The Rio Grande Rivalry is set to take place this weekend as the University of New Mexico football team hosts New Mexico State University in Albuquerque, but the visiting band almost did not get to make the trip. An expensive new fee nearly kept the Aggies from bringing some of their home field advantage with them on the road.
NMSU and UNM are separated by about 225 miles. The former is located near the Mexico border in Las Cruces, not far from El Paso, while the latter sits to the north in the largest and centermost city of the state.
To get from one school to the other requires a three-hour trip on I-25. Thus, the rivalry between the two schools is perhaps better known as the Battle of I-25 and was first played in 1894.
New Mexico leads the all-time series 73-33-5 but lost big last season. New Mexico State, on the heels of a seven-win season and just its second college football bowl game since 1960, will hope to get one step closer to bowl eligibility in 2023 with a win this weekend.
Things are going to be rowdy, so the host school has increased its security presence. It should be a great college football environment.
However, the Lobos tried to keep the Aggies from any kind of advantage.
New Mexico is upcharging New Mexico State’s band.
New Mexico State’s PRIDE band will travel north for the rivalry bout. For a moment, however, the trip was in jeopardy.
New Mexico decided to impose a new charge of $20 per seat per band member. There are about 200 members of the PRIDE band, which will total $4,000.
The fee has never been a thing in the past. This is the first year.
As a result, New Mexico State did not budget for the additional $4,000. It nearly could not afford to make the trip.
Fortunately, though, a group of boosters decided to step up to ensure that the PRIDE band will be at the Battle of I-25. The newly-implemented fee is covered and New Mexico State will be making the trip with all of its tubas, trumpets, piccolos and percussion as planned.
Not today, Lobos. Your money grab worked, but your attempt to keep the Aggies’ band out has failed!