Ram Stadium – Shepherd Rams
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
Ram Stadium WV-480 Shepherdstown, WV 25443
Year Opened: 1959
On the Banks of the Potomac
Ram Stadium, home of the Shepherd Rams, is located just off the Potomac River in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, just across the river from Maryland. The Potomac winds lazily south and east toward Washington, D.C. to empty sedately into the Chesapeake Bay. The stadium was built in 1959 and holds 5,000 fans, and was renovated most recently in 2000. The main stands and main press box are located on the west side, with a smaller grandstand and a secondary press box on the east side. The Kenneth J. Boone Field House is behind the south end zone.
Food & Beverage 5
Phenomenal concessions options can be found at Ram Stadium – behind the west stands is an area called Coach Walter Barr Plaza you can find myriad food trucks, as well as the main concession stand. The food trucks offer such varied options as burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, pulled pork, brisket, tacos, frozen lemonade, and even Mediterranean options from the Taste of Greece truck, while the main stand offers Chick-fil-A sandwiches, pizza rolls, pretzels, candy bars, and other items.
The lines at the main stand tend to be a little longer, as the prices are a little lower at the main stand compared to the food trucks, and some of the food trucks only take cash – but the lines at the main stand tend to move fairly quickly as they work in pairs (one person takes your money while another grabs your items). I recommend the chicken Philly from one of the food trucks or the pizza roll from the main stand.
The atmosphere is jumping at Ram Stadium, especially given how well the Rams are playing of late – the team consistently ranks in the Top 25 of the NCAA’s D2, and currently sits atop the East division of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), of which Shepherd is the only member not located in the state of PA.
The Rams boast the requisite dance team, cheerleaders, and mascot, who is handed a flag from the student section before the game so he can cheer on the team. The band also performs before the game and during halftime, including most prominently forming their signature ‘S’ for Shepherd University.
But more impressively there is also a great tailgating atmosphere outside the stadium, as well as inside the stadium itself – there is a large covered section on the east side of the field, where fans who buy special tickets can tailgate during the game as they cheer on their Rams. That section is overflowing with fans, and you can smell the great food as you walk by (btw – alcohol is allowed in that section, but not in the rest of the stadium).
The only thing lacking at Ram Stadium is they don’t currently have a video board – at present, there is just a static scoreboard (meaning you can’t watch replays) at the top of the field house behind the south end zone.
Ram Stadium is in a scenic location, with lots of trees and greenery serving as the backdrop for the stadium. Shepherdstown, WV is a very small town (population under 2,000 as of 2019), but there is a lot to do just across the river in Sharpsburg, MD. Located about 3 miles from the stadium down Duke St/Highway 34, Sharpsburg is most well known as the location of the Antietam Civil War Battlefield, so there is plenty there to satisfy history buffs or tourists. Sharpsburg also boasts Captain Bender’s Tavern, which sponsors the Rams and offers seafood dishes, paninis, and other sandwiches, as well as draught, canned, or bottled beer and ale, along with specialty cocktails.
Another site worth checking out on the Shepherd side of the river, and a great lodging option if you are staying overnight, is the Bavarian Inn, Resort, & Brewery – this quaint hotel has a bed-and-breakfast feel and offers fine dining and Alpine-style lodging overlooking the river, as well as a Bavarian-style-brewery on site.
One last option to consider, about 20 minutes south of Shepherdstown, is Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, which boasts John Brown’s Fort, scenic hiking trails, and railroad bridges connecting West Virginia to Maryland and Virginia. The national historic park in Harpers Ferry offers a lot to do if you plan to be in the area for the day or the weekend. Note – your best option when visiting is to park at the main visitor’s center and ride one of the shuttle buses, which constantly go between the visitor’s center and lower town, where the fort and most of the attractions are located.
The fans at Shepherd Football games are top-notch – the main stands are fairly full, as is the covered tailgating section on the east side, and many of those attending sport Rams gear. The fans cheer loudly throughout the game, and there is a lot of energy in the stadium. Some fans can even be seen watching from the sidewalk along Duke St/Highway 34 (which technically is not inside the stadium so you could watch there for free if you want).
While most fans buy their team gear at the Shepherd University bookstore, there is a small trailer in Barr Plaza which sells Rams shirts, hats, and stuffed animals, if you need to grab a souvenir while at the game.
Ram Stadium is easy to get to, and easy to get around – you can’t miss the stadium as you drive up using Duke St/Highway 34; it is easily visible. There is a parking entrance along Duke St/Highway 34 (on the east side of the facility, turn onto King St), but if you miss that one there is a second one after you pass by the stadium (turn onto High St and follow it around). Parking is free in these parking areas, just make sure you get there early as they will fill up for certain games.
Once you get to the stadium, there are entrances on both the east and west sides – there is a walking path around the stadium, as well as a pedestrian tunnel under Duke St/Highway 34 which connects to downtown Shepherdstown and the rest of Shepherd’s campus. The entrance for the east stands is in the southwest corner, while the entrance for the west side is in the northwest corner – both of those locations sell tickets, or you can buy them online beforehand.
There is one large men’s bathroom and one large women’s bathroom under the press box on the east side – these bathrooms are so wide they have entrances on opposite sides, making it easy to get in and out.
Unfortunately, the east side only has port-a-johns, but you are welcome to walk around the venue at any time if you want to take advantage of the better option.
Return on Investment 5
Admission is only $15 to football games at Ram Stadium, which is a great deal to see college football at this level, especially a ranked program like Shepherd which is most likely to bring home a win during your visit. The stadium is also a great venue to watch from, with multiple different viewing options for fans, and the great energy from the Rams home crowd. Parking is also free, and the concessions options are in line with other similarly sized venues.
A plus for the police siren which goes off at the beginning and end of each quarter, and another plus for the local rock and brick wall and décor behind the north end zone. Also, a double plus for the opportunity to tailgate – complete with grilling, food, and alcohol end – inside the stadium; there aren’t many stadiums you can do this at, although it is becoming more of a trend at D2 and D3 stadiums around the country. That is probably the best way to watch a game, so take advantage of this option if you can.
A final plus for what the Rams call the 5th quarter – after the game (after the home and visiting teams and officials leave the field), fans are allowed to come onto the field to wait for players and get autographs, or just run around on the field and spend time with family and friends. This is another rarity in college football that is becoming more common, but a fun add-on that you can partake in while at Ram Stadium.
If you have a chance to visit Shepherdstown and take in a game at Ram Stadium, I would encourage you to do so. You are guaranteed to have a great time!