“A lot of the DART trains that go to the Fairgrounds stop in downtown Dallas,” Downing said. “I remember in 2009, we had to switch trains in downtown Dallas, and it was so impossible to get on one. By the time we got down there, it was just completely packed.
“Everybody has to get there so early in the morning.”
The next year, when the game kicked off at 2:30 p.m., Downing said the DART system was much less crowded.
Downing and his friends are staying Friday night in nearby Farmers Branch, because he said a DART ride from the suburbs to the Fairgrounds isn't as bad.
Still, the 11 a.m. kickoff requires fans to wake up early, leaving them little time to enjoy the fair before the game. For those who choose to not pay for a hotel room Friday night, the day becomes even more taxing.
“I'm not really in the mood to have a corn dog at 8 in the morning,” Harrison said with a laugh.
Downing said he brings 5-Hour Energy shots to the 11 a.m. games, but is still usually too exhausted to spend much time walking around the Fair postgame.
“By the time the game's over, you've been up so many hours already, the game's so intense and you're just exhausted afterward,” Downing said.
Regardless, most fans seem willing to deal with all those inconveniences to keep the Red River Rivalry at Cotton Bowl Stadium, even if a move to state-of-the-art AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington might help alleviate them.
“It wouldn't bother me tremendously if they ever decided to put it in JerryWorld,” Harrison said. “It's a nicer stadium. It's a little bit up to date as far as bathrooms, concessions, stuff like that. The only problem I would have is that the game would lose its luster without the fair. That's what that whole game is built around.
“There's no other college football atmosphere like it.”