‘Sailgaters’ to begin new era for Baylor and the Brazos
Three years ago, we learned that McLane Stadium would be built on the banks of the Brazos River, and we wondered, “Could people really boat to the new stadium?”
Now, of course, we know the answer. Come Sunday, the Brazos River will take on a decidedly green-and-gold tint as Baylor joins a small and notable fraternity of colleges that can offer “sailgating” — tailgating on the water — immediately adjacent to the stadium.
Baylor Nation will be treated to a gameday experience few outside of the University of Tennessee and University of Washington have ever enjoyed. And with television shots of boats outside McLane Stadium likely to become a signature image to fans nationally, even casual fans might someday identify river sailgating as being distinctly Baylor.
With a “Bearmada” of river-faring fans preparing to make their way to McLane Stadium in pontoons, sailboats, kayaks, and even a green-and-gold paddleboat, Baylor is ready to allow fans to reach the stadium in a number of ways. All 18 boat slips on-site have already been leased for the season; however, fans can dock their boats along a floodwall in the harbor just outside the stadium. The floodwall spots are first-come, first-served, and available for use beginning at 8 a.m. on gameday. There’s also a drop-off zone available for boaters who simply wish to allow passengers to disembark without needing a place to park.
Of course, fans should also do their parts to make sure the opening weekend on the water is a safe one. The Brazos River is under the jurisdiction of Texas Parks & Wildlife, so fans planning to arrive via boat should familiarize themselves with TPS safety requirements and be aware of regulations specific to Lake Brazos, which is comprised of the Waco sections of the Brazos and Bosque Rivers alongside the stadium.
“The water brings such a different variable to gameday,” says John Garrison, associate athletic director for marketing. “First and foremost, we want everybody to be safe. Bring the safety equipment required and follow TPS rules, and come out and have a great time.”
What new traditions might develop over time as river access becomes an integral part of the Baylor football experience? No one can say for sure, but it’s going to be fun finding out.
Sic ’em, Baylor sailgaters!
[Image above via @nick_pants]