By Anna Parks:
There’s an iconic bus that rolls into town wherever Georgia is playing. This big red machine goes by a variety of names: “The Bus,” “The Red Bus,” “The Party Bus,” or “The Georgia Bus.” No matter what you may choose to call it, this bus will always be full of loud music, fun dancing, and good company.
Painted bright red, with two black stripes down the sides and silver paint underneath, this bus screams “Go Dawgs!” The classic Georgia “G” logo is found on one side and Georgia flags fly from the top. It is not your typical motor home you would find in an RV park.
Made in 1975, bought in 1980, Lindsey Greeson transformed this “ugly dark brown and light brown” motor home into the red spectacular it is today. A Blue Bird Wanderlodge, Greeson calls it the “Cadillac of motor homes.” Lindsey Greeson of Winder, Georgia has been attending Georgia football games for about forty years. Greeson informed me that he used to be partners with Harold Akins of “Akins Ford” who sponsored Vince Dooley during his era at UGA. Through this partnership, Georgia football tickets were made available to Greeson and he said, “I got hooked on Georgia football and the University of Georgia.”
From 1976-1998, for twenty-two consecutive years, Greeson never missed a Georgia game, “I never missed a ball game. Home, away, or bowl. I saw Herschel get his first touch as a freshman.”
And just like Greeson, his prized bus has traveled to many places as well. Since 1982, the bus has been to every SEC college campus except for Texas A&M (Georgia has not played there yet), and has been to numerous other campuses. The farthest campus that the bus has ventured to is Arizona State in Phoenix, Arizona. During trips to the University of Alabama and Vanderbilt, those teams’ fans stole the tags of off the bus. Greeson recalls one trip where, “We tried to make it to Colorado but the bus broke down in Salina, Kansas and we had to watch the game in a truck stop parking lot on satellite. I had fourteen tickets that went to waste.”
You may be wondering why this legendary bus is sometimes referred to as “The Party Bus.” Well, there is something unique about this red machine. On the top, there is a big platform where music is played and people climb a ladder up on to and dance. Greeson admits, “The top is an accident. We originally built it to go to NASCAR races but more people kept going up there so me and my brothers extended it.” On one of the many adventures to a bowl game, Greeson said that Garrison Hearst’s parents and grandparents got on the top of the bus and danced, “It was a really fun time.” Greeson said that his son, Brent Greeson, once recorded the most people to be on the top at one time as 93.
After many decades of adventuring with the party bus, Greeson eventually passed it down to his son Brent; Greeson laughed, “He gives it back when it needs tires or insurance or work, but he keeps the tradition going.” And tradition is what it is all about. Now, Greeson drives his own motorhome to the games but always parks next to his son and the red bus. Here in Athens, the Greeson family tailgates on Baxter Street in the Jimbo’s Gas Station parking lot, right across from Jimmy John’s. Go stop by and check out the bus for yourself.
But an even better scene to check out is when the bus travels to Jacksonville for the annual Georgia-Florida football game. Greeson said that his favorite memory with the bus was one year in Jacksonville when “the sports announcer lady got on top of the bus and interviewed us, and then we got on the 11 o’clock news.” The bus has been featured in many newspapers and magazines, including ESPN. Greeson told me a story in which he said that one year in Jacksonville, the bus was tracked down and found, and now the bus parks free because “it brings the party.” So, if you happen to be making the trip down to Florida for The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, stop by the street in front of EverBank Field and join the fun.
Now, this bus is special, but it is extra special to me. Lindsey Greeson is my grandfather, and I have grown up going to Georgia games and tailgating at this bus. I have danced on the top to loud music and eaten chicken from Canes under the awning. My grandparents, Lindsey and Dianne Greeson, have instilled within me traditions of Georgia football and I hope to carry it down the family line. Rain or shine, hot or cold, the Greeson’s and their bus will be wherever Georgia is playing because, in the words of my grandfather, “We’ve lost a couple ball games, but we’ve never lost a party.”