Tailgating at Reliant Stadium
by Cheval John
Houston, Texas- The 86th annual “Battle of the Piney Woods” between Sam Houston State (SHSU)
Bearkats and Stephen F. Austin (SFA) Lumberjacks at Reliant Stadium
was filled with fun, excitement and running back Tim Flanders
flipping into the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Bearkats
momentum in the game and allowed them to demolish SFA 45-10.
The game was played in front of
25,083, the largest crowd in Southland Conference history.
though the game was exciting, the best part for many of the
spectators was tailgating.
They were a sea of orange and purple in
the parking lot at Reliant Stadium. Though they were in separate
parking lots, they were some students and alumnus from SFA among the
crowd of orange.
The series began in 1923 and is the
second longest rivalry in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The
Bearkats have an all-time record of 49-35-2 against the Lumberjacks.
As a result of an agreement that was
reached between Lone Star Sports and Entertainment and the two
universities in 2009, the series was moved to Reliant Stadium in
Houston which started last year and would continue through the
With more than 65,000 alumni that call
Greater Houston their home, tailgating at Reliant allows them to
reconnect with their former classmates and professors, and also, to
meet current students that are attending Sam.
“The rivalry is a huge deal,”
former Bearkat baseball player Alex Pujols said. “I am happy that
they brought it here to Houston and it is getting bigger every year.”
Tailgating also allowed a few SFA’s
alumnus and students to catch up with their friends that attended Sam
Houston and for those that graduated from both SHSU and SFA.
“We do a mutual tailgate that allows
us to mingling with both groups and has worked out for us,” SHSU and SFA alumnus Stewart
He was one of many people at the Athletic Training
Alumni tent that was near the SFA side of the parking lot.
Different colleges and departments
including the College of Business Administration took part in the
tailgating at Reliant Stadium.
“It is festive here with great music
and weather and everyone is excited about the game,” SHSU alumna
Valerie Muesham, Ph.D. said.
Tailgating at Reliant was fun and will
continue for the next two seasons. Hopefully for many, the annual
rivalry will continue at Reliant for more years after the 2013 season.
Did I mentioned that the Flanders’ flip made it to the top 10 list on ESPN’s SportsCenter at #5? Click here to see for yourself.