BROOKINGS, SD -
Regardless of the final score of Saturday's big football game between the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State, the economy of Brookings will ultimately be the big winner.
The gridiron rivalry that's being renewed after nine years is expected to generate at least a half-million dollars in sales.
Brookings businesses are hoping for, at least, a repeat of the Hobo Day homecoming crowds of two weekends ago. But this time, there will be thousands of customers from Vermillion in town spending their money.
The ovens at George's Pizza have been fired-up for days in anticipation of the USD-SDSU football game.
"We haven't done this in nine years, so we'll see what happens," George's Pizza General Manager Thomas Knutson said.
George's will have 200 pizzas stockpiled to serve by the slice come Saturday.
"It takes a few days, we freeze a few of them and then we unthaw them and get them ready to go out the windows," Knutson said.
Next door at the Brownstone Restaurant, the only game day uncertainty is just how packed they'll be Saturday.
"It's either going to be busy or it's going to be frighteningly busy," Brownstone Restaurant Owner Brennan Sullivan said.
And nobody's getting the day off.
"It's all hands on deck on Saturday afternoon and evening so we'll be fine," Sullivan said.
Fans attending the game have their budgets planned out, revealing their school spirit with every dollar they spend.
"I suppose we'll get some SDSU apparel and some stuffed Coyotes we can throw out on the field," SDSU fan Rick Stevens said, laughing.
The Chamber of Commerce estimates the average football fan will spend at least $60 for game day. But some businesses think that's low balling it. They're poised to cash in regardless of their customers' team loyalties.
George's Pizza says the only lull they'll see Saturday is during the actual game. That's when the staff will be able to catch their breath, fire up the ovens again, and get ready for the post-game crowd.
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