Go behind the scenes with SI.com's Arash Markazi whoâs âOn The Scene,â writing a regular journal from anywhere and everywhere about anything and everything.
7/30/2006 04:01:00 PM
The Boys Are Back
There’s never a dull moment at Dallas Cowboys Training Camp.
To call the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp a circus wouldn’t be complete hyperbole.
Pulling into the mud parking lot, surrounded by dirt piles at the River Ridge complex, that may one day have a river ridge and complex, a giant inflated Cowboys helmet lets fans know they’re in the right place. As soon as you walk through past the helmet and souvenir selling trucks and through the sawdust covered entrance, you’re greeted by a five-piece country music band playing, “The Boys Are Back in Town,” on stage, as Cowboys Cheerleaders and Rowdy, the Cowboys mascot, mingle with fans. To the right is an Astroturf covered area called the ‘Cowboys Experience’ is set up where kids are able to go through Cowboy colored mazes, slides and possibly even throw T.O.-like tantrums if they like.
To the left, a two-tiered truck serves as a portable ‘Cowboys Hall of Fame,’ with all five Super Bowls and championship rings on display along with game worn jerseys, helmets and trivia games. Nearby, smaller trucks, serving as the ‘Cowboys Pro Shop,’ are parked attracting hundreds of fans to shell over anywhere from $2 for a team roster to $400 for a three-foot Terrell Owens bobblehead. The most popular item is the $80 T.O. replica white jersey, followed by his authentic white jersey which is going for $250. “Anything with T.O. on it is selling like hot cakes,” said one vendor, putting a smaller $20 T.O. bobble head and Owens’ new $25 book, appropriately named, T.O., into a bag for a customer. “He’s the most popular guy right now.”
After fans were finished buying merchandise, answering trivia questions, going through mazes, listening to live music, grubbing down on some authentic Tex-Mex food and taking pictures with cheerleaders, most of them probably made their way to five grandstands set up under tents to watch the Cowboys practice. On Saturday, the first day of Cowboys Training Camp, a record 10, 100 showed up for both the morning and afternoon sessions, beating the previous Oxnard record of 8,300, set two years ago. "This is a class organization," said Dr. Thomas Holden, the mayor of Oxnard. "It's a great event for us when they’re here." That being said, the team will be moving its training camp to San Antonio next year and won’t likely return to California anytime soon for its camp.