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Tailgating Talk: NDSU Makes Changes To Bison Football Tailgating

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography and Paul Flessland

Christmas is still four months away but you can tell Santa Claus to “just chill out, man,” because Bison football tailgating is here and so is the most wonderful time of the year. The trailers, the Bison decals, the meat on the grill, the music, the friends–it’s all back. But before we get to the football, and the tired storyline of whether or not the Bison will return to glory, it’s time to get our tailgating situation figured out.

Bison Fans Tailgating

NDSU made a huge change to the tailgating setup this year by increasing the number of reserved spots by 279. If this is news to you, you’re already too late to cash in on prime tailgating real estate. But don’t start writing that nasty email to NDSU just yet.

Here are your options:

One, there are still 219 general admission spots for tailgaters who didn’t get any reserved spots. Two, there’s an NDSU football tailgating pass ticket exchange online.

Bison Fans Tailgating

If you don’t want to gather your things and wait overnight to get a spot in GA, the ticket exchange is a godsend for you.

Here’s how it works:

We all have that friend who has that friend who is getting married this fall and it happens to land on the same day as one of NDSU’s home games. Said friend who has to go to a wedding on Bison gameday (seriously, who does that?) can’t make the game and won’t be tailgating in their reserved spot. In the past, you would have to convince your friend to give you their season pass for the reserved lot and you would make a blood pact to ensure they would get their season pass back from you so they can return to their reserved spot for the next home game. This year, there’s no need for a blood pact, so put your knife away.

Bison Fans Tailgating

Every tailgater with a reserved spot in the West Lot this year received six nifty, colored reserved parking passes for their tailgate in the mail–one for each regular season home game. They know they can’t make it to at least one game because of that silly wedding so what they can do is give you the reserved pass for that game and not worry about tracking you down for that season pass.

Bison Fans Tailgating

Or, if you’re that poor fan that has to go to the wedding, you can go online to the Bison tailgating pass ticket exchange and sell your reserved pass to make a little cash. Seems easy enough, right?

Here’s why NDSU is doing this:

They want to fill every reserved spot for every game. No abandoned reserved spots means more Bison football crazed fans for the parking lot party. Everyone wins, except for your friend who will be watching wedding vows instead of Easton Stick touchdowns.

(More) General Rules & Guidelines:

Rules are generally for the military and school, but there are several you should keep in mind so you can enjoy your experience without getting booted out of the tailgating festivities or ruining your day.

Bison Fans Tailgating

  • If you’re under 21, don’t drink. There’s security walking around the lot and they will bust you. Don’t get a ticket, be smart.
  • Drinking and driving is still against the law.
  • If you are over 21 and you’re drinking, conceal your beverage in a plastic cup or mug so no one bothers you.
  • This isn’t a music festival. Clean up after yourself.
  • General Admission tailgating lot opens five hours before kickoff. It’s on a first-come, first-serve basis. Get there early to lineup on 17th Avenue North. And if you have a set time you think will be early enough, go even earlier. The line tends to form the Friday night before games.
  • Go even if you don’t have a ticket to the game. Plenty of people in the tailgating lot don’t have tickets and will migrate with you to watch the game on TV. Remember, the lot does close 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
  • Don’t be a mooch. Bring a rolling cooler to transport your own beverages, and have some extra cash on you to donate to the tailgaters that are nice enough to feed you.
  • Good luck making a phone call. If you need to meet your friends somewhere, go to the alley that cuts down the middle of the lot.
  • Make the opposing fans feel welcome. It’s your responsibility to uphold NDSU’s reputation. Plus, we’re probably going to win anyway, so what’s the point of trash talk?
  • Move around. The best way to experience Bison tailgating is to check out other tailgating spots and visiting friends all over the lot.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen… just trust me on this.

Bison Fans Tailgating

Go to to see the rest of this year’s football schedule.
9/2 – NDSU vs. Mississippi Valley State at 2:30 p.m.
9/23 – NDSU vs. Robert Morris at 2:30 p.m.
- NDSU vs. Missouri State (Homecoming) at 1 p.m.

Written by Joe Kerlin

Joe Kerlin is the editor of Bison Illustrated. He graduated from NDSU with a major in journalism and a minor in public relations and advertising. Kerlin works directly with NDSU Athletics. For questions about upcoming issues, contact Bison Illustrated’s editor Joe Kerlin at

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