LR officials plan to watch tailgating at War Memorial more closely

Updated: October 20, 2003, 5:48 PM ET

LITTLE ROCK -- University of Arkansas football games at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock have become the sort of rowdy outdoor parties not seen in Fayetteville, where drinking alcohol is prohibited on campus.

But now Little Rock city officials are worried that the revelry that fills the surrounding park and golf course at War Memorial has become too much to handle.

"If we don't get it under control, something terrible is going to happen," Little Rock Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Day said. "We're looking at changing the rules and setting some things into place to get control of the situation."

When the Razorbacks hosted North Texas on Sept. 20, many fans started lining up to get on the park grounds about 12 hours before kickoff.

With about 20,000 fans tailgating beforehand, many of whom didn't even plan to see the game, city workers and police got more than they could handle.

A couch was set on fire, a motorist hit a police officer (he was not injured) and some fans tipped portable toilets, if they weren't charging a fee to others for their use.

So the city plans some new rules Nov. 6 when Arkansas hosts South Carolina, Day said. The game is on a Thursday night.

The park will be open for parking only eight hours before kickoff and restrictions on the size of tents will be imposed. Privately rented portable toilets and gas-powered generators will be prohibited.

Existing bans on kegs, bottles and open fires will be enforced.

"What we've done is, as a city, not enforced the alcohol issue," Day said. "It's one of the primary reasons people tailgate. We're going to leave it as status quo if people cooperate with us. But there is some underaged drinking going on and we watch for that."

Last week, the Arkansas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers launched a campaign to urge people attending football games to have a designated sober driver.

The group is using a dog, Dottie, a 6-pound Shih-Tzu, to remind people to enlist a trusted friend to do the driving.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index