Ron and Janel Paupst are the rarest of birds. They are North Dakota State football fans who live in Grand Forks, N.D., which must be a little like being a ribeye in a vegan restaurant. Some things just aren't supposed to be.
Yet there the husband and wife sat Wednesday, Jan. 8, decked out in green and yellow at Tight Ends Sports Bar & Grill in Frisco, each with a glass of beer and a tumbler of ice water set in front of them on the high-top table.
"We're the first ones here," said Ron. "We should get a free drink or something."
The Paupsts were, indeed, the only people in the bar wearing Bison gear. The rest of the nice weekday afternoon crowd at Tight Ends were locals.
That will change. Tight Ends and other Frisco and Plano bars are the preferred habitat of Bison fans who travel to north Texas for Football Championship Subdivision title games involving NDSU. There is another scheduled Saturday, when the Bison play James Madison at Toyota Stadium for the national championship.
Bison fans have acquired the deserved reputation around these parts for enjoying beer and other alcoholic beverages in copious amounts. That started in January 2012, NDSU's first trip to Frisco, when they drank a pep rally out of beer, sending organizers scrambling to find more.
Local bar owners don't mind, and in NDSU's seven previous trips here, it seems nobody else does, either. Local officials in Frisco and Plano said despite Bison fans' penchant for partying, they are well-behaved and don't cause much trouble.
"By and large, most of the fans that come for the FCS championship are here to celebrate their team and what it has accomplished," Frisco Police Department Sgt. Evan Mattei said. "They are here to have fun, but everybody is pretty respectful and not looking to cause trouble."
The data backs up Mattei's words, according to arrest reports acquired by The Forum through an open-records request.
In an attempt to put numbers to the anecdotes about Bison fans behaving well on their trips to Frisco, The Forum obtained arrest records from the Frisco and Plano police departments from Thursday to Saturday of championship week when NDSU qualified for the title game.
The facts show Bison truly don't cause much trouble in Texas despite their partying.
In Plano, only six people who could be identified as likely Bison fans through personal information available in police reports were arrested during championship weeks in NDSU's seven previous trips to the FCS title game. All the arrests were for public intoxication.
In Frisco, 12 people identified as likely Bison fans were arrested. Eleven arrests were for public intoxication, one was for theft of service of less than $20.
The arrests were a small percentage of the total for the two cities. There were 563 arrests (396 in Plano, 167 in Frisco) on the days covered by the reports. Most people arrested were from Frisco, Plano or nearby suburbs like McKinney and Garland.
"Personally, I think it's a little surprising there's been so few incidents given the number of fans who come down for the game," Mattei said. "But at the same time, that's indicative of a particular fan base and the understanding law enforcement has with everybody who is visiting the city. We know why you're here and we want to make sure you have the best and safest experience possible."
Also interesting, given the thousands of fans who come to support NDSU with the intent of partying: There was not one drunk-driving arrest of a Bison fan in the seven years their school played in the championship game, according to police records.
"I think that's people making plans and being responsible," Mattei said.
Frisco mayor Jeff Cheney, not surprising given NDSU fans' economic impact, said Bison fans are welcome to the city — and welcome to have fun. He said Frisco's had very few, if any, problems with the Bison horde.
"Bison fans are the best," Cheney said. "We love them here in Frisco. They like to have fun, but they are so respectful in how they treat us. They are first class."
The Paupsts, of course, agree. Their trip to Frisco last year was their first and they hit all the usual Bison fan hot spots.
Troublemakers? Janel said they didn't see any.
"It was just people having fun. I don't remember seeing anybody out of control. Just people having a good time," she said.
The police statistics back her up. Bison fans really do behave themselves, for the most part, when they are partying hard in Texas.