There really isn’t anything quite like Oklahoma and Texas on the second Saturday in October. Everyone will tell you that until you are blue in the face, but seriously there is nothing quite like it.
That being said, after 10 of them, I might be starting to wear out on the game. At least, until next summer when I book my AirBNB for round 11 or when i’m sitting at home with the biggest case of FOMO.
Sure, the whole experience is incredible and special. But honestly, year after year of fighting the crowds, inexplicably using weird paper tickets instead of cash or card and dealing with the madness of it all is exhausting.
The magic is wearing off and that’s a little depressing.
There are three types of OU-Texas people: the Thursday people (mostly DFW folks going home early; sometimes they are just loaded), the Friday people (most common group; this is the best way to get a good amount of the weekend) and the Saturday people (old people missing out on Friday night, which is half the fun).
I’m a Friday person, mainly due to wanting to save money, so Derielle and I headed up early. Most of my sports road trips are either me and Derielle or me and random friend, so this was a bit of a classic trip.
After the early morning drive down I-35 (the most exciting part was figuring out how improved Denton traffic is), we made a straight shot to a Dallas barbecue joint called The Slow Bone, a name that gets dirtier every second more I think about it. The ‘cue wasn’t too bad; I had a standard chopped brisket sandwich and some Lone Stars. You definitely get a solid amount of food for what you pay for.
As is tradition for Derielle and I trips, the next move was naturally, a brewery. The aim this time was Deep Ellum Brewing, a brewery named and inspired by the eccentric district it calls home. Deep Ellum is one of the banner craft breweries in the DFW area, so I was excited to give it a try.
The brewery and taproom itself is massive and looks something straight out of Mad Max. They may or may not have had a Thunderdome. Not only that, they had a full sized kitchen service, something legally impossible here in Oklahoma.
As for the beer, most of Deep Ellum’s offerings are of the IPA variety. As it was 4 PM, we had to stay relatively sober and both opted for blonde lagers (I got the impression that flights aren’t really a thing here) with Derielle having the ultra-popular Dallas Blonde. I would strongly recommend it if you ever come across it next time you cross the River.
After getting a buzz going, we met up with some of our friends at a solid burger place called Slater’s 50/50, mostly because it had the same name as Slater, one of the members of our crew (also an Ohio State road-tripper). The conversation was good, the beer was good (something called a Mr. Wiggles Double Dank IPA) and the burger was half-beef half-bacon, resulting in something that kinda tasted like ham. Which isn’t bad, it just was totally different.
The best thing about Red River Friday nights are the Bar Tabs. For those not in the know, some organizations will rent out venues and put a portion of their dues into paying for the drinks of the group. They are pretty great events that get your crew all in the same place. I don’t know about you, but friends always are cooler when you see them in different towns.
Oh, and the drinks are paid for. That’s more than nice.
This year’s venue was at HG Sply Co., which is an artsy way to say HG Supply Co. This place was a perfect bar tab location; big open rooftop bar and patio with plenty of space for your crowd. Unfortunately, my organization may have over invited, so our tab was drained quickly. But not without obtaining a solid ass buzz!
The next move was Uptown. As far as where in Uptown, we didn’t know. So me and our inner circle wandered around until we found The Common Pour, a little corner bar that didn’t have a line halfway to Fort Worth. There, we found the Mother of all Moscow Mules, a 120 dollar behemoth to be split by 6. I mean, look at this thing.
After battling through the copper mugged monstrosity, Derielle and I were about done. We retreated back to the AirBNB (not without taking the worst Lyft ride of all time around Dallas) and called it a night.
The next morning, we were both very drunk. My dumbass continued to drink more Crown Royal, as our coupon count was limited and I didn’t want to blow everything on wax cup beers. After my mini-pregame, it was off to the Fair via DART, the Dallas lightrail system. Things went pretty well, until Derielle and I realized we had made a mistake.
Everyone beat us there.
Turns out, you have to change your definition of early when OU-Texas kicks at 2:30 and not 11. More people do the Fair three hours before kick, because three hours before kick doesn’t mean 8 AM. It was a madhouse.
Luckily, we can prepared with our pre-bought coupons and skipped the Coupon lines entirely. The problem then was finding a properly quick Corny Dog line. Which of course, there was none. After a valiant search, we settled for a less enormous line in front of the Cotton Bowl.
We toiled through that line like Soviets waiting for a bowl of potato soup. At least the Soviets weren’t melting in Texas heat. I emerged with two Corny Dogs and a beer, and suddenly the world was blissful again.
And then it was gametime. We spent all our fair time getting a Corny Dog. No regrets here.
The game itself was the spectacle as advertised. Honestly, it was the first time this game felt like a blood rivalry in years; both sides were confident. Despite the heat, we trudged on through and emerged from the Cotton Bowl exhausted, just like the other 90 thousand people inside.
Going out after OU-Texas is a myth. Especially with the 2:30 kickoff, there is no damn way to do it. You can’t squeeze in a nap before and it takes forever to get out via DART, which unfortunately we did. We spent the whole time, exhausted, waiting in line and wishing we just stayed to see the free Pat Green concert. Once Derielle and I got back, we ordered a pizza and called it quits for the trip.
The next morning, we took one last look at the Dallas skyline. Halfway through the season and this season long road trip, I realized this season was at a crossroads. A return to the DFW in December seemed so far away, but something felt like this wasn’t the last time we’d be in town this season.