I can’t tell you too much about who is going to win the Red River Shootout, but what I can tell you is this: If you’re lucky enough to have tickets for the game, you’re in for a real treat.
When I moved to Texas from Chicago in 1983 I began playing tennis with a former Oklahoma alumnus who was a fanatical Sooner fan. He was so fanatical that when football season came around, he would quit his job in order to attend the game with his three buddies from Enid, Oklahoma.
On the weekend of the big game, his three friends would arrive on the Friday before the big game and the ritual would begin. The itinerary was something like this: Upon arrival in Dallas, play a round of golf and after completion of the round begin drinking home brew beer and homemade moonshine that had been prepared all year just for this event. Afterward, the crew would head down to the “Fare,” the iconic strip joint on Greenville Avenue that had one dollar beer for happy hour. From there the party would end up in downtown Dallas in the West End where the revelry continued into the wee hours. The banter in the West End, which consisted of a cacophony of Texas-OU suck chants, would often land several hundred of the combatants in jail as emotions escalated. If you made it through that portion of the program without throwing up or ending in jail, a meal at Denny’s was often the night cap (all of this was a formality before the game even began).
In the morning they would wake up from their passed out positions on the floor and make a batch of Bloody Marys (a little hair of the dog), and after dressing up in their finest OU apparel, the party proceeded to Fair Park where a huge OU tail-gaiting barbecue would take place. Upon game time, everyone would pile into the Cotton Bowl for the main event. I only attended one of these games, but I can tell I had never seen a spectacle like it. The ocean of maroon red and burnt orange that washed out the stadium was mind boggling, while the pageantry of the marching bands set the soundtrack to the activities.
The games were often very good and very close, with the crowd roaring at every development. After the game, everyone would head out into the Texas State Fair (which is juxtaposed to the Cotton Bowl) and the party would continue.
To me, the game almost seemed a sideshow to the weekend, but then again I am not a Texas or Oklahoma alumni. One thing I can tell you is that it took me about a week to recover from the Red River shootout. If you’re lucky enough to have tickets this weekend, the weather report is calling for sunny skies and highs in the seventies (perfect football weather). In the meantime ─ “Go …”