7 tips for sailgating Baylor football games
For the uninitiated, sailgating is exactly what it sounds like: tailgating, on a boat. Part of McLane Stadium’s beauty is that its right on the Brazos River that runs by/through campus, and the stadium’s designers incorporated the water right into the design. A large lagoon — complete with boat dock — sits just feet from the stadium, allowing a tailgating experience that few other stadiums can match.
If you’ve never tried it before, here are 7 tips for sailgating at Baylor:
- Don’t forget the essentials. Perhaps this goes without saying, but be prepared before you spend hours out on the water! A basic checklist would include a cooler, drinks (but not in glass bottles), snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, dry clothes, waterproof bags for electronics, and a first aid kit. Texas Parks & Wildlife regulations also require you to carry personal floatation devices, sound producing devices (like a whistle or horn), lights, and a fire extinguisher. Click here to read up Texas Parks & Wildlife’s rules and guidelines to boating.
- Think about where you’ll drop anchor. If you’re a Baylor Bear Foundation member, you have the option of reserving a boat slip for the entire season. Otherwise, get there early, and you may be able to snag one of the first-come, first-served spots on the basin wall closest to the stadium. If those are full, a friendly Bear (see No. 6) might let you tie your boat to theirs. But wherever you anchor your boat, be sure you can safely escape in case of an emergency; Texas park rangers will be around to help you do so safely.
- Don’t have a boat? Rent one. Some local boat rental companies, such as Sunset Watercraft Rentals, rent out boats on game days. This is a great solution for those who want to sailgate just a game or two with a group of friends. Or if you’re looking for something simpler, companies like Waco Paddle Company (launching from the Franklin Avenue bridge behind the food trucks) and Pura Vida Paddle (launching from Buzzard Billy’s) rent out canoes, standing paddleboards and kayaks. (Note that while Baylor’s Pullin Family Marina normally allows Baylor students and employees to check out such items, it is closed on game days so that their student-employees can enjoy the day, too.)
- Arrive several hours before the game. Experienced tailgaters already know this, but game day is called game day for a reason. If it’s a morning home game, get to the stadium as soon as you can, and sail around afterward, too. If it’s an afternoon game, come out before noon and have your lunch on the boat. And if it’s an evening game, you have the perfect excuse to spend the whole day out on the water; just be sure your boat is equipped with lights if you’ll be out past sundown.
- Meet your neighbors. Baylor Bears have a reputation for being some of the friendliest fans in college football, and that includes during pre-game activities. If your boat will be docked most of the time, don’t be afraid to get to know your fellow Bears around you. You might even get some free food out of it!
- Pay attention to “no wake” zones. Most of the water surround McLane Stadium is a “Slow, No Wake” zone — so don’t try to zoom through on your speedboat and ruin other Bears’ fun. Power water sports (i.e. wakeboarding, water skiing, jet skiing) are allowed upstream, north of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. bridge.
- Don’t mess with Texas. Cups, plates, cans, hot dog and hamburger bags… They’re all things that help us while sailgating, but hurt the river once we’re done. Keep Texas, the Brazos, and McLane Stadium beautiful, and bring extra trash bags to clean up after yourself.
Sic ’em, sailgaters!