Skip to main content

March Madness – Fayetteville Fans Join in the Fervor | By Thad Mumau

02/01/2008 06:01PM ● Published by Anonymous

Nationwide, the term March Madness refers to the annual NCAA basketball tournament in its entirety. It features those illustrious brackets and starts with a field of 65 teams, working its way through the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight and on to the Final Four, which culminates with the national championship game.

But up and down Tobacco Road, the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament is the big deal when March rolls around. It is 11 games of the finest hoops in the land packed into four days, and this season’s big event is scheduled for March 13-16 in Charlotte. There will be four games Thursday, four more Friday, two on Saturday and the championship contest Sunday.

ACC Mania is a malady afflicting basketball fans from Boston to Tallahassee, but it reaches epidemic proportions in this state, home of Big Four schools Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest. The conference tournament has long been a huge drawing card, solely because of the brand of basketball at its outset and now as much a social event as a got-to-have-it sports ticket.

People mark the ACC Tourney on their calendars far in advance, and many of those folks are not necessarily planning on attending the games. But they are planning to watch the action on television.

It may be the ideal time to take sick days from work or talk a school teacher into finding the games on TV and skipping the lesson plan for the day. It might be the perfect time to meet friends for a long lunch at a spot that has television sets tuned to the games. Or it could be a great excuse for a party.

Although there is probably a myriad of such get-togethers, none in and around Fayetteville can top the ACC Bull Shoot. Not for longevity and not likely for numbers.

This version of madness began in 1975 at Bobby Bleecker’s apartment. Among those present were Ken Lancaster and Marshall Waren, who have joined with Bleecker to not only keep the party going over the years, but to make it bigger and better. Also on hand for that first Bull Shoot were Dennis Russell, Paul Holland, Chip Parks, Danny Kinlaw and Skip Dixon.

“I think we popped some corn and had some beer,” Bleecker recalls. “It wasn’t a big thing, just some friends getting together to watch basketball.”

Things have certainly changed. The 34th annual Bull Shoot will be held this year at Waren’s house. As has been the case in recent years, 400 invitations will be sent out. Catered food will include barbecue, ribs, fried chicken, all the fixings, and homemade ice cream.

“Those early years, we moved around,” Lancaster says. “We rented motel suites and were at the Women’s Auxiliary building on Haymount for a while. About the mid-’80s, we started having it at my house because our home had a basement. Before long, we started rotating among me, Bobby and Marshall (we all have basements), depending on whose wife was in the best mood.

“Back at the start, we would go all day that first day, when there were four games. Now, since we’ve gotten older, it runs from noon until 6 o’clock. We get too tired to watch the afternoon and night games. Most of the guys are Carolina fans, then come State, Duke and Wake. When Big Four teams are playing, we have a good turnout.

“We have big-screen TVs in the yard, in the basement and upstairs in the house. We may have a little pool where everybody puts in a dollar. It’s good basketball and good fellowship. We have a lot of fun.”

Bleecker points out that the ACC Tournament is a good reason for friends to have a reunion.

“Some of us only see each other that one time a year,” he says. “You know how you’ll go to a funeral and see somebody you haven’t seen in a long time and say, ‘It’s good to see you, but it’s bad we have to meet like this.’

“Well, at the Bull Shoot, it’s a good way to meet. These guys like ACC basketball, and they like each other.”

living
  • Gingerbread Community of Hope

    11/24/2017
    01:00PM — 09:00PM

    Create a part of the gingerbread community of hope and see it on display during Dickens' Holiday ...


  • A Dickens Holiday

    11/24/2017
    01:00PM — 09:00PM

    Fayetteville rolls back the clock to “Victorian” times for A Dickens Holiday on Nov. 24! Horse-d...


  • Birthday Dance & Potluck

    11/24/2017
    09:00PM — 01:00AM

    Celebrate your birthday month with others every 4th Friday of the month! Birthday dance & potluc...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Tai Chi for Health

    11/28/2017
    10:00AM

    Practice this flowing eastern exercise with instructor Rich Martin while overlooking the Garden. ...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Soirée Musicale

    11/30/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Join us for a night of wine, hors d’oeuvres, and featured performances by: Lubov Borisova Ana...


  • Soirée Musicale

    11/30/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Join us for a night of wine, hors d’oeuvres, and featured performances by: Lubov Borisova ...


  • Gingerbread Community of Hope

    11/24/2017
    01:00PM — 09:00PM

    Create a part of the gingerbread community of hope and see it on display during Dickens' Holiday ...


  • Soirée Musicale

    11/30/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Join us for a night of wine, hors d’oeuvres, and featured performances by: Lubov Borisova Ana...


  • 7th Annual Green Beret Jingle Jog

    12/02/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    The Green Beret Jingle Jog 5K & 10K in downtown Fayetteville NC benefits the Special Forces Assoc...


CityView Facebook
CityView Family Facebook