Elliott T. Bowers Stadium – Sam Houston State Bearkats
Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
Elliott T. Bowers Stadium 620 Bowers Blvd Huntsville, TX 77340
Year Opened: 1986
Grow the Growl at Bowers Stadium
Nestled in the Piney Woods of deep East Texas is the city of Huntsville and Sam Houston State University, home of the Bearkats and Elliott T. Bowers Stadium. Sam Houston has fielded a football team since 1912. Participating in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Southland Conference, the Kats moved into their home at Bowers Stadium in 1986.
Since making their “den” at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium, Sam Houston State has rewarded their fans with nearly two decades of sustained success. Claiming 11 conference championships, six appearances in the FCS playoffs, and back-to-back berths in the national championship game, Bearkats fans have come to expect big things from their football program.
With Elliott T. Bowers Stadium, the team and its fans have found an ideal home. Cradled in the valley of two hills across from campus – near Bernard Johnson Coliseum – the facility is very reminiscent of a time gone by, with its brick facade and rolling green hills that double as general admission seating. Sam Houston State has a winner on the field and with the field itself in Elliott T. Bowers Stadium.
Food & Beverage 3
When it comes to food options, Elliott T. Bowers Stadium has mostly your traditional fare with a few surprises for game attendees. There are two main concessions stands – one each on the home side and visitors side. These are stocked with all of your traditional game day items: hot dogs ($3.25), nachos, popcorn, chips, soda, and candy.
There are also non-standard items like fruit salad ($5.50), pulled pork sandwich combos ($9.50), and sno cones ($2.50 for a small and $4.50 for a large) which can be pretty dang refreshing during humid East Texas afternoon football games.
In the north and south end zones, the school brings in food trucks for games, including the Potato Shack, which specializes in upscale baked potatoes, french fries, and chicken tenders. While the bells and whistles aren’t here, you will get something tasty for a pretty reasonable price.
The motto for the Sam Houston State BearKats is “Grow the Growl”. The physical location of Elliott T. Bowers Stadium, as mentioned, is sunken down between hills which surround the stadium and provide some great general admission seating (is there anything better than sprawling out on a lush green hill and watching a football game?), and the hills also do a great job of amplifying the sound from the home crowd.
Fans bring their passion every game and they have a good reason. Banners on the front of the stadium and on the field house proudly tout the success that Sam Houston State has experienced over the years. This success is palpable all over Elliott T. Bowers Stadium, and adds to the overall excitement.
The BearKats also bring all the familiar trappings of college football to their games, which greatly adds to the overall watching experience. The BearKats band and Orange Pride dance team all add to the games, as does seeing the human-sized, orange-furred BearKats mascot, Sammy, patrolling the sidelines and stands.
Huntsville looks like every picturesque small, college town in the country. It just has that “vibe” that you can feel almost as soon as you cross into town. Coming toward Elliott T. Bowers Stadium, you pass classroom buildings, student housing, the campus bookstore, all decked out in the blue and orange of Sam Houston State University.
While there are a good supply of hotels and restaurants, Huntsville is not like some of the other big cities that have college teams. What it lacks in big-city attractions, though, it makes up for in charm – history abounds in this part of the state; the college’s namesake is one of the most beloved figures in Texas history. The giant statue of his likeness – the third largest freestanding statue in the United States – can be seen for miles as you make the drive into the city. You can also visit Sam Houston’s grave site and the museum dedicated to him on your visit.
One other thing that Huntsville is known for is serving as home for the Texas Department of Corrections, aka prison. For a little bit of off-the-beaten-path sightseeing, take in the Texas Prison Museum for a bit of unusual history, including a glimpse behind the walls and bars of a real prison!
If for whatever reason none of this floats your boat, Houston is less than an hour away.
Sam Houston State fans love their team; there is no denying that fact. They come to BearKats games decked in team gear, adorned in blue and orange to root for their team. You will see giant foam – and inflatable – BearKat claws decorating the hands of fans young and old. The parking areas are filled on game days with tailgating fans, which is not only a great sight to see at a college football game, but also adds to the overall electric atmosphere.
Sam Houston State fans are a vocal group, and whether you sit up in the high-dollar seats or down on the bleachers with the students, you will get caught up in their energy. Make no mistake, Elliott T. Bowers Stadium is a great venue for college football, and that is in large part due to the enthusiasm of Sam Houston State’s fans.
Huntsville is just under an hour away from Houston, and is easily accessible off of Interstate 45. You will have to navigate streets near campus, but signage clearly guides visitors every step of the way. Houston is the closest major metro area to Huntsville though, so if you are flying in for a game, that is your best bet.
Parking at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium is free – always a great bonus – and there is plenty of it on the north side of the stadium opposite the field house.
Return on Investment 4
Division I college football games tend to get pretty pricey – unless you happen to be attending school at one of the schools playing, of course. However, the bargain you get at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium is one that is hard to beat – general admission seating starts at $13 per person, with reserved seating starting at $18 in the bleachers. If you have the means though, I would personally recommend opting in for the $25 hardback seats, as they are some of the most comfortable stadium seats I have ever personally experienced.
When you couple the affordable ticket prices with the free parking and relatively inexpensive concessions prices, you get a great bargain for some highly competitive college football.
Sammy the BearKat, the Orange Pride, and the band all add to the atmosphere. The Sam Houston State ROTC are also stationed in the north end zone as the Cannon Corps – they fire off “Boomer”, their cannon, after every BearKats score. This is a great tradition and really fires up the crowd, no pun intended.
Elliott T. Bowers Stadium is really a great venue to watch a college football game. The fans are passionate, the scenery is beautiful, and Huntsville itself is a great town to spend a weekend. If you are in the Piney Woods area and have the opportunity to take in a BearKats game, don’t pass it up. You won’t be disappointed.