Just about a two hour drive west of Kansas City lies Manhattan, Kansas. Playfully nicknamed The Little Apple, this vibrant college town is home to the Kansas State Wildcats. The epicenter of the athletic facilities is Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Named after the coach who resurrected K-State football into relevancy, “The Bill” is a rambunctious venue that explodes in purple. 

In the earliest years of Kansas State athletics, they were known as the Aggies. They then switched to Wildcats, but their original nickname still lives on in the name of Manhattan’s entertainment district known as Aggieville. Flooded with bars and restaurants, the area is alive both pregame and postgame. 

A Saturday gameday starts on Friday night. The Pub Crawl Band features a group of Kansas State Marching Band members that play in Aggieville and various hotspots in Manhattan. These mini pep rallies at local establishments inject enthusiasm and anticipation into Wildcat fans for the next day’s battle.

Tailgaters assemble on Saturday morning as a sea of tents flank either side of the stadium. Campers and trailers take over grassy areas all along Kimball Avenue and beyond stimulating wide arrays of revelry. The  “EMAW” slogan (Every Man A Wildcat) decorates flags, banners, and signs instilling unity among the K-State faithful.

The stadium is both intimate and imposing. Purple Pride audibly pours from the stands washing passion down from the highest bleacher. This is most notable during the Wabash Cannonball, the spirited anthem with an interesting history. In 1968, the music department at Kansas State experienced a damaging fire that destroyed everything from sheet music to instruments. But, one item survived  – the sheet music to “Wabash Cannonball.” The marching band director had taken it home that day, and it became the only music the band had left to play. So, it grew into an iconic part of K-State school spirit, and they emphasize it on gamedays during pregame and kickoffs with clapping and dancing in synchronized motions.

Touchdowns are followed by the playing of “Wildcat Victory” and the beloved mascot, Willie the Wildcat, muscling up for push-ups that equal the point total. He then directs the crowd to holler and repeat
“K! S! U! Wildcats” as he forms the letters with his arms and legs. It’s a classic collegiate cheer that embodies the spirit of Kansas State.

Small town Manhattan delivers a big time atmosphere. Gamedays are a blast of Wildcat pride. It echoes throughout campus, Aggieville, The Bill, and it spreads to all corners of the Sunflower State. Kansas State is a standout amongst the wide plains of college football experiences.


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