Sep 252005
 
Authors: Skylar Rick

The aroma of hot dogs, burgers and bratwurst fill the air as cars crowd the parking lots before the first home football game of the season.

Students, alumni and fans set up outside Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium ready to cheer on their team, breaking out their grills and coolers and, of course, footballs.

Where to some "pre-gaming" means warming up their own football skills before marching into the stadium to watch the collegiate professionals, to the larger majority of football-going fans, the term is used in the context of drinking alcohol before the game starts.

This year, the stadium has resumed selling beer inside the stadium with the conditions of enforcing new tailgating restrictions, the most prominent of which is the wrist banding of everyone planning on consuming alcohol.

While not everyone agrees with complying these new restrictions, Officer Bob Rabson of the Loveland Police said this is much better than not having any alcohol at all, like last year.

"This is better for students and alumni because last year we had people getting loaded up before the games," Rabson said. "We had people carrying their friends into the stadium because they couldn't walk in on their own, so that wasn't working. We hope this year there will be drinking in a more responsible manner."

One of his fellow officers from Loveland agreed with him, adding that it's a perfect example of child psychology.

"It's like a kid with candy – if you take it away from them, they are only going to want it more," said Loveland Officer Bob Shaffer .

This year, tailgaters will in fact find more police officers roaming the lot to enforce the new safety measures.

"There were 10 teams of two officers each plus horse patrol," Rabson said.

In addition to this, officers were also walking around wrist-banding fans who had yet to comply.

"Since it was the first game, we encouraged people to follow the rules. (When we saw someone drinking) we saw if they were old enough to drink and gave them a wristband if they were," Rabson said. "If they were not, then we confiscated their beer and gave them an underage ticket."

Officers were also giving out wristbands to help cut down the lines.

"We had officers in the ID check points and Larimer (County Police) in the middle so people didn't have to wait for more than five to seven minutes for a wristband," said Rafael Sanchez, Sheriff's Deputy for Larimer County .

Despite these attempts to make it easier for fans to get wristbands, there were some who still had a difficult time.

"[ID checkers] took their time with it; they didn't hurry. I got here way early, but I was still in like for 20 minutes before I found an open one," said Erik Helen , sophomore open option major.

The length of the wait also bothered senior engineering major Lisa Smith , who felt the distribution of the wristbands could have been handled better.

"They should [wristband] at the gate as people drive in, going to find a place is ridiculous," Smith said.

Not only were fans upset about the length of time it took to get a wristband, there were some who felt like it didn't accomplish its purpose.

"I don't think they're effective. All you have to do is watch for the cops or put [the alcohol] in a water bottle," said Daniel Frank, senior economics major . "Or, they could have someone who is 21 cut off their wristband, give it to you, and go get another one."

Frank wasn't the only fan who felt the new measures to prevent underage drinking were unsuccessful.

"It is not going to stop anyone from getting drunk, in fact, we haven't been checked once," said Andy Palmasano, junior health and exercise science major . "Anyone could put on any yellow band and be fine."

Despite some anger from the fans, those working in the ID booths found no open defiance.

"(Fans) have handled this very well and have been really friendly," said Shelly Torimaru , ID booth operator and Sodexho employee. "Parents and alumni laugh when we ask for their ID; I haven't had one negative comment."

There were some fans who did not have negative feelings toward these new restrictions, like senior interior design major Amber Boberick .

"It keeps the little 'minions' from getting into trouble, and all my friends are the right age, so as long as its organized, (I think) its okay," Boberick said.

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