Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder Alley goes the way of Commerce Street
Earlier in the week, I wrote about the likely end of the Thunder Alley watch party in the wake of eight people being shot and the atmosphere on Reno Avenue turning ugly even before the gunplay. A similar situation ended the tradition of Eskimo Joe’s anniversary weekend in Stillwater almost 20 years ago, which is about the same time another long-standing tradition died because of gunplay and general rowdiness.
Commerce Street the night before the OU-Texas game.
A tradition that dated back to the 1940s in Dallas, Commerce Street became Ground Zero for the Sooner and Longhorn fans who flooded Dallas. Thousands of fans from both schools would parade up and down Commerce Street, hurling insults at each other. But in 1992, a fatal shooting occurred during the Commerce Street gathering, and Dallas city officials shut down the tradition. They sent 900 police officers into the streets, banned open containers of alcohol, established a curfew for those under 17 and generally dispersed the crowds in a variety of directions.
Our Robert Medley reported that on Friday night of the 1993 OU-Texas game, “the streets of downtown Dallas were empty and quiet. The scene of traditional Oklahoma and Texas football fan clashes resembled that of a country occupied by foreign invaders: Streets were barricaded, and 900 armed police officers guarded storefronts and intersections.”
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