The Rocky Mountain Showdown Survival Guide

There’s a chill in the air and the Flatirons look a bit foggier in the morning than they did a month ago. The weekdays are full of classes and hot coffee from Starbucks on The Hill. The weekends are for farmer’s market trips with friends, and of course, the reason you’re reading this, game days! At last, it’s tailgate season. Whether you consider yourself a game day aficionado or you’re a freshman/transfer and this is entirely new territory, I’ve got all the bases covered for you. Keep reading to find this year’s game day musts, and you’ll be more than ready to confidently yell “I said, it sucks to be a CSU Ram” at the top of your lungs come Friday!

What to wear:

Stiles in Style on Instagram -- For some LF style sweatshirts and shirts, custom made & from another college student (at IU).

Where the Buffalo Roam on Pearl Street -- For a bit of a different selection from what the bookstore has to offer, this little shop on Pearl will give you some shirts and tanks that you won’t see on every single person on The Hill on game day.

American Apparel -- For those metallic gold or silver skirts that amp up every outfit and aren’t too pricey.

Victoria’s Secret at the 29th Street Mall -- For something you’ll probably want to take better care of due to the price tag, but totally worthwhile due to the quality + cuteness factor.

CU Bookstore in the UMC on campus -- for jerseys, Ralphie horns, CU grandma t-shirts, face tattoos, and more!

What to eat after a long day walking around The Hill and cheering on the Buffs:

Illegal Pete’s on The Hill -- Better than Chipotle, no doubt, and the location makes it an easy option.

Boss Lady Pizza -- If you feel like getting a lil’ wild with your pizza, Boss Lady is the place for you.

Cosmo’s -- A CU classic, and for good reason.

7/11 -- For the Slurpees, of course.

How to travel into Denver:

The RTD bus system -- Free! The magic word in college. The RTD is packed when the majority of the student population is headed into Denver, so be sure to get there ahead of time so you don’t miss kickoff! (Don’t forget your bus pass!)

A party bus with friends -- Have everyone chip in & get a super fun experience out of it! Be sure to plan ahead and make sure there are enough spots for everyone in your group.

If you choose to drive, find a designated driver and hold them accountable. Drunk driving is not cool, not safe, and not smart in the slightest. If you can’t find anyone willing to drive, find a party bus, take the RTD, or chip in for an Uber if you’re with a smaller group.

A pump-up playlist for every gameday:

  1. "Closer" by The Chainsmokers (It’s the song of the semester, no matter how sick of it you might be, it’s still crazy catchy!)
  2. "All The Way Up" by Fat Joe
  3. "Weekend" by Louis The Child
  4. "Stacy’s Mom" by Fountains of Wayne
  5. "679" by Fetty Wap (a classic, honestly)
  6. "Gold Digger" by Kanye West
  7. "Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners
  8. "London Bridge" by Fergie
  9. "Disco Inferno" by 50Cent
  10. "Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks

Pro-tips from some CU gameday experts:

Stay hydrated: You’ll thank yourself in the morning

Stick with your friends: Getting lost is ZERO fun. Bring a travel charger so you don’t have to worry about your phone dying and not being able to get in contact if you lose your friends in the crowd.

Dress for the weather: Rain jackets aren’t that cute, but it’s better than being soaking wet.

Plan your ride: You don't want to wait until the last minute to plan how to get there. Busses get packed pretty quickly and the traffic can be a pain. CU offers free rides to and from the game. The busses leave by Coors stadium a few hours before the game. 

Arrive early: The tailgates are, honestly, the best part of the game. There are CU tailgates on one side and CSU tailgates on the other side. Just walk through the parking lot and you will be in tailgate heaven. Food will be cooking on the grill, music will be blasting, and people will be dancing and playing games everywhere.

Pay attention to the game: Most every year the Rocky Mountain Showdown is the best game of the year. There is so much action in one football game, more than all the other games combined. It's the best game to cheer on the Buffs, so keep your eyes on the field!

Don't be rude: Fans can get very drunk, so yelling at someone from CSU can cause problems, sometimes even fights. Just keep your negative words to yourself. If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all! Plus, there are an abundance of cops milling around so it's easy to get in trouble if you act out.

Take in the moment: You only get four Showdowns in your college career. These are the games that you will look back on most, and it only comes once a year, so enjoy it while you can!

Have SO much fun, be safe, and SKO BUFFS!

Special shout-out & thanks to the girls who sent me all the awesome pictures & contributed their pro-tips featured in this article: Cierra Hubbard, Lizzie Grunwald, Kelly Galloway, Maddie Marten, Carolyn Wassmer, Nicole Lloyd, and Zoe Goldman