The smell of hamburgers on the grill permeated the air on the 72-degree summer night.
The rumble of the crowd served as a backdrop to the beat of the bass drum resonating in the chest. An array of sights greeted newcomers.
Walking into Eskimo Joe’s, one could see a sea of OSU shirts, a giant Pistol Pete and bouncy houses trying their best to withstand the high energy of children.
Eskimo Joe’s and the Oklahoma State Alumni Association teamed up to provide the Stillwater community a way to watch the Oklahoma State football team’s first game against Oregon State on Friday.
The party offered a variety of activities leading up to the game, including a concert from the Val Gladden Band.
The Stillwater-based band, founded 4 years ago, plays covers of popular songs across different genres. Friday, the band played covers of tunes such as “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” by Toby Keith and “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison. Many people who attended the event danced along to the music.
A stage with a huge 20-foot flat screen TV hanging above it sat center against the back wall.
OSU men’s basketball coach Mike Boynton said the event was important to OSU and the Stillwater community.
“I think it’s important for our community that we support each other with all the good things that are going on here in Stillwater, but specifically at OSU with our athletic department,” Boynton said. “We’ve got a great university, a lot of pride in what we do from an athletics standpoint, and I look forward to Coach Gundy and his squad getting it off to a good start tonight.”
The alumni association greeted everyone with a warm welcome, directing people to the raffle opportunities of winning a cooler or a Mike Gundy-signed football.
As the start of the game crept closer, the OSU marching band stood in front of the crowd with the spirit squad and played the fight song.
Jessica Medina-Benningfield, the director of engagement at the alumni association and coordinator of the event, led the crowd in an “Orange Power” chant.
Later in the event, Boynton brought 14-year-old Hadly with him onto the stage and announced that Hadly would complete his cancer treatment in September. The crowd burst into a roar, showing support for Hadly.
After all of the festivities came to a close, it was time for the main event. Just as the game was about to start, a hype video of the Cowboys and a message from Mike Gundy got the crowd fired up.
With all guests' eyes fixed on the screen, the game finally started.
A collective groan emanated from the crowd when Oregon State scored first. Then the momentum and cheers shifted as Chuba Hubbard ran the ball into the end zone.
After a field goal from each team, LD Brown scored from the the 5-yard line with 9:41 left to go in the second quarter.
From there, a strong performance from Hubbard and the offensive line lead OSU to victory.
For the fans at the watch party, it was a sweet ending to a fun night.
Medina-Benningfield and Jillianne Tebow, assistant vice president of marketing and communications at the OSU Alumni Association, said students will have more opportunities to attend events like this one.
“This event was put on by our SAB (Student Alumni Board) students,” Medina-Benningfield said. “They do events periodically through the semester. Some of them will be geared towards student alumni association members."