Jenna Brooks

Blast from the Stands: Camp Fargo


“What’s Camp Fargo?”

If I stood in front of a group of freshmen and even sophomores, there might not be a soul in the room that could answer that question. Camp Fargo is dying. But the question is: why?

So for those of us that would be sitting in that room, what exactly is Camp Fargo? It began back in 2013 before the Pac-12 Championship game against Stanford. It lasted five whole days with nearly 1,000 students turning out to get their wristbands for the game. They brought tents, sleeping bags, DJ tables and even a live pig, lined up around Wells Fargo Arena and waited, freezing and jubilant, for Saturday morning. Todd Graham and the players dropped by during the week, and reporters were granted interviews in exchange for Starbucks.

That being said, Camp Fargo’s glory days happened before I was even a student. By the time I spent my first night outside Wells Fargo Arena, the process had already been regulated to two nights and was run by the 942 Crew. All of what I knew about the event was from legend.

My first experience with Camp Fargo was for the Territorial Cup in 2015, my freshman year. I was one of the two girls tasked with obtaining the permits for my group, and I did not know what I was in for. There were at least a hundred students roaming around campus, waiting for the 4 p.m. tweet that would reveal the distribution location. We all must have looked pretty silly. I remember pacing around the MU Starbucks, watching a few scattered people take off running in different directions and debating whether to follow them.

When the tweet finally went out, there was a literal stampede towards the PE West building. I’m pretty sure one of the upperclassmen that we had met up with was holding my hand the whole time so I wouldn’t get left behind. After it was all over, I ended up with a permit somewhere in the 180 range and a nice set of shin splints.

I didn’t sleep at all. I only stayed at the campsite one night, and we didn’t have a tent. I ended up trying to sleep on my upperclassmen friends’ air mattress but putting four people on a bag of air made for two didn’t end well for anyone. So eventually my roommate and I settled to sit out in the 30-degree dry air and count down the seconds until the sun rose.

It was pretty fun, despite the cold. The horn of the lightrail still reminds me of that game, and I don’t think anything says college more than hanging outside the basketball arena at midnight, listening to music way too loud and watching strangers start up a game of football on the grass.

Granted, that game was the perfect storm. I think that was the biggest Camp Fargo to date, besides the original. It was the Territorial Cup and it wasn’t over Thanksgiving break so EVERYONE went. Most students had at least heard of the event and wanted to get in on it for the game of games.

There were about 300 permits, and aside from the free food and player visits, it lived up to my expectations. But I didn’t get a chance to attend any other game that year or the following year. So needless to say, I was a little surprised when we came to camp for Oregon this year and there were about 40 people total, and maybe 15 (including us) were not directly associated with the 942 Crew. It was a lot calmer, but definitely not quieter. I still woke up at 4 a.m. to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (and this was on September 23, mind you). Definitely still worth it. We ended up with much better seats because we were permit four instead of 184.

On a whim we decided to camp this week for Colorado again, since it ended up only being one night instead of two. This time there were even less students. (I do wonder if there were more students for Washington and USC). What I don’t know is how many permits were standard for the last two years, and if this attendance is significantly down from years prior.

What really surprised me, though, is how little publicity it gets and how few people even know it exists. Most of my friends my age wanted to know why I felt the need to camp if our tickets were now online, and anyone I talked to who was a freshman stared at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

For now, Camp Fargo remains a “you gotta know to know” thing. The 942 Crew simply tweets once a week to let us know the permit pickup location, and there’s information on the Athletic Department’s website about where and when to be for camp checks.

The first time we went, it was just my roommate and I. We were up to six people, the max for one permit, for Colorado. We will definitely be braving the cold again for U of A, and I will be interested to see how big this one ends up being.

So why is Camp Fargo dying? Well, considering it was created for a huge game, it’s probably dying for the same reason that the Double Inferno is never full. ASU isn’t as good. A regular, conference home game against Colorado doesn’t exactly have the same weight as the PAC-12 Championship game.

But I still think we’d end up with a bigger turnout if it was publicized. I’ve personally met probably a dozen people who would camp if they’d known. So here’s a start.

Camp Fargo’s still here. It’s pretty dang fun. There’s also only one more home game, one more chance to camp this year, and it’s THAT game. So come on out and freeze with us.

About Jenna Brooks

Jenna Brooks

Jenna Brooks is an ASU junior studying Secondary English Education and is a student in Barrett, the Honors College on the Tempe campus. She is from Ladera Ranch, California and grew up in a family of Sun Devils. On campus, she is involved with the ASU Dancing Devils, the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Council, Hope Church, and is a staff member at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex. She’s passionate about ASU football and is excited to be contributing to the Devils Den.

Recommended for you

You must be logged in to post a comment Login