The Highlight of My 2016 Summer was Women’s Cowboy Football 101

by Ammie Bryant, Editor

My dear fellow Moms, I know you are out there planning your kids’ summer activities, but I urge you please make plans for yourself this summer too. Summer camps abound for kids but what if I told you there was one for you? And that it involves Oklahoma State University Football? If you are a Cowboy Football fan like me I urge you to consider Women’s Football 101

Recently, I was thinking about my experience with Women’s Football 101 last summer, how much I enjoyed it, and how I wanted to do it again so I reached out to Coach Butler and the VisitStillwater.org team to make sure I didn’t miss my chance to register. I learned that the 12th annual Football 101 will be held July 28, 2017 and Coach Butler says to expect an announcement soon! So while I countdown the days until football season and wait on pins and needles for my chance to register for this year’s Football 101, here’s a look back at my experience last year.

Whether you are a football expert or mildly interested in the game, Women’s Football 101 has something to appeal to everyone. The program is provided specifically for women, but when my husband and brother-in-law found out that I would be attending they were jealous–and with good reason!

The July 2016 Football 101  program was the 11th year for the event. When participants arrive at the West End Zone entrance of Boone Pickens Stadium, they are greeted by the energetic dynamo that is Mac Butler, Director of Football Operations. After registering, we were ushered through the weight training room to pick up our credentials and swag, before arriving in the Team Meeting Room. The room is huge and the chairs are built to accommodate the imposing build of a football player. I fell in love with the leather seats which were far more comfortable than anything I have at home.

There were women of all ages and walks of life at this event. Some were mothers of the cowboy football team, some were multi-generational family groups including grandmothers, mothers, aunts, daughters, and sisters. There were groups of sorority sisters. There were coworkers and other groups of friends. Everyone came together with enthusiasm and lots of love for each other and above all love for our Pokes.

When participants arrive at the West End Zone entrance of Boone Pickens Stadium, they are greeted by the energetic dynamo that is Mac Butler, Director of Football Operations. Here Mac meets KOCO’s Markie Martin.

Coach Butler set the tone for the day–one of excitement and festivity. He informed us emphatically that the day was about having fun and backed it up with the day’s theme song: “House Party” by Sam Hunt. He introduced staff and players then showed the 2015 Highlight Video. If that doesn’t get you fired up for some Cowboy Football, I don’t know what will. Next up was the Mother of Current Players Panel featuring several moms and their current cowboy football players answering questions and sharing football-related memories of their sons.

Sherman E. Smith Indoor Training Center was the location of the workouts.
Sherman E. Smith Indoor Training Center was the location of the workouts.

Then the real fun began. Participants were sent to the Sherman E. Smith Indoor Training Center where we participated in a team stretch and workout directed by coaches and current players. Everyone was asked to participate in the stretch but the workouts themselves were optional. Women of all ages participated  from groups of girlfriends and multi-generational families to new students and alumni. The coaches and players were awesome with all of the ladies. You could tell that they were having just as much fun as the women. It was truly a bucket-list activity for me. I could see why so many return year after year to participate. 

Cowboy Football 101 includes a 45 minute workout with the coaches and players.
Cowboy Football 101 includes a 45 minute workout with the coaches and players.
barbara-houck-in-the-locker-room
Barbara Houck and her Cowboy Football 101 swag in the Cowboys’ locker room.

After the workout was over, participants dined with the athletes at the Training Table, the athletic dining facility in Boone Pickens Stadium. There, we were treated to healthy, delicious fare and encouraged to re-hydrate for the afternoon’s activities.

The afternoon included individual position meetings followed by a tour of the facilities with presentations on athletic training and physical therapy as well as a visit to the locker room.  Then participants returned to the Team Meeting Room where NFL Referee Clay Martin talked about his experiences as a referee.

The final presentation was a first for Cowboy Football 101 and a highlight of the day:  a Q&A with Cowboy Legends, Rusty Hilger (1981-1984), Mark Moore (AP All American 1983-86), Josh Fields (2001-03), and Donovan Woods (2004-07).  Rusty Hilger offered a particularly stirring speech which Josh Fields said he “had only heard Coach Miles give that kind of speech once” during his time at OSU.  Fields went on to say, “I’m ready to strap on my pads–I’m fired up.” The Legends Panel closed the day with a standing ovation from participants in appreciation of the insight and memories the panelists shared. Then, we all stood and sang the alma mater…Ever you’ll find us, loyal and true.

The final presentation was a first for Cowboy Football 101 and a highlight of the day: a Q&A with Cowboy Legends. Left to right: Donovan Woods (2004-07), Josh Fields (2001-03), Mark Moore (AP All American 1983-86), and Rusty Hilger (1981-1984).
The final presentation was a first for Cowboy Football 101 and a highlight of the day: a Q&A with Cowboy Legends. Left to right: Donovan Woods (2004-07), Josh Fields (2001-03), Mark Moore (AP All American 1983-86), and Rusty Hilger (1981-1984).

At one point during the day, the football players were asked, “What makes Stillwater home?” The answer was unanimous, “the people of Stillwater.”  It’s that special something that Hilger reminded participants only we have here in Stillwater. Orange. Power.  It’s a big part of what makes Stillwater America’s Friendliest College Town.

The Classy Cowboy creed was demonstrated by everyone we met throughout Cowboy Football 101. It’s a big part of what makes Oklahoma State such a special place.