February 6, 2009
Danny P Smith -
Delynn and Sue Burkhalter, of Columbus, wanted an improved view of the Mississippi State football games, so they decided to tackle a huge project.
Burkhalter''s company, Burkhalter Rigging, provided the major components of the jumbotron and massive video board at Davis-Wade Stadium at Scott Field.
"The big thing that prompted me was (athletic director) Greg Byrne and his staff coming on board with a can-do attitude," Burkhalter said. "It was something he wanted during the football season. He didn''t promise, but it was something he wanted to see. That made me want to be a part of it. Once we got into the project, it grew a little bit on how things needed to take place."
Burkhalter Rigging has been around for three generations and provides professionally engineered rigging, heavy lifting and specialized transport services. Those services were needed to construct a 135-feet, 6-inches tall, 152-feet wide jumbotron at Scott Field. The actual video board is 111-feet wide and 47-feet tall.
"We assembled the major components of our scoreboard at our facility in Columbus and transported them to Scott Field," Burkhalter said. "That enabled us to start assembly of the steel while the concrete work was still going on and it lessened the impact on the university campus."
Except for a little bit of skinning work around the sides, the football jumbotron is near completion.
Once the work started on the video complex at the football stadium, the expansion with scoreboards spread to other sports venues on campus, including baseball and softball. The entire project costs $6.5 million.
"We feel the video boards in today''s market place is an important part of the venue, especially at the venues that hold larger crowds," Byrne said. "We want to be first class in how we represent the university, and that''s one of our defining principles. A scoreboard is something that is viewed often during the course of a game."
The Capturion Network is working on new video boards at baseball''s Dudy Noble Field and the soccer field.
Mississippi State senior pitcher Chad Crosswhite believes the video board will add to what is an already attractive atmosphere in baseball. It is expected to be operational Feb. 20 for the season-opener against Northern Illinois.
"I think the new board is going to be awesome," Crosswhite said. "We''ve got a bunch of videos of the players and it''s a lot bigger than last year''s for sure. I think the fans are going to like it and we''re doing a lot of new stuff on it. I think the game-day atmosphere is going to be a lot better."
Super Bulldog sponsor
Byrne announced for the first time a corporate sponsor for Super Bulldog Weekend, Mississippi State''s annual spring homecoming.
For 23 years, Super Bulldog Weekend has been organized around the spring football game and the festivities will be presented by Regions Bank this year.
"We have a lot of generous sponsors for our athletic department," Byrne said. "It made sense for our premier spring event to have a sponsor, and we''re very appreciative for the people at Regions Bank for stepping up and helping us with that."
Super Bulldog Weekend is April 17-19. The highlight event will be the spring football game featuring coach Dan Mullen''s first public showing of his team at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 18.
The baseball series takes place 6:30 p.m. Friday, at 1 p.m. Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday against MSU coach John Cohen''s former school Kentucky.
Although sports takes center stage during the weekend, there are other attractions on campus and in Starkville. The Cotton District Arts Festival takes place that Saturday.
Kelly pays a visit
Former Mississippi State tight end Reginald Kelly, of Aberdeen, was on campus last weekend to catch up with friends and to meet the new football coaching staff.
Kelly just finished his sixth season with the Cincinnati Bengals and, even though the season ended before he wanted, it gave him a chance to come home.
"My wife and I like to get home twice a year," Kelly said. "As soon as the season is over, we try to get home, see family, visit friends, and see Mississippi State, then head back to Cincinnati for the offseason workout program. We''ll try to come back somewhere around the month of July to relax and take it easy. I try to come back and show my face. I don''t want to be too much of a nuisance, but we do want to hang out with the people we love so much."
As Kelly looks toward his seventh year with the Bengals, he was encouraged even though they finished 4-11-1.
"When you lose like that, sometimes it spells disaster," Kelly said. "Coaches can easily get fired and players can easily been replaced, but you have to put your trust in God''s hands and see how things are going to happen. You believe everything is going to work out. I was excited about how the guys showed a lot of character this year and kept fighting until the end. When you have guys like that, it pays off in the long run."
Kelly anticipates his tenure in Cincinnati will continue for the long term.
"They have treated me extremely well," Kelly said. "It''s a place I would like to end my career, and hopefully I will."