Ranette Tonsfeldt and her staff wait outside of For Pete's Sake, the shop she manages at 105 S Knoblock.
An orange glow silhouettes the employees as the sun beats down on their OSU tent. It's humid, and the temperature is rising as it gets closer to midday. Tonsfeldt said she prepped the store all summer to be ready for the first game day.
Now that it's here, she sounds like a coach; just hoping that her team for the impending storm of customers, which effectively quadruples their business from a regular day.
“It's a great day and a fun day, and we are ready to watch our merchandise fly out of here,” she said. “These six days out of the year are fantastic for us, but by the time the game rolls around we are tired and ready to go home.”
Earlier in the week, OSU coach Mike Gundy talked about the dynamic of how game days in Stillwater have changed. Gone are the days of few fans and small tailgating crowds, the coach said.
Now, OSU officials will open the ‘corral,' a new tailgating area to help handle the growing number of excited Cowboy fans.
Kurt Murray, 45, was a student at OSU when Cowboy greats like Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas ran amok on Lewis Field.
Now, Murray spends his game days in the shadow of Boone Pickens Stadium. He says a whole different atmosphere resides in Stillwater these days.
“We all love football and we all love OSU, and it's just great to see this celebration,” Murray said. “It's phenomenal to think that we are mentioned with the elite teams in the country now. We know we have a long way to go, but we are building our tradition now and creating that overall atmosphere that creates pride in the university.”
As the chimes of the Edmon Low Library signal another hour closer to the 2011 season, Cody Blosch, 28, tosses a few washers with family and friends.
“I'm anxious and nervous because this could be a fun ride this season,” he said. “For us, we love OSU through and through and whether we go undefeated or 6 and 6, we'll be out here.”