Ardmore businesses welcome Red River Showdown traffic

As fans head to Dallas for the annual Red River Showdown many of them will stop in Texoma...
As fans head to Dallas for the annual Red River Showdown many of them will stop in Texoma towns, creating a unique opportunity for local businesses.(Kemper Ball)
Updated: Oct. 8, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - On Friday thousands of people made the trip down I-35 for the Red River Showdown between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorn generating rare economic opportunities for Texoma businesses.

Many fans making the trip will stop in towns on the way for gas, food, or just a break from the heavy traffic.

According to Ardmore Chamber of Commerce president Mita Bates, this provides businesses with a chance to capitalize on out of town business.

“I think our merchants and our restaurants, especially those along I-35, really embrace it,” Bates said. “And you’ll see them doing fun stuff.”

One of the businesses that embraces the weekend traffic is Prairie Kitchen located off I-35 near exit 31-B.

The owner, former Sooners defensive lineman Phil Tabor, understands what makes this weekend so special more than most people do having been a part of the showdown four times.

“Everything about the game is different and it causes a lot of tension with the players,” Tabor said. “In a way its a lot of fun and in a way it isn’t. But I would prefer to play in a game like that rather than one that is not exciting.”

Tabor, a member of the 1975 National Championship team, goes all out to welcome Sooner fans passing through by decorating the restaurant in crimson and cream.

He also adds special, limited time menu items including Bevo steaks and burgers.

Tabor has experienced the heated rivalry first hand but says that his time since his playing days has given him a new found appreciation for the fan experience.

“I never realized what the fans went through to get to the game,” Tabor said. “They travel down in traffic and they do all that mess to try and get into the stadium and as a former football player I never realized what the fans went through, so its nice to be able to make their trip down a little more comfortable.”

It might be a quick stop for lunch or gas for the fans passing through but they have a big impact on local businesses.

Making this weekend a huge opportunity to give the local economy a boost.

“We really anticipate a very strong weekend from sales tax,” Bates said. “Because that sales tax goes back into the city and of course it all grows the local economy.

The game is scheduled to kick off on Saturday morning at 11 a.m.

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