It’s Super Bowl II for one northern Illinois couple
By Doug Schroder
EDITOR
Most people become part of the over 100-million television viewers world wide to watch the Super Bowl when it happens each year. For one couple from Poplar Grove it will be the second year in a row the two will not be watching the game on television. Instead they will be on the field at the game to help out with the halftime show.
Poplar Grove residents Randy Alberts and Gena Garner have been in Atlanta since Wednesday, Jan. 23, practicing and preparing for the halftime show of the big game coming this Sunday.
“We pull off what we like to call the 24-minute miracle, also known as the Super Bowl halftime show. The miracle consists of a six-minute set-up, a 12-minute performance and a six-minute teardown of the stage. There are 500 people on the stage/lighting crew, plus a total of 4000 people with cast and crew. We have 40 hours of rehearsals about two weeks prior to the Super Bowl,” said Alberts
It started four years ago when Alberts found out online about applications being taken to be part of the setup crew for the halftime show of the Super Bowl. When Super Bowl LI was held at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, Alberts considered going but found lodging to be quite cost prohibitive by the time he and Garner wanted to be a part of the show.
“You need to book stuff six months out. General rates for hotel rooms run one thousand to two thousand dollars per night during game week,” stated Alberts.
Travel, lodging and spending cash is the responsibility of those on the halftime crew; with food being provided by the many sponsors of the game.
“We also get a lot of perks. Last year we got tickets to a Timberwolves game. We were also invited to NFL Opening Night. This year we’re going to the Opening Night also,” said Alberts. “Justin Timberlake threw a huge s’mores party for the crew last year. It was also his birthday that week so he threw another party for that.”
Passes to the game and for parking are provided, along with security clearance. A perimeter of two miles is made around the stadium for security purposes.
“Last year the stage crew assembled at another stadium parking lot and the 50 busses were accompanied by an armored escort to the game, military-style Humvees were in between each bus, helicopters even flew overhead. The streets are closed down for us to come through. We still had to walk a mile through the cold to get to the staging area,” stated Alberts.
The week leading up to the Super Bowl is filled with festival like activities.
“The Kennedy Center sent over a land rover this year, I’m looking forward to seeing that,” said Alberts.
Practicing for the halftime show can be hectic.
“Things change from day to day leading up to the game. We never know what the changes will be until we get to the stadium. Last year they repainted the field the day before the game,” said Alberts.
The stage last year was made up of 30×50 foot sections known as carts that fit together like a puzzle. It’s much the same this year.
Videos Alberts shot during last years show can be found on the Win-Du-Pec Facebook page.