticket office at 1-800-WVU-GAME.


“The WVU Alumni Association also urges you to purchase Continental Tire Bowl
tickets as soon as possible,”Douglas said.”A sell-out of the WVU ticket allotment is anticipated.”


According to the Tire Bowl Web site, there will be an Uptown Pep Rally on the Square at Trade and Tryon streets from 5-6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, and an Uptown Progressive Party from 6:30 p.m.-midnight. On Saturday, Dec. 28, a Tailgate Patty at Ericsson Stadium begins at 9 a.m.


Further information regarding Charlotte and the Continental Tire Bowl can be obtained online athttp://continentaltirebowl.com.


The WVU Alumni Association, chartered in 1873, represents more than 145,000 University graduates residing in every county in West Virginia, every state in the union and approximately 60 foreign nations. With nearly 100 registered chapters and constituent groups, the associations 26,000 dues-paying members support Homecoming Weekend, the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni and dozens of other social and philanthropic programs.