UT football fans embrace season opener; tailgating is back


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas took the win at the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Saturday for the football season opener. Fans packed out the stadium for gameday against the Ragin Cajuns’.

One things that’s back this year is Texas tailgating.

“I’m so happy to finally be back to Longhorn games… HOOK EM, I love it,” said a University of Texas fan Saturday.

Inside the stadium in 2020, only 18,000 were allowed in — though it has the capacity to fit 100,000 people. Flash forward to 2021, a sea of burnt orange filled the UT stadium.

It’s a sight the owner of Horn-Ball Texas Tailgating is embracing.

“The spirit has been really good, people are happy, jovial and excited,” said Ryan Lepper, Co-Owner Horn-Ball Texas Tailgating.

In 2020, vendors weren’t allowed to tailgate. Lepper said he sent a proposal to the state for approval. The Texas Facilities Commission approved them and they were one of the only tailgates allowed.

The tailgate operated as if it was a restaurant with groups of no more than 10 sitting inside the tents, watching the game all while a server comes around to them.

There’s a stark difference this year.

“What we did this year is have a lot more fans. We are trying to keep the air circulated,” said Lepper. “We’re hoping nothing comes back as far as COVID goes, but we aren’t sure there is any way of knowing. There will be thousands of fans inside the stadium. It is what it is.”

As this year’s season opener looked a lot more familiar, Lepper is hoping that doesn’t change. Over 91,000 fans packed the DKR stadium Saturday.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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