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Official Review by Paul Hilchen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Since 1953, Reser Stadium, formerly Parker Stadium, has been the home of the Oregon State Beavers. Originally holding 28,000 fans, the stadium has been upgraded and modernized, the last phase completed in 1991. There are two more phases of expansion in the works which will increase the capacity to 55,000 fans. At present, the capacity is just over 45,000 fans, which is near the bottom of the Pac-12. In spite of that, Reser feels like it’s twice the size it is, and at the same time, it has a very cozy feel to it as well. From the top sections of the stadium, you have a great view of the Willamette Valley and the picturesque landscape the region boasts. There have been more than a few major upsets at the stadium, from beating the top ranked USC Trojans in 2006 & 2008, to winning 5 consecutive Civil War games with the in state rival Oregon Ducks from 1998-2006.
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Other than a few specialty vendors, food is pretty much standard fare. The south side of the stadium only has Qdoba Mexican food as its specialty choice. They feature a Chicken Burrito for $8. On the north side, which has been updated the most recently, there are a few more options. Austin BBQ features a pulled pork sandwich for $8; Wholly Habaneros has their Wholly Habaneros nachos for $8 or burrito bowl for $8. Bodacious Burgers presents its offering for $9. As far as standard options, those are available through the whole stadium: hot dogs $4, nachos $4, soda $4 and kettle corn for $6.
The student section is down in front, which makes things very loud for the visiting team. Reser is very much underrated as far as home field advantage is concerned. There is high energy throughout the game. After every Beavers first down, the PA announcer says "And that's another Oregon State..." and the crowd finishes with "...first down." It gave me chills hearing that. There is a large video board on the east side of the stadium that helps keep the crowd up to date on game stats.
Reser Stadium is located on the campus of Oregon State University right next to Gill Coliseum, which is the home of OSU's basketball & volleyball teams. Corvallis has a small college feel to it and seemingly the whole city shuts down on game day. Despite being a city of around 55,000, Oregon State football has a huge following.
If you are looking for an after game destination, there isn't much that's really close, but if you travel about a mile away, on SW 3rd & 4th Streets you have a fair amount of choices to choose from. The Sunnyside Up is a good breakfast spot, and the Big River Restaurant & Bar is a good spot for the rest of the day's meals. Out-of-towners looking for a place to stay have a few options within a mile or so. Hilton Garden Inn is within walking distance of the stadium. There are a few other hotels within a mile and a half of Reser.
Oregon loves its football, and Beaver fans don't take a back seat to anyone. "Beaver Nation" is as passionate a fan base as any in college football. That passion doesn't go too far like some fan bases where visitors are taunted and sometimes hassled. The stadium feels very inviting for everyone, the same feeling you would get in most "small town" settings, even though Corvallis isn't a small town. Beaver fans are very classy and set a good example for others to follow. I didn't see many fans that were there because "it was the place to be and be seen." True, hardcore, OSU Beaver football fans filled the stands.
Like a lot of locales in Washington, Oregon & California, Corvallis is off of I-5 although not directly. If you are not much of a fan of freeway driving, route 99W is the scenic option. Approximately 10 miles west of I-5, Reser Stadium's parking situation is actually very good. There are plenty of places to park going to the stadium, and that doesn't include the parking lots specifically for football fans. Lots advertise $15 - $20 for parking, which is reasonable. Once inside, the north side stands and concourse have plenty of room for fans to get around. Bathrooms are big enough for high volume. The north side also has plenty of space for handicapped fans. On the south side (the older part of the stadium), there is room to get around although not as much as the north side. I suspect that the south side will be the next phase of expansion.
Single game tickets for OSU football range from $35 - $99 depending on opponent. The average cost of a ticket is in the range of $45 - $55. Looking out from my vantage point, it doesn't appear to have a bad seat in the house. Oregon State appears to have a less is more philosophy, and it works. Football fans get just that, football, and it's refreshing to attend a sporting event that is for that type of fan. Family friendly and exciting, a football game at Reser Stadium is well worth the investment.
Tailgating before a Beaver game is an incredible sight. The parking lots surrounding the stadium are filled with tailgaters and that seems to be as much of an event as the game itself. Whatever food you can't find in the stadium, you can probably find outside before the game. I was offered a beer and a brat before the game by a total stranger. That's part of that small town feel.
They paid tribute to the 1964 OSU Rose Bowl team between quarters and brought them out on the field. The Beaver marching band marched at half time and also played before the game in the parking lot. The band and cheerleaders also led the crowd during pregame. Traditional stuff, but it all adds to the whole experience.
Fans wanting hats or shirts to remember their visit to Reser Stadium fear not, there are numerous places to get these items. Hats range from $15 - $38, hoodies from $30 - $45, and shirts from $5 - $20 as well as other items for sale in black and orange.
There is a statue on the east side of the stadium donated by the last living member of the legendary eleven ironmen of the 1933 OSU football team.
Taking in a football game at Reser Stadium is a top notch experience. Good fans, good atmosphere, it has the total package for the football fan.
Member Review by AlexShoemaker on Dec 26, 2012
Reser Stadium has been the home for Oregon State Beavers football since 1953. It was known as Parker Stadium prior to 1953. Despite being one of the smallest venues in Pac-12 football (45,674 seating capacity), Reser is one of the most underrated home field advantages in college football.
After the Beavers had down seasons in 2010 and 2011 (following two seasons one win short of a Rose Bowl berth in 2008 and 2009), Oregon State appears to be back in serious conference contention with a remarkable 9-3 regular season in 2012.
Reser has been expanded in 1958, 1965, 1967 and 2005 and has featured renovations in 2005 and 2007. It had natural grass from 1953-1968, then astro turf from 1969-2004 and has had field turf ever since.
Some notable games in the history of the stadium include huge upset victories over top-ranked USC Trojan teams in 2006 and 2008, as well as five consecutive Civil War victories over the rival Oregon Ducks from 1998-2006.
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