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Utah Ute football fans will take to streets for parade

Utah football fans will take to the streets with their undefeated, Sugar Bowl-winning team today in a downtown parade celebrating a national championship-caliber season.

Chants of "We're No. 1" are likely to displace the familiar "B-C-S" cry that echoed in Rice-Eccles Stadium after Utah won its final regular season game against BYU.

The Utes will converge on State Street New Orleans-style Friday, passing out red Mardi Gras beads and commemorative placards to revel in what most fans see as the best season ever for any team from the state of Utah.

"It gives us all a chance to celebrate a fantastic season," said Ann Ronchetti, director of marketing for U. athletics. She said the team is very excited for the chance to thank hometown fans for their support.

Joining the team on the march down State Street will be the Ute band, cheerleaders, Crimson Line, and the Mighty Utah Student Section. U. President Michael K. Young, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and U. football coach Kyle Whittingham will also salute the crowd.

"I look forward to our parade on Friday as we honor our Ute football team that has shown us the way to No. 1," Becker said Tuesday night during his State of the City report.

The parade begins at 3 p.m. at Eagle Gate, at the corner of South Temple and State Street. The Utes will march behind a caravan of cars carrying coaches, administrators and dignitaries. Fans are encouraged to line both sides of the street for the procession, which will culminate in a rally on the west steps of the City-County Building.

"We're excited and we want a celebration atmosphere," Ronchetti said. She's encouraging fans to wear red to the parade and bring the flags they fly during games. "Anything to create that fun, Utah football atmosphere is what we want to try to do on State Street."

UTAH FOOTBALL PARADE

When: Today, 3 p.m.

Route: The parade will take off from Eagle Gate, at the corner of South Temple and State Street, travel down State Street and culminate in a rally on the west steps of the City-County Building.

Among those attending: Ute band, cheerleaders, Crimson Line, U. President Michael K. Young, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and U. football coach Kyle Whittingham


E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com