With record high season ticket sales and anticipated attendance spikes for football at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium this fall, new guidelines to streamline pregame tailgate and increase parking opportunities for season ticket holders will bring new wrinkles to Bearkat home football games.

The No. 1 nationally-ranked Kats open their 2012 season this Saturday against the University of Incarnate Word. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

Beginning Saturday, Bearkat Alley will be consolidated in the west half of the north parking lot on the scoreboard end of Bowers Stadium.

The east half of the North parking lot will be reserved for chairback season ticket holders. Patrons with season parking passes labeled "N" (for North lot) will enter from Bearkat Blvd. on the north side of Bowers.

Season ticket holders with parking passes labeled "W" (for West lot) will parking the lot on the Press Box side of Bowers Stadium.

Patrons are asked to check their parking passes to be sure in which lot (N or W) their space is located. Signs and public safety officers will be on the street to help direct fans to the proper parking lot.

Participation in the Bearkat Alley tailgate is open to all recognized Sam Houston campus organizations and SHSU athletic corporate sponsors. For more information, campus entities may contact associate director of student activities Brandon Cooper at (936) 294-3465.

 Individuals or businesses interested in participation at Bearkat Alley tailgate as a Bearkat partner may contact athletic marketing associate J. R. Ohr at (936) 294-4132.

All participants are asked to adhere to SHSU official tailgate policies.

Outside entities wishing a more informal tailgate are asked to tailgate in the public parking areas located to the west of the intramural fields and adjacent to University Hotel and the library. These areas are designated as Lots P-5 and P-7. Please see the parking map at the top of this page for more information.

As a special treat for Saturday's season opener, a special "Bearkat Family Weekend" Classic Car show will be open in the south side of Lot P-7. Fans are encouraged to attend as part of the festive tailgate experience.

Several upgrades have been made to the Bowers Stadium facility during the summer. The most obvious is the addition of new, wider Orange chairback seats. The seats are 22 inches wide. Only 26 season locations remain as game week begins.

Season tickets for Sam Houston State University football are on sale now online at www.gobearkats.com/tickets or at the SHSU athletic ticket office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House in the south end zone of Bowers Stadium.

Season ticket holders not only will assure themselves of the best seats in the house at Bowers Stadium but also at the "Battle of the Piney Woods" with SFA at Reliant Stadium. Season ticket purchasers also will have first priority for tickets to home NCAA playoff post-season contests at Bowers and first option for seats at road games at Baylor, Texas A&M and with Texas Southern at Dynamo Stadium this year.

Other improvements to the stadium include 2011 championship banners on the outside, new graphics on the scoreboard and a power washing of the stadium. It's been a busy summer for the staff at the home of Bearkat football.

Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance either on line or at the ticket office to avoid lines on game day. Sam Houston State students can pick up tickets for west side on mall Tuesday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

Otherwise students who come on game day must present an active Bearkat OneCard and enter at the northeast corner of the stadium by the scoreboard.

Saturday's game represents the climax of  "Bearkat Family Weekend". Activities during the game will include the third annual Hillcrest Heroes halftime presentation honoring Walker County area military, law enforcement and emergency service personnel.

Boy Scouts of America and Pop Warner football members will be attending and will be part of the game presentation elements.

The Sam Houston athletic ticket office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Monday through Friday. The ticket office telephone number is (936) 294-1729.