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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Workers find concessions sweet

It’s not all just popcorn and cotton candy, concession workers say.

“”I know when people think of concessions, people think it’s just hot dogs and nachos, but we put in a lot of hard work and we make these events happen; it takes a lot of time and preparation,”” said Cameron Wiggins, a microbiology Pima Community College student and UA concessions worker for the past two years. “”It’s not all fun and games. We work hard. We work really hard.””

For Arizona football games, workers arrive at the stadium five hours before kickoff. They count and clean every item and begin preparing the food, but workers say it’s worth it.

“”It’s a lot of fun. You get some real characters who come here: the guys who are all painted up, red faces, crazy hairdos and the like,”” said Rhonda Hamacher, treasurer for the Roadrunners, a softball not-for-profit group that works at the games to fundraise. “”I have not found any students to be rude, obnoxious; they’re all polite and just having fun.””

On a good night, the concessions booth in the student section will make around $10,000 in profits. Not-for-profit groups take 15 percent of the total profits for their stands.

The concessions workers are a tight-knit group because they work together for so long and, for most, for many years.

Marilyn Taylor, a level supervisor, has been working concessions since she was a 12-year-old selling hot dogs up and down the stands.

“”I like working with the groups and the excitement of the crowd,”” Taylor said. “”I like the chaos, fun chaos from when I get there until I leave.””

Now she is responsible for the entire operation on the top east side of the stadium. Her day begins at 1 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game and doesn’t end until 11:30 p.m.

The new ZonaZoo policy, which allows students to enter games four hours before kickoff, means the workers have to come to the stadium even earlier.

“”Is it cost-effective? Not really, but it meets the needs of our clients and that’s what Greg (Byrne) is looking to do, and we had to think how to do this,”” Taylor said.

Even though the workers can’t watch the game from their booths inside the stands, they still root for the Wildcats.

“”The better the U of A plays, the hungrier they (students) seem to be,”” Hamacher said. “”If we’re doing bad, that’s a slow night; everyone goes home early or sits in seats and pouts, so we’re always hoping for a good score.””

Even if they are watching the game, they’re thinking about the concessions.

“”When I bring my kids to the games, in the back of my mind I’m wondering what’s going on in the background,”” Taylor said.

Some concessions workers plan on continuing to work at games for many years to come.

“”Well, my husband says he’s not planning on stopping coaching ever, and as long as he’s coaching, we’re planning on working at the U of A,”” Hamacher said.

“”It’s a lot of fun. They’re a great crowd; I definitely wouldn’t mind working here after I’m actually done going to school,”” Wiggins said.

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