STILLWATER — As about two dozen Oklahoma State fans limboed under a football upright in the Wendy’s parking lot late last Saturday night, two OSU students half a mile away initiated a stealthier type of party.
A search and rescue party.
The idea started with a text. It ended with Noah Campbell and Griffin Singleton reclaiming possession of a massive Bedlam trophy from the murky, nauseating and ice-cold waters of Theta Pond.
“I looked at Griff,” Campbell said before jumping in shirtless. “If we find it, it would be worth it.”
It, of course, was the lost upright that thousands of frenzied OSU fans had torn down from the east end zone at Boone Pickens Stadium, carried half a mile to the north side of Theta Pond and dumped in the water to celebrate OSU’s 27-24 win against Oklahoma in the last scheduled Bedlam.
With OU departing for the SEC, the uprights represent a tangible reminder of OSU’s victory over Oklahoma — a game-used trophy that fans tore down in primal celebration. So who was with the two uprights last, and where did they ultimately end up?
The upright that stayed intact
One upright quickly resurfaced. It lived a short, glorious life in fans’ possession. Onlookers floated it to the south side of Theta Pond and carried it down University Street toward OSU’s bar scene. Blake Bryant, who graduated from OSU last year, was part of the team.
“I see it start going down University towards Sigma Nu (fraternity house) and toward the Strip,” Bryant said. “I thought, ‘I’m going to go follow that. Because why not?’”
Bryant and about 20 others paraded the hollow yellow pole, estimated to be 30-35 feet, past Alpha Gamma Rho’s fraternity house and the bars. Anyone grabbing a bite or drinking at JR Murphys, the Curty Shack or The Union would have caught a glimpse. They headed east along West 6th Avenue, picking up helping when bystanders joined in.
“Then we got to Wendy’s,” Bryant said. “Me and a couple other guys started chanting ‘Drive-thru, drive-thru, drive-thru.’ So we turned into the Wendy’s drive-thru. There’s some guy ordering ahead of us. There was a car behind us which eventually pulled out and didn’t even order. We literally had a limbo contest right there. We were going crazy.”
The person behind Bryant on the pole tried to order 100 4 for $4 meal deals. Wendy’s passed on service. Restaurant workers probably didn’t want to make 100 cheeseburgers, fries, chicken nuggets and drinks, Bryant reasoned. The fans probably didn’t want to pay $400 either. The parade moved on.
The fans carried it back down the strip, made sure to dodge lights and power poles while standing it up at Coney Island and eventually decided on an end goal: cut it into pieces at the Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering Lab, a building across the street from the Colvin Recreation Center.
That was the beginning of the end.
Bryant and another student went into the lab to get a plan together and go to the bathroom. The post-bearers waited outside. When Bryant re-emerged, he saw two police cars.
The goal post spent some time at OSU’s campus police station. Police said it was turned over to OSU athletics on Tuesday. It was in the bowels of Boone Pickens Stadium by Wednesday morning.
An open records request revealed OSU spent $13,900 on a new goal post. The university is not considering pressing charges on students who stormed the field and moved the goal post, an official said, and a use for the goal post is still being sorted out.
The upright that will be spread across the state
That is why Singleton and Campbell, while conducting a search for the other goal post and the crossbar, prioritized being stealth about it. After about 15 minutes in the 10-foot-deep water and a false alarm when he kicked a PVC pipe, Campbell struck gold with his foot.
Campbell said it felt like he was searching for much longer than 15 minutes. Singleton attested Campbell’s neck-deep plunge was an uncomfortable one.
“There’s not enough money in this planet to get me back in that pond,” Singleton said. “I hopped in it last year as a joke. It was sickening. I burned my shirt that I was wearing. It was nasty.”
Together, with strangers’ help, the two friends pulled the other goal post out, cut it into two pieces with a chop saw and loaded it into Singleton’s Toyota Tundra. They lowered the passenger windows and loaded the posts horizontally. That was around 11 p.m. With Campbell in the back holding the pieces, Singleton sped to their fraternity house (which they asked to remain unspecified) a couple blocks away where they could go to work.
(Campbell, a sophomore civil engineering major from Tonkawa, said he grew up bleeding orange. His aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents all attended OSU.)
They set up in their fraternity’s shop. Campbell didn’t even change. They could not wait to make souvenirs for as many people as possible. The shed became Santa’s Stillwater headquarters.
“We cut it into small pieces,” Campbell said. “A lot of the (fraternity) guys wanted some. I wanted to be able to give one to all my family members for Christmas. It’s just so cool.
“We didn’t want to get mixed up in selling it. We didn’t know where that would fall.”
They estimated they cut it up into about 50 three-inch-tall discs. Many went to strangers. The National College Football Hall of Fame even requested a piece. Campbell happily obliged. And before you ask, they have given it all away.
The only part of the upright Campbell saved for himself is a two-foot piece from the top. He will cut most of it up and give it to his family members. He wants to display a piece for himself on a trophy mount with the score engraved.
“It was awesome,” Campbell said. “Memory I’ll have forever. Hopefully I can tell my kids one day. I just think it’s cool to have a piece of Oklahoma State history.”
That leaves only the crossbar unaccounted for. What happened to it? On Monday, Campbell answered an Instagram call from a stranger. The conversation was brief.
“Where did you find the goal post?”
“In the middle, kind of by the waterworks,” Campbell replied.
The stranger thanked him, hung up and excitedly called back an hour later, saying he’d found the crossbar. It means Theta Pond no longer houses any piece of OSU’s 2023 Bedlam win.
Fear of penalty has mostly passed. Campbell said he woke up Sunday morning with the faint thought he may go to jail.
“I was worried, but at the same time I didn’t help tear it down or throw it in the pond,” Campbell said. “If anything, I cleaned up Theta Pond.”