If the Sooner loss in Boulder stung, just think how a sweltering stint in the Cotton Bowl would feel without a cold beer to calm the nerves. No beer? Bummer, Sooner. This past weekend, servers at Fair Park beer stands surrounding the Cotton Bowl wouldn't serve some Oklahomans alcohol because they didn't have valid Texas identification. Some servers claimed selling alcohol to people who appear to be younger than 30 and present out-of-state IDs is against state law and State Fair of Texas policy. Neither is true, and a fair official said he will remind servers that out-of-state IDs are OK to accept — particularly with "truckloads” of University of Oklahoma football fans headed to Dallas for Saturday's game against the University of Texas Longhorns. "Valid IDs are valid IDs,” said Ron Black, vice president of food service at the State Fair of Texas. "We have a policy that our concessionaires are supposed to ID anybody that looks under 30. As far as that goes, that is the extent of our policy. We don't make them use Texas drivers' licenses. That's up to the individual concessionaire for their protection.” Black said servers are sometimes hesitant to serve alcohol to out-of-state fairgoers because a caveat in the state's alcoholic beverage control law protects them from prosecution if a minor presents an apparently valid form of Texas identification in order to obtain alcohol. That protection does not apply to out-of-state IDs, but it doesn't mean selling alcohol to people from out of state is illegal. Still, it's not uncommon for Texas companies and servers to refuse to sell alcohol to people who show out-of-state identification, said Carolyn Beck, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Some are just being cautious in order to avoid punishment from the TABC, but others may be misinterpreting the law, Beck said. Commission agents are conducting sting operations at the State Fair of Texas in attempt to catch servers who may be selling beer to minors, regardless of what state they're from, Beck said. "When the TABC observes an infraction, they could care less. They react pretty much immediately,” Black said. Minors caught buying, drinking or being under the influence of alcohol in Texas can face a misdemeanor charge and a fine up to $500. Serving alcohol to a minor is also a misdemeanor in Texas and could cost the server up to $4,000 in fines and jail time.
The State Fair of Texas, symbolized by Big Tex, may leave Sooner fans high and dry. AP/OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE