Draper carries on UT program-hawking tradition

2018 is an odd year for Billy Draper.

The 49-year-old Knoxville native is selling souvenir programs alone for the first time in a long time.

The sun beats down his beard as he sits down at a table between Gates 11 and 12 outside Neyland Stadium.

"It's a slow day," he says with a smile, hours before the Tennessee Vols kick off against the Charlotte 49ers.

Last year, Draper lost a close friend, Gene Headrick - who was something of a local legend. Headrick got into the business of selling programs for Tennessee in 1945 and did it for 66 total years.

He died in April.

"He was like a dad to me," Draper said.

Draper said he got into this not for the money or the free tickets, but because he feels like a part of the game day experience.

"I always loved football, Tennessee," Draper said. "Watching all the players...all the fans, come to the game."

So if you want to see a smiling face and peel through one of the Vol Network's game day magazines, you know where to find Billy Draper.