DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The COVID-19 pandemic has caused those in the land of Big Tex to cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas, and that raises questions about the annual football showdown between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns.
After announcing the cancellation of the the fair, for the first time since 1944, officials said the conferences and universities that have events during the fair will be in charge of making decisions regarding the football games that occur at Cotton Bowl Stadium.
In addition to the Red River Shootout between Oklahoma and Texas — which has been played at the Cotton Bowl since 1932 — the annual HBCU State Fair Classic between Prairie View A&M University and Grambling State University also takes place during the State Fair of Texas.
The State Fair Classic began in 1925 between Texas’ Wiley College Wildcats and Oklahoma’s Langston University Lions. The game has been between Grambing and Prairie View since the schools moved their annual rivalry game to the Cotton Bowl stadium in 1985.
But officials with the State Fair still offered that prime real estate inside Fair Park should the schools choose to take the field in 2020.
Their statement said, in part —
“Should football be played this fall, the schools will be playing in the Cotton Bowl as scheduled, despite the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair. We will share those details as soon as we know more.”
The Red River Showdown, which has been played in Dallas since 1912, was scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 10.
Last year the Golden Hat — the trophy given to the winner of the game — went to the No. 6 Sooners who dominated No. 11 Texas and left the field with a 34-27 win. But the Longhorns lead the all-time series 62-48-5.
As far as cancelling the fair, officials said they went through a “thoughtful and extensive” decision making process that included getting input from fairgoers, concessionaires, exhibitors, midway operators, and auto manufacturers to name a few.
Before and after the games, football fans always took to the midway and enjoyed their share of state fair food.
In response to the closing, Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs — which debuted at the State Fair of Texas in 1942 — issued a statement that said, in part, “For 78 years, the Fletcher’s family has served their original corny dogs to attendees of the State Fair of Texas. While they are heartbroken that the State Fair of Texas will not take place this year, they take the health of their employees and customers seriously and understand the decision that was made to protect the public at large from COVID-19.”
More than 2.5 million visitors were expected at the 2020 State Fair of Texas.