No State Fair, Limited Crowd: Red River Showdown To Look Different Saturday

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Saturday is the annual Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, but the time-honored tradition will look at lot different this year.

The Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners will play in front of a much smaller crowd than usual.

On Friday night, a bar in Dallas known as an OU hangout would typically be packed with Sooners fans, but they were hard to spot this year.

“I think we were the only two that walked in earlier,” said Beth Kidd, who drove down from Oklahoma City for tomorrow’s game. “We’ve seen a couple since we’ve gotten here.”

She’s surprised they haven’t seen more OU or Texas fans out in Dallas, but she’s still excited for the Red River Showdown.

“We’re actually fortunate and got tickets that were given to us,” she said.

The Cotton Bowl will only be about a quarter-full because of concerns about COVID-19. The State Fair of Texas is closed too.

“Last year we had more than 226,000 people out on the fairgrounds on Texas-OU,” said Karissa Condoianis with the State Fair of Texas. “So it’s very different this year. It’s going to be less than 25,000 total who will be out here participating in the game.”

In previous years, parking lots across from the fairgrounds would already have RVs and party buses parked there by Friday.

Gaytha Davis, who owns several of the small lots, is thankful they at least get to open up for fans Saturday, though it won’t help them recoup all their losses this year.

“It’s still going to mean something because we’re here,” she said. “We’re not going away. The State Fair will be back. Things will go back to normal.”

Davis says it may just be a football game, but it gives her hope.

“For better days ahead,” Davis said. “And maybe tomorrow will be one of those days.”

Fans of both teams, of course, have a different kind of hope.

“Just cheering on our Sooners, hope for a win,” said Kidd.

Only people with tickets to the game will be allowed on the fairgrounds tomorrow. Masks are required and social distancing is encouraged.

Kickoff is at 11 a.m.

CBS Dallas / Fort Worth