Reporting Bud Gillett
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For many fans from the Universities of Texas and Oklahoma, this is the weekend their worlds revolve around.
Whether you call it Texas-OU or OU-Texas, this is the weekend pencilled in for everyone to come to Dallas and the State Fair of Texas. These schools have played each other for a century, but every year at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park since 1929.
Perhaps nothing puts it into perspective like two old friends. “We’ve been best friends for 30 years,” says Viginia Gormely. “364 Days a year we are, anyway,” adds Loretta Coburn adds.
The women wouldn’t miss this game. Virginia is a UT grad, Loretta a Sooner. Their families travel from Joplin, Missouri in the same van, decked out with each school’s colors.
“I predict 40-32 Texas,” says Gormley, to which Coburn replies, “Not gonna get that many. 28-zip OU. You heard it here first.”
Imagine what Sunday’s ride home will be like. “It is very cool. very cold all the way home. We just leave each other alone. And it’s a big van, but the losers—they’re back there,” says Gormely, pointing to the rear of the van.
The game is a boon to Dallas and the Fair, with an estimated $35 million pumped into the local economy. Nearly $4 million of that in food, rides, and games alone, say fair officials.
“It’s a whole lot of fun, everyone kind of converges from in state or out of state,” says Jonah Kaufman, a UT fan from Austin. Kaufman plans all year for the event, and can’t imagine it ever being played anywhere but the Cotton Bowl and not that other stadium down the road in Arlington.
“I think it would be devastating to have it out there,” says Kaufman of Cowboys Stadium. “My favorite part with the new expansion? (at the Fair Park Cotton Bowl) It’s so loud! The whole point is people get involved, and it gets rowdy.”
Die-hard OU fans like Jared Gamble share the excitement. “It’s really important to come and rep the football team, it’s a lot of fun coming down from Norman and hanging out with the bros.” His ‘bro,’ Houston Johnson adds, “It’s a tradition and nothing tops OU-Texas.”
Getting to the game can be an excursion itself. While there are private lots dotting the periphery of the Fair Grounds, the State Fair of Texas has 20,000 parking spaces, so car-and-van-pooling is helpful.
Thousands of people may also want to take DART, which tells us it has 132 light trail trains and 130 buses to speed people to the Fair Grounds beginning at 7:00 a.m. Saturday. You take the trains downtown and switch to the Green line to Fair Park stop or Martin Luther King, Jr. stop.
MLK is actually closer to Gate 6 and the Cotton Bowl. And every third Red Line train marked ‘Special’ will go directly to the fair without needing a change downtown. DART has learned a lot since its disastrous first-year routes to the fair back in 2009 when it took hours.
But time still remains a factor Saturday says DART’s Mark Ball. “Come early. If you’re planning to come an hour before the game and hop on any of our rail lines to go to the game, you’re probably not going to make it to the kickoff.” He adds, “We do recommend come early, bring your patience and have a good time because DART’s going to get you there safely but it’s just going to take awhile.”
Ball says for the first time drivers will have to pay two dollars to park at the North-Carrolton/Frankford lot as well as the Redline Station in Plano. DART is planing on extra trains and help from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the big game Saturday.
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