Boone Pickens Stadium - Oklahoma State Cowboys
Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Boone Pickens Stadium W Hall of Fame Ave & Hester St Stillwater, OK 74078
Year Opened: 1920
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Boone Pickens Stadium, formerly known as Lewis Field, has been home to football games since 1913, which is when Oklahoma State (then called Oklahoma A&M) began playing at the site. Originally known simply as Athletic Field, the venue was renamed Lewis Field in 1914 after Laymon Lowery Lewis, a former dean of veterinary medicine, science, and literature; Lewis is one of the most popular figures in the school’s history.
The stadium currently has a capacity of 60,218, and was renamed Boone Pickens Stadium in 2003, in honor of renovation donations from alumnus T. Boone Pickens. Pickens’ gift was the single-largest gift in school history at the time – in 2003 his $70 million donation ($20 million of which was earmarked for stadium expansion) eventually generated more than $100 million in gifts and pledges from more than 2,500 individuals, making it the single-most successful campaign in OSU history.
Besides college football, Boone Pickens Stadium also hosts high school football games during the fall, and in 1984 hosted a game between the Oklahoma Outlaws and the Houston Gamblers of the USFL.
Food & Beverage 3
The food options here aren’t anything to get excited about, but there is plenty of basic stadium fare, and enough concessions to cover you during the game. The prices are on par with other sport venues.
Chicken strips are available for $8, while cheeseburgers, pizza, and burgers are all priced at $6 from the regular (Sodexo) stands. Hot dogs, nachos, French fries, popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, cotton candy, and packaged candy average around $4. The stadium does have outside vendors serving food with higher prices than the main stands; a few of these outside restaurants are Persimmon Hill (providing Philly cheesesteaks for $18 or pepperoni cheese rolls and club sandwiches on an everything bagel for $14 each), Pokey’s BBQ, and Curty Shack for hot dogs with a twist for $7-$11 (Curty Shack is self-titled as ‘A Stillwater Original’).
The soft drink selection consists of Pepsi / Dr Pepper products with prices being $5 for a small, $6 for a medium, and $7 for the large souvenir cup. The alcohol menu is strong with a large selection of beer, liquor, and wine, including the basic Bud selection at $8.50 or Karbach brewery selections and locals for $10 to $12 – my favorite, Stilly Wheat, is $11.
The food variety, quality, and prices of the food are good. However, when you have a neighborhood like Stillwater, the basics of the stadium’s food and beverage menu are a perfect match for the fans.
The atmosphere begins early in the day as parking lots around Oklahoma State University open at 8 am on game day. The area around Boone Pickens Stadium and throughout the campus begins to host crowds of tailgaters with bright orange pop up tents. The smell of food from grills or smokers replaces the fresh scent of the Oklahoma plains. Non-tailgating fans that want to begin their day head towards the restaurants around Stillwater, the most famous hot spot being Eskimo Joe’s.
There are two types of pre-game activities around Boone Pickens Stadium besides tailgating or restaurants – the first is a fan fest on the north side of the stadium, and the second is at the Student Union building on Hester Road. The fan fest opens about 3 hours before kickoff and invites fans to interact with the Oklahoma State athletics programs, as OSU sports teams are available for autographs, and the OSU spirit squads, along with mascot Pistol Pete, are available for pictures with fans. Once you have seen the spirit squads and Pistol Pete, head over to the Student Union building to see the Oklahoma State marching band, spirit squads, and Pistol Pete lead the OSU Cowboys football team in the Spirit Walk to Boone Pickens Stadium.
The two-level, 60,000+ seat stadium fills with bright orange quickly; the stadium has bleacher seating, but there are cushions available to rent. However, fans here spend more time standing than sitting down, which is part of the reason the OSU fan base is one of the loudest in the Big 12. You’ll be able to identify the student section on the west side of the stadium, near the OSU entrance tunnel, as the front row of students beats the sides of the stadium walls with large sticks. The band is in the end zone, not far from the students.
The Cowboys football team enters the field by opening a gate like at a rodeo bull riding event, and run through smoke, fireworks, and the playing band. Bullet (a horse) is ridden onto the field with the OSU flag ahead of the team.
The seating at Boone Pickens Stadium is a horseshoe, but seems enclosed, as historic Gallagher-Iba Arena sits in the east end zone. OSU’s army artillery weapon, Packy, is also in that end zone, but not too close to the seats; Packy is fired throughout the game, especially after a Pokes score. This is under the supervision of the Oklahoma State University ROTC program, and the ROTC students are also visible in the student section, as an ROTC student will do push-ups for every point the Pokes score. This is done on top of a flat board, which is held up by other ROTC students.
Pokes fans are continuously involved throughout the game and have numerous traditions. These traditions range from a first down chant, motioning in unison, the chant of “Orange Power” from 60,000+ people, and fans waving in unison every time the Cowboys score. Overall, the atmosphere is wonderful, and depending on the visiting team or the importance of the game, the atmosphere at Boone Pickens Stadium can easily move from good to great.
Boone Pickens Stadium is in Stillwater, Oklahoma on the Oklahoma State University campus, and is adjacent to Gallagher-Iba Arena. Stillwater has a population close to 47K and is about an hour’s drive from the state’s two largest cities of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The description of Stillwater is the definition of a college town – the neighborhood has interesting bars and restaurants to satisfy not only the college students, but also football fans visiting Stillwater.
The main artery for campus nightlife is the strip on Washington Street, which includes Willie’s Saloon, the venue where Garth Brooks began his career. Just a few blocks east of the strip there is Hideaway Pizza, a Stillwater original and an Oklahoma tradition since 1957. However, no trip to Stillwater is complete without a stop at the famous Eskimo Joe’s. This restaurant and store will get quite crowded on game day, so plan to arrive early to experience Stillwater’s “finest little jukebox joint”. Eskimo Joe’s is just one block from Boone Pickens Stadium, and serves burgers and other great entrees, but it is the amazing cheese fries that are a must when ordering food. There are several varieties, but I would suggest the bacon cheese fries.
Besides the restaurants, Stillwater is home to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame; Oklahoma State has earned 34 national championships in college wrestling. The Oklahoma State campus and the city of Stillwater are also great tourist attractions in and of themselves, but on game day the neighborhood becomes one of the best in college football.
The Oklahoma State fans, in a football-dominant state such as Oklahoma, are great football fans. However, where the other big state school seems to just have great football fans, Oklahoma State has great sports fans, and this comes out at every sporting event. The fans continuously support the Pokes throughout games with the “Orange Power” chant, motioning of guns ups or first down, as well as singing the song “Oklahoma”, but with the punctuating ending addition of the word “State.”
The only potential downside to an otherwise great road trip is the access to Boone Pickens Stadium. Getting in and out can be difficult given the location of Stillwater on the plains of Oklahoma, about an hour from public transportation or any large airport, and the city having only two ways for traffic to get out of town.
Parking can be a bit of a hassle if you are not familiar with the options before coming to Stillwater. Like other college football programs, donors and season ticket holders of course have the best parking sites, but the public can usually find a business or homeowner who allows parking in their lot or yard. However, if you arrive early there is free parking along neighborhood streets, only a short walk from the stadium and many of the restaurants. Be sure to read the signs about where you can park, though, so you won’t be towed.
Alternatively, if you want a safer free parking option, and you are okay being shuttled to and from your vehicle, then downtown Stillwater offers free public parking and shopping opportunities for fans. The shuttle service picks up downtown at the corner of 7th and Lewis and drops off at the stadium, located at the corner of Hall of Fame and Knoblock. The shuttle starts running about three hours prior to kickoff and continues throughout the game and after, with pick-ups and drop-offs every 15 minutes.
Once you get to Boone Pickens Stadium itself, access is a great experience. There is plenty of room, and the school’s alma mater is written above the entrance gates. The bathrooms are labeled as Cowgirls/Cowboys and there are plenty of them, all with easy access. The concourses are wide and easy to get around, with plenty of signage to help you navigate the venue.
Overall, Boone Pickens Stadium itself has great access, but for a first time or unprepared fan, getting into Stillwater and parking might not be as easy. The suggestion would be to get to Stillwater early and enjoy walking around the town and campus.
Return on Investment 3
Boone Pickens Stadium is a phenomenal facility with great sightlines and a solid atmosphere, located in the wonderful college town of Stillwater. Visiting the stadium is well worth the money – single game tickets are $50 for non-conference games, while Big 12 games sell for $75, the exception being the last Bedlam game versus Oklahoma, which is only included if you purchase season tickets. However, if you are looking to save some money, there are always third-party markets, especially for non-conference games. The concessions prices are equal to other sport venues, but Stillwater itself offers a much better variety and cost for food.
Boone Pickens Stadium has some great architecture thanks to the 2003 renovation, which can be seen in the split concourse and the steel infrastructure. Having 14 suites that are used for events at Boone Pickens Stadium and in Gallagher-Iba Arena is also a plus. In 2018 the stadium added the 8th largest videoboard at a college football-only stadium. OSU’s new board, which is in the east end zone on the outside wall of Gallagher-Iba Arena, measures roughly 56 feet tall and 110 feet wide, and can show live action and full-screen replays at better than 1080 HD resolution.
In addition, the venue has some interesting touches in its decor, including the words to the Oklahoma State alma mater written above the entrances, the cowboy cattle-run design, and the Cowgirls/Cowboys signs identifying the women’s and men’s bathrooms. The whole college football experience here is amazing and can only be found in Stillwater.
A trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma is a trip that every person should make, especially for America’s Greatest Homecoming. Being on the plains of Oklahoma you can get a feel for the history of how this country began, and better understand how life was simple yet hard by just traveling through the Stillwater area. And for the football fan, Boone Pickens Stadium is a must visit, so guns up in Stillwater and join the orange Power faithful of OSU, as they ride and gather to support their Cowboys.