From a geographical perspective, the 2014 Cowboy Classic would seem to be a bigger draw for Oklahoma State fans. After all, Stillwater, Okla., is only 270 miles from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, while Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., is 856 miles away.
Yet when Oklahoma State and Florida State kick off the season on Aug. 30, you’re likely to find no shortage of Seminoles fans in the stands. The ’Noles are the reigning national champions with one of college football’s most fervent fan bases. The game is a rare opportunity for far-flung FSU alumni to see their beloved team.
Florida State boasts booster clubs in Tallahassee, New York City, Japan and Norway, and loyal fans will travel in bunches to the Seminoles’ first game in Texas since the 1992 Cotton Bowl (a 10-2 victory over Texas A&M). Katy Zamesnik, the president of the Austin Seminoles Club, is a 2008 FSU alum who settled in the Texas state capital after graduation and became head of the local FSU chapter in 2011. With the ’Noles so close to her new hometown, she’s pulling out all the stops to get to Arlington.
“The Florida clubs, and all along the East Coast, everybody gets to go every year,” says Zamesnik. “We’re out here in the middle of nowhere-land for the ACC, so it’s exciting for us to have an affordable option to go and cheer on Florida State.”
Zamesnik has been hard at working coordinating with the other Texas-based booster clubs as FSU alums descend on the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Zamesnik says FSU fans from the local Houston and San Antonio chapters will tag along with the Austin club charter bus and meet up with members from the Los Angeles club and other less local chapters. “We’re bringing in people from across the whole country!” she says with a laugh.
A charter bus will bring one group of Austin-based fans up to Dallas-Ft. Worth, with plenty more planning their own route. The road trip plan is simple: load up the bus in the morning, grab some drinks and plenty of food and get ready to invade AT&T Stadium.
The FSU Alumni Association will throw multiple sold-out tailgate parties for alums who jumped on the limited tickets early. These parties will feature bull riding shows, live music and plenty of barbecue. The local chapters are planning their own party, complete with food, cornhole games and a chance to meet FSU alumni from Seattle to Tallahassee. “You can find people and have an instant bond,” Zamesnik says. “I’ve made great friends, and it was a wonderful way to get connected when I first moved to Austin. It’s amazing to go anywhere in the country, and you can find a club.”