Welcome to Texas gameday like you’ve never seen it before.
This is the story of a football season at The University of Texas, but not the one you’ll find on television. The Alcalde sent one of the state’s leading photographers, Jeff Wilson, to DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium with instructions to shoot everything but the game.
Through his eyes, the football itself became a backdrop for the constellation of characters who make the experience possible. From cotton candy vendors to tuba players to tailgaters—even a group of otherwise reasonable men periodically firing a Civil War era cannon—here is the spectacle of gameday seen anew. See even more of Wilson’s gameday photographs here.
The Silver Spurs unload Bevo before the game. He’s very docile, but it was still intimidating when he walked straight toward me. He just moseyed on into the stadium.
The Cowboys roll Smokey the Cannon through a north gate. Just after this photo was taken, the cannon got stuck in a smaller doorway. We spent a few minutes puzzling over how to get it through.
A sound specialist wears a giant dish and headphones.
The T-shirt cannon
A shopkeeper in the stadium
A tailgater in his custom trailer. The trailer was carpeted with Astroturf, complete with white yard lines. Photos of football greats hung on the walls.
Mascot Hook ’Em waits for the right moment to rouse the crowd. I stalked the mascot for a good hour or so, but he kept mugging for the camera whenever he saw me. I wanted to capture him in a quiet moment, and finally I did.
A cotton candy vendor
Two young fans
A referee awaiting the game. The ref was ready for a serious portrait when a coach walked through the frame to tease him.
A twirler. Since I couldn’t go on the field to photograph the twirler during the game, I asked her to perform for an empty stadium afterward.
Photos and text by Jeff Wilson.