If you are a college football fan and you have not attended Texas/OU weekend, you might want to consider adding it to your sports bucket list. The game is played at the Cotton Bowl during the State Fair of Texas and it attracts over 90,000 screaming fans. For the first time in over 20 years, I made the trip to Dallas for the Red River Showdown. The State Fair is worth the trip by itself, and I was lucky to have five hours to kill before the game. KLAQ Morning Show host Buzz Adams joined me on this radio station trip along with a pair of winners, and Adams is a diehard Oklahoma Sooners fan. He attended the school back in the 1980s and even wore his vintage Keith Jackson jersey to support his team. As a Texas ex, I was excited to be back at the Red River Showdown, even though some fans had a hard time comprehending how a Longhorns fan could be next to a Sooners fan.
The State Fair of Texas dates back to 1886 when it was formed by a group of Dallas businessmen and was an instant success. It attracted more than 100,000 in its first year and it added the annual Texas vs. OU football game in 1929. Big Tex, a 55-foot tall cowboy statue, was first built in 1952 and has since become the symbol of the State Fair. In addition to all of the rides and games for kids and adults, some main attractions include an aquarium, livestock show and outdoor concerts. You might not want to eat for a few days before attending the State Fair since it is a food lover’s delight. There are hundreds of different items to try, including the best corn dogs you will eat anywhere.
As for the football game, it featured plenty of drama, excitement and action. The Sooners built a 20-0 lead, but the Longhorns trimmed it to 20-10 at halftime. Texas actually took a 24-23 lead with 8-minutes left in the 4th quarter, but Oklahoma needed only three plays and 68 seconds to go 70 yards and score the game winning touchdown to win 29-24. Throughout the classic rivalry, fans from both schools never stopped cheering their team while standing up for a good portion of the nearly four-hour contest. Even after it ended, most of the 93,552 fans stuck around the State Fair to either celebrate the Sooners win or think about what could have been a stunning Longhorns upset.
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This was almost too good to be true. The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum offered a bobblehead featuring UTEP mascot, Paydirt Pete, on a UTEP logo base with a replica National Championship trophy as well as a commemorative backing. Although the highly sought-after collectible was supposed to be released last week, the University of Texas licensing department requested to pull the bobblehead off of production and no longer offer it for sale. The Paydirt Pete 1966 championship bobblehead was limited to only 216 pieces and was part of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Series.
Some people had pre-ordered the UTEP bobblehead online before the request to cease sales came down from the UT Licensing Department. Those lucky people will receive the bobblehead, sure to become a collector’s item for Miner fans.
Since 1997, Steve Kaplowitz has hosted “Sportstalk” weekday afternoons 4-7 p.m. on 600 ESPN El Paso. Over the last 17 years, he has also worked for UTEP and NMSU as a play-by-play broadcaster, for UTEP telecasts on Time Warner Cable and for KDBC-TV and KTSM-TV as a sports anchor/reporter. You can contact Steve by emailing him at email@example.com.