DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The Cotton Bowl at Dallas Fair Park hosted the annual Red River Rivalry Saturday between the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas.
OU won in a rout, 63-21. But win or lose, the game at the Cotton Bowl is always penciled in on the calendar for fans of both schools.
Fans tell CBS-11 News the game belongs in Dallas, and they support it with hard-earned cash.
“I think it’s great to have it here. I loved it,” said Jim Ledet, who traveled from Austin.
Ledet and his UT buddies were bummed by the game’s outcome. “We took it on the chin this year,” said Michael Prince, also from Austin, “but we’ll get ’em next year.”
Still, win or lose, they feel the game ought to be played at the State Fair of Texas.
“It should never be anywhere else,” said UT fan Lill O’Neall Gentry of Fort Worth. “It is a classic being here at the Cotton Bowl, it’s an experience everybody should have.”
Visitors from Oklahoma agreed. “I feel like the seating is good. It doesn’t really matter where you are, you can see the game pretty well,” said Suzanne Chew of Edmond. “And it’s clean, the restrooms are nice.”
Her friend Kellie Taylor, also of Edmond, agrees. “Its seems like they’re controlling the crowd better, there aren’t so many wild people.”
The Cotton Bowl now holds 93,000 enthusiastic football fans. The City of Dallas has invested tens of millions of dollars in upgrades in recent years to keep the fan experience memorable. And the payoff can be huge. The State Fair of Texas estimates Texas-OU weekend pumps 35-million dollars into the local economy.
Last year, on game day alone, the fair says fans spent roughly 4-million dollars on food and beverages, midway games, and rides and shows.
“It’s a non-profit,” adds the fair’s Sally Wamre, “So the fair sends that money back into the community. So it’s very important to us, to Dallas, and to football fans.”
In an era where many football rivalries seem to have been kicked to the curb in favor of bigger paydays, Cotton Bowl tradition still matters.
UT’s Prince observes, “I’ve been to Cowboys’ Stadium, too, I love it; it’s great. But this bowl should be here. This is what college football is all about.”
The game has been played at the Cotton Bowl for 84-years. The Fair and the city are overjoyed the schools have agreed to keep it here through at least the year 2020.
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