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Cali Owings, Published March 18 2014

NDSU spring-breakers on South Padre Island will take a break to watch Bison in the Big Dance

FARGO – While some North Dakota State Bison fans are packing their bags for a last-minute trip to Spokane, Wash., to catch the men’s basketball team in the first round of the NCAA tournament, others have already made travel plans – to South Padre Island in Texas for spring break.

But there are no breaks when you’re a Bison fan. Some NDSU students plan to step away from sun and sand to watch the basketball team take on the Oklahoma Sooners on Thursday night in the Big Dance.

NDSU junior Sam Herder wants to round up all of the school’s South Padre spring-breakers to watch the game Thursday night. He estimated about 75 NDSU students are staying at the same hotel.

“It’s really nice timing. We get to watch the Bison play on national TV and watch them play with a big group of friends down in Texas,” he said.

Herder said March Madness was on his radar as his group reached Texas on Sunday.

“I think everybody here is really more of a big Bison football fan,” he said. “But we’re all aware of how big the game is gonna be Thursday.”

While the NDSU contingent on South Padre doesn’t have its game plan finalized yet, Herder said they’ve gathered to watch games during past spring breaks.

Herder and about 20 other students were in Panama City Beach, Fla., during last year’s Summit League championship. They gathered in a hotel room to watch the Bison fall to South Dakota State.

This time, Herder said students plan to find a local sports bar that will show the game and accommodate a large crowd.

Herder said the NDSU group is sharing the South Padre beach with some of the Bison’s biggest rivals, including Kansas State. Herder said they congregate on the beach around an NDSU flag about 10 feet high.

He said other students are noticing NDSU spring-breakers more because of the school’s athletic successes.

“People recognize our school now that we’ve gotten some more national exposure,” he said.

Parties for other fans

Spring-breakers aren’t the only Bison fans around the U.S. who plan to watch the game.

So far, 41 watch parties have been organized in cities throughout North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, Nebraska Missouri, Iowa and Colorado, according to the Alumni Association.

Fans in Fargo-Moorhead can join the herd for official watch parties at these local bars and restaurants:

  • North Fargo Buffalo Wild Wings, 1515 19th Ave. N.

  • South Fargo Buffalo Wild Wings, 1501 42nd St. W.

  • Chub’s Pub and Package Place, 421 N. University Drive, Fargo.

  • Divots at Edgewood 19 Golf Course Ave., Fargo.

  • Fargo Billiards and Gastropub, 3234 43rd St. S.

  • Spitfire Bar & Grill, 1660 13th Ave. E., West Fargo.

  • Moorhead Buffalo Wild Wings, 2201 2nd Ave. N.

    The Alumni Association is also hosting a pre-game party for fans who make the trek to Spokane, with entertainment provided by the NDSU Pep Band, Cheer Team, Yell Leaders and Bison mascot Thundar. NDSU President Dean Bresciani and athletic director Gene Taylor are scheduled to speak. Head coach Saul Phillips is also scheduled to appear at the party before tip-off.

    For more information: Visit www.ndsualumni.com/marchmadness for updated watch party information.

    Readers can reach Forum reporter Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599