LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - McNeese Cowboy fans hit the tailgate lots early Saturday morning in preparation for their season opener against their legendary rivals - the Lamar University Cardinals.
Saturday's game was the first time the Cowboys had played the Cardinals since Lamar lost their football program back in 1989.
Both McNeese and Lamar officials said the football teams were huge rivals back in the day, and they are excited to bring the excitement back.
"When you're only separated by 60 or so miles, it really adds to the excitement not only from recruiting and a competition stand point but from a fan base," said Tommy McClelland, Athletic Director for McNeese.
McNeese fans lined the lots on their tailgates in preparation for a rival opponent they had not played in more than two decades.
"It's been a good long time since Lamar has had a football team and we're looking forward to renewing the rivalry," said McNeese fan Timothy Rye.
Lamar fans also joined in the tailgate party as they prepared to cheer on the Cardinals in their first football game in 21 years.
"This year might be just a little 'feeling out process,' but give us a couple years we'll start stirring your pot," said Lamar fan Lee Potter.
Lamar fans said they are thrilled to be able to travel to Lake Charles once again for Lamar football.
"It couldn't' have been a better opponent for the first game," said Potter. "If we score a touch down we'll be thrilled."
The last game McNeese played against Lamar in 1989, the Cardinals beat the Cowboys 22 to 17.