The University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss as the locals call the school, has a tailgating tradition that is known throughout the college sports landscape. The cardinal red and navy blue-clad Rebels are based in Oxford, Mississippi, and since 2018 they have been cheered on from the sidelines by their new mascot Tony the Landshark. He replaced Colonel Reb and Rebel Black Bear in the role as the Rebels main cheerleader on game day.
A major sport in Oxford, as in most schools in the southern portion of the country, is football. The Rebels are a traditional power, having won three national championships in the sport in the late 50s and early 60s. The University of Mississippi also has a strong tradition in women's basketball, and in recent years, the Rebel's softball program has been a fixture in the NCAA Tournament.
Ole Miss is a school where tailgating sometimes matters more than the sport being played on the field or court. It is a place to enjoy the company of other fans, and as such the town of Oxford tends to be friendly and forward-thinking when it comes to RV access and tailgating fun. Pick a rivalry weekend, such as the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State University, to truly see what Mississippi football is all about.
Tickets for all Ole Miss sports are best sourced through the university ticket office. Many of the game day tickets, especially for football and men's basketball, are taken by department donors, season ticket holders, and students. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (football) is a 64,000+ capacity facility, so there are usually plenty of tickets available unless the Rebels are having an exceptionally good year. Tickets for the Egg Bowl against in-state rivals Mississippi State are always the most sought after each season.
If you get the RV close to the stadium on game day it is important to note that traffic patterns leaving the game are very different. Starting in the second half of the game, most streets around campus become one-way only to push vehicles to city streets and highways more efficiently. This is something to be aware of if you have to leave Ole Miss quickly at the end of a game.
On-campus RV parking closest to the stadium is available with a season pass and to department donors. There are other sites in and around campus that are RV friendly, including the Ole Miss Intramural fields that are located about a mile and a half from the football stadium. These lots vary in terms of hookups available and when you can arrive, with most allowing a Friday through Sunday experience.
Ole Miss game day shuttles are available, and they are either free or a small fee depending on distance traveled. Shuttles run from five hours before the game to two hours after and there are a number of pick-up and drop off locations on campus. There are also bike share hub locations around the Ole Miss campus for those that want to work off some of that tailgating food on their way to the game.
When staying onsite, make sure than you have all the correct permits for the lot you choose. Those on campus will be able to access their season-long stall on Thursday evenings. Be prepared to wait a bit to get into the spot in case a student is still parked in the stall. Be sure not to dump and wastewater, grease, or coals on Ole Miss property.
Campus Rec parking (based on a season pass or single game when available) starts at $1,300 for a season or around $300 per game for SEC clashes. This lot is open Friday until around noon on Sunday.
Those willing to stay a little further out may have less of a weekend-long tailgating experience but will get to see other sights and sounds of the region. Wall Doxey and John W. Kyle State Parks both offer great sports for RVers, especially those who have a way to get to the game from their camping spot. These are cheaper options that are ideal for lovers of the outdoors with their hiking and water amenities.
If you are on campus, then the best way to get around is to walk. This will give an ideal look at everything that the beautiful Ole Miss campus has to offer and it will put you right in the middle of the tailgating fun. There are shuttles available around campus to help with local trips. Rebels fans staying offsite may want to get a taxi or a ride share service to get into the thick of the fun on game day, or consider taking a tow vehicle or smaller campervan to campus for the day.
Don as much red and navy blue as possible for the best game day experience no matter which sport you are supporting. In the summer and early fall, look for a t-shirt or a polo (game day attire lends to a classy, casual style), while games in late October and November should see a transition to long-sleeved gear. A hoodie might be needed for late fall outdoor games and tailgates. Warm clothing certainly is preferred for the walk from the RV for basketball throughout the winter, but cold in Oxford is mild compared to much of the nation.
Pack anything and everything Ole Miss related to show your support and bond with your RV neighbors. The avoidance of anything maroon and white around your stall would be ideal, as those are the colors of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Finding Ole Miss gear in Oxford is easy enough, so get creative with what you bring to the tailgate. Maybe Ole Miss branded cooking tools are the way to go here to show true loyalty to the program!
Hydration has to be the first concern both at the game and the tailgating event. This is especially true in August and September when the temperature (and the humidity) in Oxford is at its peak. Sunscreen is also a must at this time of year, and a ball cap will go a long way to preventing burns on the scalp. Make sure you know of any special conditions, such as a ban on open flames, for all locations on your route.
Cooking in the RV is always easier if you plan ahead. Since food and tailgating go hand in hand, you might enjoy involving your fellow tailgate fans in the preparations that day, but have your items lined up and ready to put your buddies to work if so. Make sure to bring a grill and whatever your choice of meat and treats includes.
Food for the other days can be prepared in advance to help with eating on the road to and from Ole Miss Stadium. Freezing meals that can be cooked quickly is always a great option, as one of the best parts of an RV weekend is never knowing exactly what is going to happen next!
Oxford is a distinctly Southern city, so working up an appetite at the game will pay dividends when looking for some hearty cooking later in the day. As one of the best small towns in America, according to locals, Oxford is loaded with food options. Look for Southern, Creole, and Cajun restaurants for an authentic taste of the town's flavor.
The concession stands at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium do brisk business during an Ole Miss game. There are many options available, with the food choices having increased in the last few years. Try a made-to-order burger, a wood-fired pizza, or a grab-and-go sandwich for something a little different to the usual stadium fare.
Bags will be checked when fans enter any Ole Miss sporting event. The lines are longest for football games, and taking a clear bag or clutch for your needed items is the only way to bring them into the stadium. Expect security to be tight, but not overbearing, as you watch the game.
Cold weather is rare in Oxford, but it can be cool at the beginning of baseball and softball season, so check the weather to see just how to prepare. Football season starts off hot before cooling down near the end, so make sure the RV has plenty of layering options for those final few games of the season to defeat anything the weather throws at you.
Items in the RV medical kit should be able to take care of aches, pains, cuts, and bruises before heading to the game. Make sure that any pain relief drugs haven't expired, especially if it has been some time since the kit was used. At the stadium, there are three first-aid stations and numerous emergency personnel to take care of incidents, both large and small.