Not just a Game: The Tradition of Texas vs. OU

For Texas -vs- OU, the tradition runs deep.
For Texas -vs- OU, the tradition runs deep.

Texas vs. Oklahoma. The Red River Rivalry. This season’s meeting will be the 108th game between the longtime rivals. The Longhorns and Sooners have played on the grounds of the Texas State Fair since 1929 and at the Cotton Bowl stadium since it opened in 1930.

In the Cotton Bowl, the fans are spilt 50/50 right down the 50-yard line. The usual tailgating on campus is replaced by the raucous setting of the State Fair. The midway pits supporter of both sides into the melee out side the stadium.

Every fried food you can imagine available for purchase at the fair. Corny dogs, fried Oreos, fried apple pie are only a few of the many deep-fried delights you can try at the fair.

But before all that can happen, Texas has some traditions of its own the week before the OU game.

The Torchlight Parade: Each year, Texas students, faculty, alumni and Longhorn fans gather with torchlights and parade down Guadalupe Street to the Main Mall in front of the tower, where they hear from Texas players and coaches.

The Torchlight Parade began in 1916 before the Thanksgiving Texas vs. A&M game. Back then, the men and women marched separately to Old Main. It stayed a mainstay tradition until the 1960s, then after a 20-year hiatus, the Texas Exes restored the tradition in 1987 and now the event is help every year before the Texas vs. OU game.

During the rally at Main Mall, Coach Mack Brown will toss a football to the student Naval ROTC battalion commanding officer. When the officer gets the ball, the 31st annual “Run to Dallas” will begin. The next morning, about 80 other midshipmen-- flanked by a support bus-- will alternate carrying the ball from Austin to Cotton Bowl in Dallas and deliver the ball back to Coach Brown. This year the "Run to Dallas" has been cancelled due to the government shutdown.

In Norman, Oklahoma, the OU ROTC midshipmen will do the same, running from their campus to Dallas. When the game balls have been delivered, the two ROTC groups will play a “friendly” game of flag football.

There is no fumbling either; it is rumored to be bad karma if the ball is dropped at anytime. In total, the midshipmen will run 140 miles.

Here is a 2011 video from Longhorn Network about the run:

On the Friday before the game, the Dallas Chapter of the Texas Exes puts on the “Get Teed Off at OU Classic”. The tournament is in its 26th year and this year’s honoree will be former Texas Football Coach Fred Akers.

Today over 400 golfers will play in the tournament. Those participating will play on three courses starting early Friday morning. The event raises over $50,000 annually for chapter scholarships.

Here is a 2011 video about the tournament:

Many students will be making the trip to Dallas for the Red River Rivalry. The fraternity and sororities go big for the game. Members of the fraternities will ask a date to go to OU with them. Their date will elaborately paint/decorate a cooler for them to fill with refreshments for their privately rented bus trip up to Dallas.

Sometimes, sorority girls will hire out artistically inclined students to paint their coolers for them. One frat constructs a covered wagon based on the Sooner Schooner only to light it on fire all while singing a rousing chorus of “The Eyes of Texas.

The tradition surrounding the game is unlike any other game the schools play each year. Texas vs. OU is regarded as one of the best rivalries in college football today, if you go to fair and the game, you’ll understand why.

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