Cowboys Extreme Camp: The Best Ever

STILLWATER – Gary Humphreys stood on the sidelines Sunday morning in the Sherman Smith Center watching the Oklahoma State Cowboys go through a two-hour, 15-minute practice. He had his eyes primarily on offensive right tackle, big number 60, Zach Crabtree.

"Zach's a great kid and I've known him since he was in the first grade playing peewee ball and watched him all the way through high school," Humphreys said smiling. "I've watched him really blossom here at Oklahoma State."

Joe Martin is a Stillwater resident and is the successful owner and operator of Stillwater Hospitality. He's around Oklahoma State football all of the time, sort of. Joe will tell you the three days of Extreme Camp that he is really around Cowboys football.

"When you live in Stillwater you see it from a distance still and this gives you a whole new appreciation for what the program is all about and what the young men are like." Martin explained. "What I enjoy the most is getting to meet the players and see what their character is and that seems to raise every single year. At meal time they are relaxed and you get the best feel for what they are really like and learn about their backgrounds and their families. I really like that."

Adam Maris lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and his wife is a Razorback. He needs Extreme Camp to get his Cowboys mojo going. "I have to spend the whole year pumping that orange around her and getting her excited about the Cowboys," Maris laughed.

Humphreys was a rookie this season for Extreme Camp and he picked a great season for it, while Martin and Maris were both in their third year as Extreme Campers. Humphreys said he will be back to greet the rookies next season and Martin and Maris will work on year number four.

This year's Extreme Camp, which has been around six years, was situated a little later than it has been so the near 100 campers that pay $1,500 to truly be inside Cowboy football were able to attend three practices in at least helmets and shoulder pads and on Saturday saw the first practice in full pads.

"I was thinking about it last night and it feels (this weekend) like somebody took an IV and put it in my arm and is pumping in orange Oklahoma State football fluid," Humphreys said. "If you aren't jacked up about Oklahoma State football after this then you just aren't a football fan."

Campers get to watch practice anywhere on the sidelines or surrounding areas. They are invited to attend any team meetings, group meetings or position meetings they want from the quarterbacks to the linebackers to the kickers.

The Extreme Campers get to hear scouting reports from head coach Mike Gundy and all the coaches. They have a meet and greet with the freshmen, eat all their meals at the training table with the players and coaches, hear from guest speakers like Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff.

This year for the first time ever, the campers got a special treat as one of the evening socials with the coaching staff was held at head coach Mike Gundy's home.

"Going to coach Gundy's house was incredible," Maris said. "It's like a Bass Pro and Cabellas rolled into one. It is unbelievable and his opening up his home to us is such a tremendous gesture."

"Going to the meetings, the position meetings and listening to the coaches kind of dissect the kids practice effort is really interesting," Humphreys added. "Then going to coach Gundy's house, that's not a house, it's a compound. It is the nicest place that I've ever been."

It is one of the best opportunities that any fans in college football have to truly be on the inside and get close and personal with their favorite team. In fact, another perk of the camp, along with a lot of clothing and specials prizes like road trips with the team and autographed helmets, is the privilege to go to practice on occasion during the season as long as they call in advance.

"I feel pretty fortunate compared to some of these guys that live in Texas and other places," Martin added. "I usually come by and watch practice two or three times a season. I always think I'll do it more and then I'll get busy with work, but it is fun to be able to do when I can."

I can tell you from spending time with the campers again this year that there weren't any that were disappointed. In fact, the majority of veteran campers said the 2015 camp was the best ever.

"Johnny Barr (recruiting coordinator that heads up Extreme Camp) does a great job of organizing, scheduling all this and keeping it on schedule and you're always informed about what is going on," added Humphreys. "You've been on events like this that are disorganized and it keeps it from being as fun. These three days are smooth and it makes it that much better."

They were taking reservations for next August as the camp broke up Sunday. If you are interested in signing up for 2016 then you can email Sharla Curtis at sharla.curtis@okstate.edu.


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