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Rick Hill, VP at The Valero Alamo Bowl and SA Famous
Episode 4222nd November 2021 • The Alamo Hour • Justin Hill
00:00:00 00:56:00

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Rick Hill moved to San Antonio for college and has been here since. He has worked for a variety of local sports teams and events. He currently work as the VP of communications and marketing at the Valero Alamo Bowl. Additionally, he has a few cool hobbies and likes that we discuss. Rick is a big fan and advocate of our great city.



Justin Hill: Hello and Bienvenido, San Antonio. Welcome to The Alamo Hour discussing the people, places, and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonian, and keeper of chickens and bees. On The Alamo Hour, you'll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique and the best-kept secret in Texas. We're glad that you're here.

Rick Hill: Who is the worst guest you've ever had?

Justin: [chuckles] We'll talk about that in a second. I like how Rick just spoke over the intro, so in the intro, we'll have Rick in the background. Welcome to The Alamo Hour. Today's guest is Rick Hill, no relation to me, unfortunately. He is the VP of Marketing and Communication with the Valero Alamo Bowl, and I realize you have to say Valera with the Alamo Bowl now. Rick has also spent time with the Spurs, the Missions and something called the SA Riders, which I am told is a football game. I thought it was maybe something that happens on the strip late at night, but no, a football team here in San Antonio.

He has no championship rings, he likes to tell people on his internet profile. Since the Alamo Bowl is right around the corner and I'd bugged Rick for like a year, I figured it'd be a good time to bug him, and here he is. Rick, thanks for being here.

Rick: My pleasure, Justin. Thank you.

Justin: While we were starting, Rick said who's the worst guest I've had on here. Well, the worst guests are the ones that just no matter what you ask, they're going to answer whatever they want.

Rick: Good. I have nothing prepared, so I will be the opposite. I just like to set a low benchmark so people are happy.

Justin: Some people have and I feel like if I was calling out guests as the worst, I'd have a hard time finding other guests, so I better not do that. Let me just say, the least listened to episodes are some of my better friends, so I just better not tell them. You will have 10s of listeners at a minimum, I guarantee that. You could have many more than that.

Rick: I'm used to people not listening to me. This is perfect.

Justin: Well, it's funny. I had one guy on here who became an all-star of the fintech Twitter, the Fintwit I think they call them and his episode just went bonkers because of that. All that world wanted to hear whatever he had to say because he had the highest performing stock over the last 17 years, and even The Wall Street Journal was like, "It wasn't Tesla. It was this group out of San Antonio had the biggest stock in the last 20 years." It was interesting. All right, so let's start with a top 10. I'm going to ask you, it'll be 10-ish. Favorite Fiesta event?

Rick: Coronation.

Justin: We were just talking about that before and you seemed super excited about it, so I'm glad you brought that up. Something I'm probably going to talk more about, but you have some sort of weird BCycle thing. What's the number of miles you've put on a BCycle in a year, the most?

Rick: The most? Probably 3,000 in a year. They have the E-bike now, but it's more pedal-assisted. I think the E-bike takes too much credit. I love jumping on Saturday, jumping out the Witte, driving through downtown, Southtown, and then heading south to Mission Reach.

Justin: When you did it, it was not pedal-assist?

Rick: Some of it is, and I think they're switching to all pedal-assist in the next couple of months, which should be great. I've been to Madison's [unintelligible 00:03:26] the best setup. It's all pedal-assist. I got a huge leg, but it's really been fun to see how many people are on the trails especially COVID-wise.

Justin: I'm having pedal-assist, and I love it, and people act like, "Oh, that's not a workout." It's a workout, but when the hill is there, it helps a lot.

Rick: Yes. The Mission Reach I felt really bad for the people with the BCycles because those old bikes are clunky. They are heavy, and you'd see a family going up and down those hills far south. Pedal-assist is the way to go, and I think that that program is going to take off now that they all go that way.

Justin: They have a hard time finding a sponsor though I have read. Are you still a BCycle enthusiast?

Rick: I am. I went yesterday, Sunday.

Justin: This one, a daily thing that got you to 3000 miles?

Rick: No. It's I'll go 20 miles on a Sunday and you start adding them up. COVID, obviously, you're working from home here and there you can take a long lunch to clear your head, but now, you get some podcasts. This is a great podcast to listen on your long BCycle trials. Then I always stop by the library, pick up a book, so those are my routines.

Justin: You had the most miles of anybody in San Antonio on you, right?

Rick: Yes. I've always been top five, so if they've actually post them. If you're semi-competitive, you see your name at number three or four, you're like, "I'm getting to two." Then you see yourself at two, you're getting to one. I think basically, point-to-point was how it was supposed to be with super short rides, but now, they've really done a good job and you can check them out if you're a annual member for two hours at a time, so you don't have to do that constant in and out every 30 minutes.

Justin: I'm surprised there's a limit.

Rick: Well, I think they always wanted people not to take it for the whole day, but now it's great. I think it's a great way to show off our city and like I said, especially for me that Mission Reach area is great.

Justin: Do you get anything for being number one?

Rick: No. If you could go to all the stations in a weekend, they gave you a t-shirt. I got a green t-shirt. I think it's called Tour de BCycle. I went to 55 stations in three days. They actually tell you your calories and how many dollars you've saved. I've saved a million dollars on something.

Justin: [chuckles] New York has the tour of the boroughs, and we have tour of the BCycle stations. It's similar.

Rick: Yes. It's great stuff. It's actually for Fiesta. I've done it over there because obviously, Fiesta gets a little crowded, so if you get on the outskirts of downtown, you take the BCycle into a station, and you just walk on in.

Justin: When did you move to San Antonio?

Rick: To come to Trinity in '87. It's been a long time.

Justin: Been here ever since?

Rick: Yes. I'm never too tired to drive home.

Justin: You're Southtowner, right?

Rick: We live by Incarnate Word so Midtown-ish.

Justin: Okay. I met you in Southtown. I just assumed that world was all yours.

Rick: I don't ever leave 410. I am not quite Southtowner, but I'm very like I said biking and all the activities. We love that, all the entertainment options. One of the great things about COVID relaxing is all the different venues you can go to from Sam's Burger Joint, went to the Carver last week. I went back to Majestic and Tobin.

Justin: What's the Carver?

Rick: The Carver is, there's a Jo Long Theater. It's just east of Alamodome. They have a 500-person theater over there.

Justin: Is something going on there?

Rick: Rebels. I bought their tickets three years ago, and they canceled and now they came back. It's a jazz New Orleans R&B. When they come back in three years you should go.

Justin: Well, I bought some tickets, but then in the meantime, we had a kid so it's limited my ability to go out drinking and concert-going.

Rick: Yes. Kids going off to college, the emptiness thing is a little real, but it's also pretty-

Justin: Liberating?

Rick: -liberating is a good word.

Justin: Mine is a long way from that. Hidden gems in San Antonio, the theater. What did you just call it?

Rick: Jo Long Theater. I think all the venues. Sam's Burger Joint, we love going there. It's outside, inside. I think people need to get that Library app, read some books. It's not bad to read some books.

Justin: The Libby app?

Rick: The Libby. Actually, a public library has one. The Libby, you can read on. The public library, the way you can reserve books is so easy now. You just reserve it, and they send you a text, "It's ready." Then now you just pull right in. They throw the book in your bag, and you go.

Justin: You actually go pick them up.

Rick: Yes. I'm still old school.

Justin: We use the Libby app.

Rick: It also allows for audiobooks.

Justin: Through the San Antonio library.

Rick: Yes, so I think that's a great system.

Justin: Any branch that you think is unique and awesome?

Rick: You know what, there are some nice ones. Landa is super nice, but on my BCycle route, I always go to Central downtown.

Justin: I've become pretty familiar with the Landa Gardens Conservancy over the last two years. It's quite interesting. It's a very well-run organization, and they have a very nice setup there.

Rick: They have good trees. I remember taking my three-year-old for pictures there, who's now 20, so that was a couple of years ago.

Justin: They redid the playground.

Rick: It's a great setup.

Justin: Have you ever been in the Bushnell across the street?

Rick: I think when I was at the Spurs, one of my co-workers was in there, but not [crosstalk]

Justin: I've never spoke to anyone that's definitively been in there, so I'm not sure there's people in there.

Rick: It might be just like a movie set or something. [crosstalk] Now he actually lived there, the Spurs trainer.

Justin: Did you ever go see it though?

Rick: I think I dropped him off. I did not go in, so maybe he just walked around the block.

Justin: See. [laughs] I have friends that live on Bushnell, and I've never been in there. Do you have any odd hobbies other than the fact that you're a BCycle enthusiast and go to the museums and concerts?

Rick: I do. I had a pretty good streak of if there's movie extras, trying to be in movie extra for a day. I'm in Matthew McConaughey's least successful movie, The Newton Boys.

Justin: That's his least successful?

Rick: Well--

Justin: I feel like there's some terrible rom-coms in that somewhere.

Rick: Probably dollar-wise. The good news on that was I was in a scene with them, so I can say I have the picture of the scene. Then I did try to get behind Julianna Margulies in the catering line, and they told me extras, and they pushed me away. I had to go to a different line. I just saw her on, it was The Morning Show. If you're in a movie, you might as well have been in one with 50 actors that are popular. You can always say I was in a movie with him, or if Linkletter wins an Oscar, "Oh yes, he was in one of my films. He directed one of my films"

Justin: You got any other movies I would know?

Rick: They shot one in the Dome called Everybody's All-American or All-American. It was about a Texas player, and I thought I knew where to stand to be in the key shot, but they shot it from across the field.

Justin: Have you ever heard of Texasville, the movie? It was supposed to be the sequel to The Last Picture Show.

Rick: I haven't heard of it.

Justin: It was filmed in my hometown, and everybody I know is an extra, but I was four.

Rick: Selena was at the Dome. My only one that I can actually watch it and see myself.

Justin: The Cloak & Dagger was probably before you were here, right?

Rick: I was probably just here. Henry Thomas, we just see him and he still comes up in about.

Justin: What about Pee Wee's Big Adventure?

Rick: I was not in that.

Justin: Well, nothing good then. Favorite new post-pandemic bar restaurants.

Rick: We like Hello Paradise, going outside, sitting there. We're probably going to go there Friday and then walk down to Sam's Burger Joint and see a show.

Rick: Nice.

Justin: We rotate around a lot, but yes, this time of year you got to eat outside if you can.

Rick: Have you been to Three Star Bar yet?

Rick: No. Across the street?

Justin: Yes. I'm going to try that.

Rick: We'll have to do that too.

Justin: We did elsewhere. We all went to elsewhere for lunch the other day. It's good.

Rick: Yes. I think they get people through nicely. That's a stop on the BCycle, they got to BCycle station.

Justin: There's also one by the parking garage in Bracken Ridge, it's very dark and by the museum.

Rick: Yes, that's my go-to.

Justin: There's never any bikes at it. I saw two today.

Rick: You got to go early.

Justin: I have my own BCycle.

Rick: Well, the good news is, I get a flat tire. I just call them and I put it away or I flipped over and bend something. I just bend it back and I get another one.

Justin: What if you're in the middle of nowhere and you get a flat, will they come get you?

Rick: No, they're close enough. I've walked a couple of times.

Justin: Do they have a limit on the range other than two hours?

Rick: Then they'll just charge you three bucks. You can go longer.

Justin: The scooter is like, "We'll just die." The bikes don't do that.

Rick: They have a time limit too, right?

Justin: I don't know. My big ass don't get on scooters.

Rick: I'm a little scared of scooters. The tires are getting bigger because when they first came out, it was a Final Four going on and I got one. I was the big hit, but you hit a little pebble and you get thrown--

Justin: Lots of broken arms. I'm an injury lawyer. Got a lot of calls on those.

Rick: Good for orthopedics and injury lawyers.

Justin: I had a friend who was maintenance at the Botanical for 4th of July and he shows up 30 minutes late and he's just drenched in sweat. That's when we learned there was a geographic limitation to these. Rick, you were with the Alamo Bowl. People hear about it a lot. People know it's a football game. I want to ask you some questions about the Alamo Bowl, but I want to start asking you a little bit of Alamo Bowl trivia.

Rick: Okay.

Justin: Who were the four named at sponsors of the Alamo Bowl? Currently, it's Valero. Just gave you one.

Rick: Valero. That's a good one. I would say MasterCard's another one.

Justin: Yes.

Rick: I would say Sylvania is another one. I would say Builders Square. I actually started between Builders Square and Sylvania. The second day I was there, they were getting ready to have a press conference and it got leaked. It was Sylvania, was a new one, and I was being screamed at, because I leaked it and I go, "I just got here. I don't know anything about anything."

Justin: Light bulbs.

Rick: Yes. Light bulbs. They were out of New York. The interesting thing is, I think between Sylvania and MasterCard, they would bring 10 or 20 people to the game. Now you have Valero, who basically makes it such a big annual event and really propels us, and back then it was like, "Hey, it's great to get out of town money to help support local events." There just wasn't the buy-in. To have someone all in like Valero, that's why I'll always say Valero Alamo Bowl. If my car does run out of gas, I'm going to push it six blocks to the Valero.

Justin: Big supporter. What this meant to me when I read it, was that the cost of sponsorships must've slowly gone up significantly, because I've never heard of Builders Square.

Rick: Well, they were basically Home Depot, and they lost out.

Justin: Were they that big?

Rick: They were pretty big. They're based here. The beautiful thing about a company like that is you can defray some of the costs by having, hey, a paint company and a ladder company. That you can get a lot of co-op program in dollars. It was great that they were San Antonio-based. Unfortunately, they ran out of gas.

Justin: Now Valero is set through 2025, I think I read.

Rick: Correct. They are started in '07. The other trivia is there was actually one year without a title sponsor. If you think the year without a Santa Claus is a sad story, the year without a title is not a good one.

Justin: What year was that?

Rick: '06. Thankfully, and this is why one of my favorite players of all time is Colt McCoy. We'd never had Texas in our game. In '06, he was a freshman, and he was the quarterback. We didn't have a title, which pays a lot of the freight. Luckily, when you have a Colt McCoy and a Texas...