Georgia Tech: A game day in the life of Buzz, cheerleaders and Ramblin’ Wreck

The Ramblin' Wreck leads the team onto the field before an NCAA college football game between Georgia Tech and Syracuse in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.  Georgia Tech won 31-22. (Bob Andres for The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

The Ramblin' Wreck leads the team onto the field before an NCAA college football game between Georgia Tech and Syracuse in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. Georgia Tech won 31-22. (Bob Andres for The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Georgia Tech cheerleaders and mascots start their game days well before fans line North Avenue for Yellow Jacket Alley and gather at tailgates.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution followed the Spirit program, Buzz team and Ramblin’ Wreck driver as they readied Jackets fans for their matchup against Syracuse on Nov. 18, that started at 8 p.m. Here’s a look at their typical game day.

2 p.m.

Wreck driver Omar Khan likes to start his day at tailgates around six hours before kickoff. He takes the Wreck from its garage, located next to the John Lewis Student Center, then works his way from the west side of campus around to the south side for Helluva Block Party.

He usually parks at tailgates, asking fans if they want photos and answering their questions about the car.

At a Nov. 18 tailgate, one fan even brought out a device from World War I that transmits Morse code and told Khan about it.

“You get really interesting stories,” Khan said. “I’ve met some All-ACC linemen who played at Georgia Tech in the past. You get some really cool interactions with people who made history here at Tech.”

3-4:30 p.m.

The cheerleading team and the Goldrush dance team arrived at Bobby Dodd Stadium at 3 p.m., getting taped before going through their first warmup of the day at 4.

The warmup covers the pregame show and its stunts, senior cheerleader Elisa Park said. The show takes place right before the football team runs out, Park said, and the “whole crowd goes wild.”

The Buzz team started their day at the stadium at 3:45, reviewing the day’s schedule. Buzz Coordinator Jocelyn Kavanagh has events like lining up for Yellow Jacket Alley and Buzz’s pregame stadium arrival planned out down to the minute. Other matters Kavanagh addressed: keeping the shared mascot closet clean for Syracuse’s Otto and noting that Buzz couldn’t be on the field in the event that fans stormed the field after the game, which they did three weeks earlier after a victory against North Carolina.

Buzz then participated in the cheerleaders’ pregame warmups, practicing his post-first quarter pyramid. While there are multiple Buzz suits, only one member of the Buzz team is dressed at a time. The rest of the team watched as Buzz worked with the cheerleaders.

“He’s so cute!” one team member said while watching the warmup. As Buzz flopped into the cheerleaders arms, other members of the mascot team cheered, “Yep, yep, yep.”


The cheerleaders’ team room was busy during the brief break after warmups, as team members perfected their makeup, chatted and created bags to give away to fans. The team departed for the tailgates at 4:45, divided into several groups that spanned campus.

“We cheer (there),” Park said. “(In the bags), we have flyers about our programs, athletics and some candy and treats we hand out.”

Next up: the Student Success Center, where the Spirit Squad, Buzz crew and dance team reunited at 5:15 to prepare for Yellow Jacket Alley.

Cheerleaders burst in with Tech flags, while Buzz sought out passersby for selfies, high-fives and fist bumps. Cheerleaders and dance-team members lined the sidewalk, talking and dancing as they waited.

Members of the Buzz team carried phones and cameras, searching for social-media gold. Creating Buzz-related content is part of the job, and Kavanagh offered a prize to whoever did the best.

The whole crew walked through the set-up for ACC Network and various tailgates for Yellow Jacket Alley at 5:28, striding by as the crowd broke out in “Let’s go Tech” cheers.

For the first time all day, the cheerleaders, Buzz and dance team had a true audience. Some fans leaned over the edge of the North Avenue Visitors’ Parking Deck, while others — from a little boy in a football helmet and Tech jersey to young women in cowboy boots and dresses — formed rows along the street.

The cheerleaders waved their pompoms and danced as songs like “Super Bass” and “Swag Surfin’” blared over the speaker and led the audience in cheers like “T-E-C-H.” They moved to the edges of the street at 5:45, as Khan drove the Wreck from Helluva Block Party through the street to Techwood Drive and North Avenue. The marching band, Buzz and the football team followed to cheers.

After the parade, Buzz participated in a “Fruit Ninja” skit in the street. The mascot used a sword to “slice” pieces of faux fruit thrown at him, such as oranges and watermelon. He raised his arms after each slice, urging the crowd to clap.


“He’s real! He’s real!” Yung Gravy yelled to the crowd as Buzz took the stage with him.

Yung Gravy, who headlined Helluva Block Party on Nov. 18, initially was unsure if Buzz was the legitimate mascot or what his name was. But Buzz soon won him over, dancing and jumping onstage with the artist for songs, including “Tampa Bay Bustdown.”

Buzz was with a handler, as he is at all times, though the handler didn’t take the stage. Kavanagh texted the handler from the audience, working to safely get Buzz out of the crowd.

“It’s been a pleasure,” Yung Gravy said, hugging Buzz as he left the stage.

Buzz’s next mission: meeting and greeting. He worked his way down North Avenue from 6:45 onward, pausing for photos, high-fives and hugs.

“Buzz” was the word, yelled by Tech alumni and toddlers alike all hoping to catch his attention. He was generous with all — from hugs for giggling children to miming answers to a fan’s question about where the band was performing before the game.

These moments are among the best parts of the job for members of the Buzz team.

“People being excited to see him or having their game day (feel) complete by getting a picture with Buzz – it’s very sweet,” one member of the Buzz team said. “It’s fabulous to interact with people who love Georgia Tech as much as we do.”

The feeling is mutual.

“Greatest mascot ever,” one fan said as he walked away.

The Wreck is part of the pregame festivities as well. Khan said he parks it at the top of “Freshman Hill” more than an hour before kickoff, then drives down as members of Tech’s Ramblin’ Reck Club (a student organization that uses a different spelling for the car) line the streets and the band follows behind him. While the band continued marching, Khan turned into the service tunnel at Bobby Dodd Stadium and remained in the stadium until kickoff.

The band worked its way to the intersection of North Avenue and Techwood, meeting a dancing Buzz and fans around 7:15. It’s a mad dash into the stadium for Buzz from there, working past fans and barricades.

As Buzz roamed the streets, other members of the mascot team returned to the stadium to assist with pregame preparations, including providing credentials and meals for Syracuse’s cheerleaders.

Rather than wandering around Helluva Block Party, the cheer team returned to Bobby Dodd Stadium around 6 p.m. The team took a quick water break before their second warm-up period, which lasted until 7 p.m.

“We warmed up everything for the game: some sideline stunts, timeout pyramids, some tumbling,” senior cheerleader Dani Ruggerio said.

Georgia Tech's mascot, Buzz, jumps off from Ramblin' Wreck before the start of the Georgia Tech home opener against Northern Illinois outside Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (Hyosub Shin /


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7:45-8 p.m.

Buzz made his pregame entrance at 7:48, kicking it off with a front flip where he landed on his back. He then went crowd surfing, gliding through the student section.

The cheer team joined Buzz on the field at 7:48, then did the pregame show featuring baskets and stunting. From there, they lined the tunnel in preparation for the team entrance.

Khan was in the tunnels before kickoff, with cheerleaders joining him in the Wreck around 7:55. The football team gathered behind him, and the entire group took the field around three minutes before kickoff.

“In a nighttime game like this, it looks great with the smoke, the lighting,” Khan said.

This is Ruggerio’s favorite part of game day. She said she loves watching fans enter the stadium, and the excitement of the Wreck taking the field – fireworks, the band on the field – is fun, too.

8:38-9 p.m.

Buzz triumphantly executed his pyramid with the cheerleading team during the break between the first and second quarters, flopping into their arms.

He then roamed the sidelines, finding himself across the field from the designated area for touchdown push-ups when Tech scored at 8:58. Buzz dashed behind the football team and cheerleaders, working his way to where he needed to be.

Members of the Buzz team are on the field at all times during the game, keeping an eye on Buzz and the clock. It’s exciting to watch Buzz sprint from wherever he is for push-ups, one team member said.

9:45-10:30 p.m.

The cheerleaders were especially excited when Tech recovered a fumble at 9:45, jumping and waving their pompoms on the sideline as the Jackets secured the ball at the beginning of the third quarter.

Buzz, meanwhile, continued to work his way around the stadium. He found his way to the student section at 9:49, where he bopped to “Seven Nation Army.”

Buzz conducted the bouncing band and crowd during the traditional “You’ve Said It All,” otherwise known as the “Buzzweiser” song, after the third quarter. As the Wreck driver, Khan gets a sideline pass and hangs by the car during games. He joined in on the song from afar, dancing by the car with other Reck Club members.

11:13 p.m.

Tech secured bowl eligibility with its win, as declared by yellow graphics posted on the stadium’s video boards. The fight song played, with cheerleaders dancing along postgame.

Khan drove the Wreck on to the field after the game’s end, hopping out and watching as the student section roared and the football team joined them.

The last big moment for Buzz and the Spirit team: dancing and dashing as the Marching Band played Tech’s traditional song “The Horse” at 11:18 p.m. During drum breaks, Buzz, the cheerleaders, fans and students sprinted in several directions before breaking out in dance again.

Props needed to be stored, cheerleaders had to collect their bags and there were drives and walks home to go. But more than seven hours later, Khan, Buzz and the Spirit team effectively had finished their day – and made the game a little brighter for hundreds, if not thousands, of Tech fans in the process.

Georgia Tech cheerleaders entertain the crowd before the team arrives.  DJ Envy held the first pregame concert at Georgia Tech’s new "Helluva Block Party".  North Avenue was closed before the football game vs South Carolina State for the event in Atlanta on Saturday, September 9, 2023.   (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

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Credit: Bob Andres