Halloween with Oregon State’s Beavers

Halloween weekend meant it was time for the Fox College Sports crew and I to pay a visit to the cozy town of Corvallis, Oregon. California’s Bears were in Beaver-ville, hoping to leave with a W against the Oregon St rivals. The first day we were there, it was beautiful, the weather forecast predicted rain, but Mother Nature kept the skies clear for us. It was a brisk 50 degrees. The campus looked picturesque painted with trees of vibrant reds, yellows and orange. My first task was to interview a few members of the cheerleading squad. Interview turned into a cheerleading tryout and after a failed attempt at a dance routine (not to mention embarrassment), it became time to head to OSU’s parade ritual.

It was homecoming weekend so the excitement and energy was apparent and in full effect. OSU’s cheerleading coach, Amber graciously invited us to stand on the back of a rig along with cheerleaders and band members to which our duty was tossing hard candy at excited OSU spectators, without actually hurting anyone. I also failed at this task equally as much as my dance attempt, as more candy ended up in my mouth than in the hands of fans. (It was Halloween, after all!) Next it was bonfire time. Every Friday before the game, OSU throws a bonfire equipped with cheerleader performances, hot chocolate, pep rallies and even an appearance by Grand Marshal Mike Parker, the radio voice of the OSU Beavers.

The night was not over yet. In honor of Halloween, we checked out a haunted house put on by 6 OSU students. Located off campus at their humble abode, it had taken the students just under a month to put it all together. The only thing they asked for were donations which they gave to a good cause. Because we can’t leave a college town without at least experiencing the nightlife, we hit up a few student hotspots. The patrons were as friendly as they were easy to talk to, and not afraid to express their distaste for longtime rivals, Oregon University.

The next morning called for early call times and preparation to make sure we caught the true essence of Oregon St’s pre-game rituals. And just in time to greet us, the rain had finally arrived. Oh yes, October in Oregon. I threw on my windbreaker and took the tailgates by storm. By far OSU was the most inviting, outgoing and hospitable tailgates my crew and I had experienced. Don’t get me wrong, every campus we’ve visited has been friendly and outgoing, but the people of Oregon State had that southern hospitality vibe even though they’re neighbors with Canada. They invited us in, asking to taste test their made-from scratch egg muffin sandwiches and homemade cinnamon buns that were gopped with melty cream cheese frosting. There was hearty chili, pulled pork sandwiches and my favorite—biscuits and gravy! Amidst the shoveling of delicious food in my mouth, I asked a few zealous fans their thoughts on Coach Riley. Their overall outlook on him was positive. OSU’s football program has been a very competitive contender thanks to Riley, producing 3 current NFL QB’s, and knocking off #1 ranked USC 27-21 at Reser Stadium in 2008.

After we finished filming, we stayed at one tailgate for the remainder of the game. The people there were so engaging, I felt like I had known them for 20 years! We went from chowing down chili and corn bread to swapping heart felt stories. I like people like that…the kind that are nice just to be nice. I left with a fond feeling of OSU. Oregon people have high expectations but still go above and beyond. After all, the Beavers were favored to beat the Bears by 2.5 points, and they beat them by 28.