A solid contingent of Murray State alumni, current students, prospective students and fans decked out in blue and gold showed up and showed out during the university's kickoff Monday for the "Racers Roadshow" at Mayfield-Graves Country Club.

Don Robertson, vice president of student affairs, commended the turnout of near 70 people at the university's first stop of the summer.

"It's an outstanding turnout for the first one," he said. "This has set the stage for the others."

The Racers Roadshow also made scheduled stops in Hopkinsville and Madisonville Tuesday, then was to visit Henderson today and Paducah on Thursday to round out the week's travels within Murray State's 18-county service region.

Next week, the Racer Roadshow is scheduled to visit Owensboro and Louisville, then head south to Nashville before wrapping up in Murray on July 18.

Robertson said the university has held similar events outside Calloway County and west Kentucky, but not in such an organized effort as the current Roadshow tour. Preparation for the tour, he said, began in February or March.

An added aspect to this summer's events is spotlighting Racer athletics with athletic director Kevin Saal, football coach Mitch Stewart, basketball coach Matt McMahon, baseball coach Dan Skirka and golf coaches Eddie Hunt and Velvet Milkman.

The athletic department even brought out hardware such as championship trophies, as well as "Dunker," the Racers' mascot, and a cardboard cutout of basketball standout and Memphis Grizzlies signee Ja Morant.

"The Racers Roadshow is another example of the incredible momentum and excitement surrounding Murray State University and our region," Murray State Director of Athletics Kevin Saal said in a university release.

"It's a great way to build excitement," Robertson added.

Robertson added that the purpose is also to remain visible in the region.

"We don't want to take this area for granted," he said, noting other aspects of MSU that people can learn during these outreach efforts. "I think people will learn about the comprehensive nature of our university, new programs we are developing, the new services that are coming out.

"There's much more to it than just what you may see on the surface," Robertson added. "Events like this create more awareness, creates more support and excitement. That's what it's all about."

Eric Walker is the sports editor for The Mayfield Messenger. He has also worked as a staff writer for the Messenger, editor for the Murray Ledger & Times, and in public relations. He is married with two sons.