By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Wisps of smoke dotted the Oklahoma State University campus Saturday afternoon. The first of the tailgaters had fired up grills and smokers. Others had just started setting up their tents, portable bars and dialing in their satellite dishes to watch the afternoon games while they chatted with family, friends and fellow Cowboy fans.
Tracy Rogers of Calera is an Oklahoma State graduate and has two daughters, Kirsten and Madison, who are sophomores at the university. He was grilling while friends gathered around a travel trailer-style bar he built for tailgating. The covered bar features a flat-screen TV and a three-sided bar. Friends and family were sitting on tractor seats that telescoped in and out of the trailer.
“We just joined a group that had been tailgating here for 15 years,” Rogers said. “We just kind of eased our way in with them. Our kids knew each other. When our girls got up here we started tailgating with them.”
The idea for a traveling bar just popped into Rogers’ head, and it seemed like a really good idea. It took him about 30 days to build it. He did have a friend help with the welding.
“We had a bunch of leftover metal and stuff and we just started building,” he said.
A few feet away, Garry Crabtree from Mansfield, Texas, had his smoker going. Ribs are his specialty. Great ribs require a good rub and slow cooking, he said.
It’s Crabtree’s first year to tailgate at OSU although he is a tailgating veteran at professional sporting events in Texas.
Crabtree was in Stillwater because his son, Zachary, is a freshman offensive lineman for Oklahoma State.
“We do a lot of stuff up in Arlington for the Ranger games and Cowboy games. It’s our first one here,” Crabtree said. “We are excited to be here.”
The Crabtrees pulled a smoker behind their pickup for 4.5 hours just to tailgate at OSU.
“Getting to be able to be part of this is a blast,” Crabtree said.
Tracy Hoover of Stillwater was fine-tuning his satellite dish Saturday afternoon. His cousin, Raylon Earles, of Guymon was catching up with family and friends.
He was excited to be at the game. Oklahoma State University officials expected a record crowd in Boone Pickens Stadium when the Cowboys tangled with the Lamar Cardinals.
Earles said it would be exciting to be in a packed Boone Pickens Stadium for the first home game this season.
The Hoover clan has been tailgating before OSU games for approximately four years.
“A bunch of us originated from the Panhandle of Oklahoma and Texas,” Hoover said. “There are some local friends that come around too.”
What is the best part of tailgating?
Hoover said it’s just the camaraderie.
“It’s just getting together with a bunch of people with a common interest, enjoying being together and cheering on the Cowboys,” Hoover said.