Tips, traditions and advice from an Oklahoma State insider on the best ways to tailgate at a Cowboys game this college football season.
Zach Hake, a member of Oklahoma State’s Class of 2021 and the entertainment editor at the O’Colly, talks about the all-day event of Stillwater tailgating.
How to park: Unless you have access to the reserved VIP lots near the stadium, chances are parking on game day will be a nightmare. Luckily, there are several paid lots around campus that are a short walk from Boone Pickens Stadium and the major tailgating spots. I recommend getting a taxi or Uber from your hotel. If you really want to have your car nearby, you can find parking for around $20 near to the stadium, but you'll be parking in private yards. I don't advise this because the people are trying to make a buck and don’t care if they jam you in there all night.
A portion of Lot 74, one of the largest student parking lots, is also reserved for RV parking on game days. There are also several parking garages, including the Wentz Garage, Fourth Ave. Garage, Monroe St. Garage and the Student Union Garage that have parking available for purchase on game days.
How early to get there: Tailgating in Stillwater is an all-day event and fans start setting up their tents as early as 9 a.m. The night before game day, avid tailgaters stake out their spots. If you want prime real estate for your tailgate, you’ll have to reserve it a day early like everyone else. If you plan on visiting someone else’s tailgate, be sure to get there before the food runs out.
How to dress: Wear orange. Lots of it. (And make sure it’s the right shade!) Most guys usually wear an OSU polo, jersey or t-shirt with khaki shorts but if temperatures are bearable, jeans are also an acceptable choice. For girls, it’s a bit trickier. The centerpiece for all girls’ outfits, though, is their boots. Some wear orange or black dresses, others wear jerseys and jean shorts.
Best things to eat at the tailgate: Burgers, brats and beer are all staples of OSU tailgate cuisine. Some of the most common set-ups include giant smokers filled with fall-off-the-bone barbeque. Before last season’s home opener, a friend and I made our way to the OSU golf team’s tailgate, which had a massive, cast-iron smoker that was filled with mouthwatering ribs and brisket. Most tailgate food is delicious, but I would stay away from the egg salad, especially if you get there late and it’s been sitting out for a while. The last thing you want is to have to leave the game early because you ate some funky food while tailgating.
Other tips for a successful tailgate experience: For the most part, OSU tailgaters are very hospitable and will treat even visiting fans with respect and decency. I would estimate that 40% of all tailgates have TVs set up and whatever big game is happening at the time will be on. This is an easy way to get an "in" to a promising tailgate. Start by asking the score, then try and strike up a conversation and see where it takes you. Before you know it, you'll probably have a beer in your hand. The most important tips I can give are to have fun and drink responsibly; no one likes belligerence.