Tigers And Buffaloes Tangle With Gators


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Colorado interim head coach Mike Hankwitz (left) and Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden struggle to pull two gators from the water during a visit to Gatorland. (Photo by Todd Anderson)

ORLANDO – Clemson and Colorado kicked off Champs Sports Bowl week Thursday night with a visit to one of Orlando’s oldest attractions, Gatorland. Players, coaches and administrators from the two schools had an opportunity to have dinner and enjoy various shows at the 110-acre theme park that was founded in 1949.

The highlight of the evening came when the head coaches from the two teams competed in a gator wrestling match. Colorado’s Mike Hankwitz and Clemson’s Tommy Bowden attempted to pull two gators into a sand pit. Hankwitz, a linebacker and tight end during his college playing days, was ultimately successful in pulling a seven-foot gator out of the water as Buffalo players offered encouragement by screaming “Hank”.

The evening began with the Gator Jumparoo show. The observation decks at Gatorland became a sea of orange (Clemson) and black (Colorado) as players from both teams wrapped around to view a gator feeding. Players cheered on as Gatorland entertainers held food high above the water for the gators to jump and eat.


Clemson and Colorado will meet in the Champs Sports Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN.

Gatorland is known internationally as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” and provides affordable priced family-fun with thousands of alligators, crocodiles, a breeding marsh with boardwalk and observation tower, one-of-a-kind reptilian shows, aviary, petting zoo, educational programs and much, much more. For more information visit www.gatorland.com.

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