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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Greater Zion Stadium - Utah Tech Trailblazers


Photos by Utah Tech Athletics and Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Greater Zion Stadium 225 South University Avenue St. George, UT 84770

Year Opened: 1985 Capacity: 10,500

 

Blazing A New Trail In The FCS

Utah Tech was founded in 1911 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Over the years the school has gone by several names, and today it is a non-denominational school as a part of the Utah System of Higher Education. For much of its existence, it was known as Dixie State University, with the name change to Utah Tech taking place in 2022. It has an enrollment of 12,556 students. The school offers 242 academic programs ranging from undergraduate level to doctoral degrees.


The athletic teams at Utah Tech are known as the Trailblazers. The football program is the newest school in the FCS, as it became a full member in 2022. The team played as an FCS independent in 2022, moving to the WAC in time for the 2023 season. The WAC then merged with the ASUN Conference shortly before the season started, resulting in Utah Tech now playing as a member of the merged United Athletic Conference (UAC). The Trailblazers are not eligible for postseason play until the 2024-2025 season.


The home of the Trailblazers is the on-campus Greater Zion Stadium. The name of the stadium reflects the naming rights recently purchased by the area’s tourism promotion agency. It was built in 1985 as Hansen Stadium, and it has grown to 10,500 seats, with grandstands on the east (visitors) side of the field and the west (home) side of the field. The home side of the stadium is now known as the Hansen Grandstand. There is a hill at one end of the stadium that fans can use as well. The playing surface is made of Field Turf, with an eight-lane Beyon surface track encircling it. The stadium is also used by the men’s and women’s soccer teams. Greater Zion Stadium is the largest stadium in Southern Utah.


Once the decision was made to move up to the Division I level of play, Utah Tech began a series of renovations to the existing stadium. These renovations included the construction of the east grandstand (2019), an enlarging of the press box, and the addition of premium boxes at the top of the west grandstand (2022). The school had earlier installed a new videoboard/scoreboard in 2020.


Food & Beverage 3

There are large concession stands located underneath the grandstands on both sides of the field. The menus are identical at both stands. Menu items and prices include blazin’ nachos ($12), regular nachos ($5), cheeseburgers ($6), hot dogs ($5), popcorn ($7), pretzels ($6), candy ($3), frozen lemonade ($4), water ($4), Red Bull Energy drinks ($4) and 32-ounce Coca-Cola brand sodas ($4).


There are frequently outside concessions vendors on site. These include Donut NV, Zeppe’s Italian Ice and Frozen Custard, and Maui Wowie.


Alcohol is not available in the stadium, nor is allowed anywhere on campus property due to Utah law. This includes the tailgating area. Cigarette smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not allowed anywhere on the college campus.


Atmosphere 3

The upgrades at Greater Zion Stadium have made a terrific difference in the gameday experience. The stadium can now offer a variety of premium seating options atop the Hansen Grandstand, including a large hospitality room for pregame or halftime gatherings. Other amenities for the entire crowd include new and enlarged restroom facilities, as well as upgraded concessions areas. The new videoboard behind the end zone has really enhanced the clarity of the images it displays.


The new construction on the east side of the stadium provides a dedicated area for visiting fans, their cheer teams, and their band behind the visiting team’s bench. This should improve the game experience for visitors to Greater Zion.


Finally, there are three improvements that may not be evident to the fans but are important to the Trailblazer team. The new Field Turf playing surface provides a surface that will stay cooler during the heat the area experiences in the early portions of the season. There is also much thicker padding underneath the turf, which will cut down on injuries. Finally, the team will have locker room facilities inside the stadium for the first time. This will be a big selling point in recruiting, as well as producing a much more efficient location in getting to and from the playing field on game day.


Neighborhood 4

Utah Tech and Greater Zion Stadium are in downtown St. George, Utah. The city has a population of 180,000 and is the fifth-largest city in Utah. It is frequently the host of Ironman competitions and held the Ironman World Championships when Hawaii could not host them due to pandemic travel restrictions. Sports events in St. George benefit from the 300 days of sunshine and the mild winter temperatures the area experiences.


There are several hotels/motels close to the Utah Tech campus. These include the Staybridge Suites St. George and the Tru by Hilton St. George. The Black Bear Diner and Roc Taco are very popular restaurants near the campus.


Most of the things to do in St. George revolve around the natural wonders of the area. These include the Red Hills Desert Garden and the more than 300 miles of mountain biking trails in the hills just outside of town. There are also 14 golf courses in the area. Utah Tech is only a 50-minute drive from the beauty of Zion National Park. Three historical sites of interest in St. George are the Brigham and Amelia Young House, the St. George Mormon Tabernacle, and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum.



Fans 4

Football is a very popular sport in the Beehive state, as evidenced by large powers like Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. This is also the case at a smaller school like Utah Tech. The school has had a long history of athletic success going back to its time in the Division II and Division III years.


The stands fill well before the kickoff, as the student section, known as “The Stampede,” warms up for the evening by shouting encouragement to the home team as they do their pregame drills. They are assisted by the Trailblazers cheer squad, the Blaze dance squad, and the Utah Tech Marching Band. The Utah Tech mascot, Brooks the Bison is also active as he roams (something all buffalos do) the stands and poses for pictures with his adoring fans. Brooks is named after the first student to ever enroll at the school.


The west stands are a sea of red, with parents, students, and townspeople all working together to cheer the local squad on.


Access 4

Greater Zion Stadium is easily accessed from I-15:


From Northbound I-15: Take exit #8, turn left onto St. George Boulevard. Turn left onto University Boulevard. Go four blocks and the stadium will be on your left.


From Southbound I-15: Take Exit #8, and turn right onto St. George Boulevard. Turn left onto University Boulevard. Go four blocks and the stadium will be on your left.


Games at Greater Zion Stadium typically start at 7pm, allowing fans plenty of time to take care of weekend errands and to take part in youth sports activities. Tailgating lots open at 4pm, with tailgating activity allowed to begin at 5pm. Gates to the stadium open 90 minutes prior to kickoff, giving fans plenty of time to settle into their seats or to get something to eat at the concession stands. There are three gates to the stadium, two for fans and one for the student section.


Visiting fans can get to St. George, UT, and Utah Tech via connections on SkyWest Airlines from Salt Lake City (SLC).


Return on Investment 4

Attending a Trailblazers game at Greater Zion Stadium provides an excellent return on investment for the entire family.


Tickets come at a wide variety of prices for Trailblazer games. Pre-sale General Admission tickets are $12, while Pre-sale Reserved tickets are $15. Pre-sale Senior General Admission tickets are $7, while Pre-sale Senior Reserved tickets are $10. Pre-sale General Admission Youth (age 3-17) tickets are $7, while Pre-sale Reserved Youth Tickets are $10.


Parking is free on gamedays on the Utah Tech campus.


Extras 4

The school recently released its new fight song, Trailblazers. It has a very Western feel to it, unlike many traditional fight songs.


The rivalry game for Utah Tech is the annual game against the University of Southern Utah. It is known as the “Battle for the Axe,” with the winner taking home the axe. Axes were a necessity for the early pioneers in the area, as they needed to cut wood to build shelter and well as to heat their homes.



SkyWest Airlines HQ is in St. George. This makes it much easier for visiting teams and fans to get to Utah Tech games from anywhere in the country.


Utah Tech is the only college sports team using the name “Trailblazers.” It was chosen to reflect the history of the area during the pioneering days, as well as to reflect the goal of Utah Tech students to be trailblazers in their chosen field of study.


Final Thoughts

Utah Tech is the newest school to join the FCS. It offers a great game day experience in its newly updated stadium, and it also offers the opportunity to check out the many natural wonders of the St. George, Utah area.

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