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Tales From The Parking Lot Archives

I'm a big fan of your site! I wanted to share a tradition a fellow tailgater and I began 3 years ago, we call it Super College Football Weekend! We pick a random college game each year that we have no ties to and just go up and experience the tradition that school has to offer. Penn State was our first stop last year we went to Georgia, this year we are going to LSU vs. S. Carolina. 4 guys made the first year, last year we had 6 and we are already up to 11 for this year. We go out on the town on Friday night and get up early to tailgate on gameday. from John S. in Jacksonville, Florida

I'm an Auburn alumni and tailgate under the shadows of Jordan-Hare stadium at every home game during the fall with the self proclaimed Auburn Stage Crew Alumni Association. For the 2005 Iron Bowl my father in-law and I rolled on to campus at 5:00 a.m. to get the grill started for the 12 whole chickens, 6lbs. of sausage and vat of brunswick stew we cooked for the 100 or so folks at our tailgate. The game was at 2:30 p.m. Needless to say we ran out of food. Fast forward to the 2006 Auburn Georgia game (The oldest rivalry in the South) and you have a recipe for a 4:00 a.m. grill start time - 18 whole chickens, 4lbs. of sausage and sides you wouldn't believe. Again feeding about 100 people. This year we dumped the 36" TV for a 10'x10' screen and projector to watch the other games while we eat, drink and be merry. We also had an addition to almost all of our tailgates this year, it was our 9 month old daughter's first Auburn/Georgia game, she only missed two games all season. While the outcome was not in our favor the tailgating was top notch. After 14 hours of being on campus it was time to head back to the house. We're already planning for next season. WAR EAGLE! from Nick in Atlanta, Ga.

Navy Homecoming vs Tulane 11/5/05. We contacted Joe Cahn and invited him to our TooInten(t)se Tailgate. We host several Navy Midshipmen and their families and all together have approx 100 people from several states attend. We had been trying for over 7 years to be the "Tailgate Winner" at a Navy home game. We set up our 2 tents, tables, decorations and grille and hoped that Joe would join us. Joe not only joined us for breakfast but also made it afterwards to enjoy pulled pork, smoked ribs, different chilis and a variety of sausages, kielbasas and home made desserts. The fellowship was even more special with our contingent of New Orleans natives who were able to share heartfelt stories with Joe and to strategize about the future. The tailgate tips, special gifts from Joe ( you know what they were ) and genuine good times, coupled with a Navy victory made the day special. Joe had a chance to meet some of our special Mids and to understand the bond we have as sponsors as these young men and women pledge to serve and protect our country. GO NAVY and thanks Joe for the best tailgate we could imagine!!!!!!! By the way, we did win the award after all!...Greg, Amy, John, Heidi and the TooInten(t)se Gang

I've been to other NFL stadiums for games and was very disappointed in their versions of tailgating; some didn't have any at all. I'm a Chiefs season ticket holder and am very proud to be thru the good times and bad. Tailgating is such an important part of the whole football game experience. The discussion of what to bring and what we're going to be cooking starts a week prior to the game. The head count goes from 10 to 12 to 25, and that's just the ones who let us know they're coming (we've had as many as 60 people at 1 time). We have to make sure the beer taps on the inside and outside of the bus are in good working order and that the satellite dish is hooked up, and make sure the air conditioning/heat is working properly—there are times when you want to be really comfortable. We leave our house at 7:30 am (for noon games) to pick up our passengers so we can be at Arrowhead when the gates open. We take our usual spot in parking lot D and the party begins.

What to do before the game? There's watching the pre-game shows on TV or listening to it on the radio, as well as listening to music blaring over our neighbor's stereo to get us more into the football mode. Did I mention countless appetizers? There are mini football games happening and most certainly a few washers games going on—if you're from St. Louis, you know what I'm talking about. Of course, during all of this you look around you and all you see is a haze all over from the grills and the fabulous smell from all of the different foods. There's so much laughter and camaraderie; everyone talks to each other and has a great time, whether you're for the Chiefs or not. Its fun to give the fans of the opposing teams a hard time, but its all in fun and the ones who come in from out of town return because they enjoyed the experience so much. There are people who come to each and every game, just for the tailgating; they don't even have tickets to the game!!!! Once the game is over, the tailgating starts all over again. Our day at Arrowhead ends around 4:30 pm.

I know each team's fans say their tailgating is the best, but Kansas City is incomparable. So if anyone gets the chance to come here to a game, please don't pass it up. You won't be sorry….Amy G. Lenexa, KS

I am an NIU alumni and make it back to DeKalb for at least 2 games a year since. Tailgating has always been great, even when we played poorly. But now that Coach Novak has got this program humming for the past 5 seasons, tailgating has solidified itself as a staple for NIU home games. Whether you're in the East lot with the Greeks, the South in the tents, the West with the Huskie boosters, or the far west with everyone else, NIU Huskie fans are pumped for home games. The tailgate parties are looking more and more elaborate every year. The fans are as generous with their beers and food as they are excited for the game. Don't forget those folks having a few cold ones at Molly's or any other local watering hole. Home games at NIU are great right now and we're really building a perfect college football environment for mid-majors to model themselves after. Heck, at least half of the Big 10 schools could learn a thing or 2 about tailgating and having fun when attending an NIU home game...from Sean in Willow Springs, IL

The best tailgating in the country, pro or not, is at the University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss. The Grove, the main tailgating spot, has been recognized by Sports Illustrated as the single best tailgating place in the country. Hundreds of large tents, some even with chandeliers hanging from the tops, fill The Grove under huge oak trees, except for marked off walkways. The party starts early, sometimes as early as 7am for 11am games. The male students, dressed in their finest coat and tie, have a "date" they bring to The Grove each game. The players walk through The Grove on The Walk of Champions two hours before gametime. But, the band playing has to be one of the most incredible sights. Thousands of people(around 10,000 or more for big games) crowd as close as possible around The Pride of the South for the playing of fight songs such as Dixie and From Dixie with Love. I've been on both sides, in the band and a fan. As a fan, seeing and hearing thousands of people sing the Alma Mater with the band and From Dixie with Love is bone-chilling. As a band member, having thousands of people yell after every note that you play is the experience of a lifetime. There is no tailgating experience that can half-way compare to being in the Grove on Saturday afternoons...from Jason W. in Jackson, Mississippi

Because of my current employment status, I am not fortunate enough to enjoy the many college tailgating extravaganzas going on across the great state of Oklahoma on Saturdays. However, a few years ago some of us thought, at least we could get into tailgating on Friday nights at the high school football games. We have many folks practically pleading for food and even serve the athletic director, principal, vice principal, and local cops almost every game. I noticed when basketball season started last year, a group gathered and started tailgating at those. Who would have imagined tailgating at a high school basketball game? Please keep in mind commissioner, I am not debasing the basketball tailgaters, just merely astounded. This year marked the third year for high school football tailgating for our group. We couldn't wait to arrive at the bare parking lot and setup our gear. What we saw when we entered the lot had shocked us. A camp of people in our tailgating spot, and they were tailgating. Now we have a few camps of people setup at each game. Never would have thought....from Bob G. in Oklahoma

I was handed the title to Da Bus, a tailgating icon in Soldier Field in Dec. 2002. Da Bus is a 1974 International 1700 series school bus that was won in a card game back in 1989. It soon was the most sought after tailgate party in the lot. 2003 was our first exciting season as owners of Da Bus. After extensive rehab, Da Bus was back in action. from Anne S. in Chicago

It was Tuesday in Oxford, MS and it was no ordinary Tuesday. On this particular weekend Ole Miss plays LSU for the SEC West Championship. RV's were already showing up to get a spot to park. The week was unbelievably enthusiastic around the small elegant town of Oxford, MS. No one could get the game off of their mind, not even the teachers. Every night of the week people were coming in flocks to see the game of the year. There were suppose to be more people in the small town than the town could hold. That didn't matter because if you didn't have a place to stay someone would be there to give you a couch or even their own bed to sleep in. That is the way people do things in the South. By the time Friday came you couldn't even go to the gas station because of the traffic. The grocery stores and the liquor stores were full from open to close. You could feel it in the air that this was not just a game, it was a way of life. People were waiting in their cars all night for the time that they could go claim their spot in the Grove. On this night it wasn't just Ole Miss fans it was LSU fans as well. If people aren't aware of the rivalry between the two schools just ask someone from LSU or Ole Miss. It is a traditional rivalry rich with memories and life long friends. This particular game it was Eli Mannings last home game as a REBEL. For those of you who don't understand the significance, it was an ending to an era or a legacy. Ole Miss and LSU fans have been talking about the Mannings way before Eli was born. On this day it was the youngest and last Manning to face off between these two schools at least for a while. With everyones heart pumping and chill bumps standing gameday was finally here. The party starts at 6:00 in the Grove, but for those of you that know it starts a week in advance. The tents were up and the food has been cooked, now it was time for the best tailgaiting in the world. Everyone gets there "toddy" and prepares for what is to be an exciting and memorable day. One that grandkids will know and grow up to understand. It is now time for the team to walk through the grove on what is known as the Walk of Champions. Thousands of people line this walk that goes straight through the heart of the Grove. Chants of ELI, ELI and Go To Hell LSU fill the air and everyone knows it's gametime. Then minutes after the team walks through the band sets up in front of the stage in the Grove and prepares their instruments for what is to be a chilling rendention of Ole Miss fight songs as well as "From Dixie With Love." When this is done it is officially time to go to the stadium. Chants from Ole Miss fans and LSU fans pave the way to the stadium. The game starts and people's hearts stop. The moment is finally here. GAMETIME!!! After the game the chants continue and the party does as well. This time it was LSU's turm to brag, but it is also Ole Miss' time to show their hospitality. Thousands stay in the Gove until after midnight or until tired or drunk. The party goes on and the tradition will always live between these two great schools. As they say in Oxford, "We May Not Win Every Game, But We Ain't Ever Lost A Party." HOTTY TODDY... from JP in Ridgeland, Mississippi

I am a huge BILLS fan and attend about half the games each year. I am a season ticket holder. I also have season tickets to the New England Patriots, since my brother lives about 10 minutes from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Several years ago, early 80's, we had a huge group to see the Pats and Raiders play at Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro. When we got to the game and began setting up the tailgate party...we were surprised to find out that my brother had left two coolers of food at his house, all we had was one pack of hot dogs for 15 people. Ever since then we have given an award, out to the new person in the group. It's called "The Silver Burger Award" and it's on my seats in Foxboro. Other tailgaters always amazed when we present the award, which is a burger (uncooked) wrapped in foil. Who knows who will receive the 2003 award?? If you're a Pats fan it could be you!!! GO BILLS!!!!

Northern Illinois University in DeKalb County may be small, but we know how to tailgate. Our 2nd annual pig roast was Oct 18, 2003. We had a disc jockey, the pig and approximately another $1000.00 worth of food. Which we needed since over 250 people turned out to tailgate with us and then watch our 12th ranked boys play. The pig was great, the DJj was great and the atmosphere was even better. A good time for all...Kelly of Sycamore, IL

I work for a company based out of Oklahoma that recently opened a center down here in Alabama. Several Auburn faithful joined our Oklahoma brethren last fall in Norman for a chance to cheer against the Crimson Tide. The folks in Oklahoma were extremely friendly and treated us to a spread of chicken and steak fajitas. They had the satellite set up so everyone could watch the under card (Miami-Florida) and there was beer a plenty. This year us Bama natives get to treat the Sooners to a tailgate party at Bryant-Denny. I hope we prove as impressive as the OU crowd was....from Stuart in Mobile, AL

At Youngstown State University we begin at 7am cooking the usual breakfast menus of eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, home fries and toast. As soon as we finish we begin the lunch menu with any thing from subs and pizza to deep fried turkeys and stuffed hot pepper with sausage or on cold fall days home made soups of all kinds. All of this is great but best part of tailgating is the socializing and fellowship. We especially enjoy hosting the opposing teams fans who have traveled to support their team. This year we had a great time with the fans from McNeese State. We are looking forward to our visit to their house in 2004. All who come to share our tailgate leave as friends....GO YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY PENGUINS!

I have to say that there's nothing like a beautiful Fall Saturday spent along the "banks of the Red Cedar" at Michigan State University. From the crazy student section to the more tame alumni area you just can't beat it!! The sounds, smells and sights are a thing to behold....from Kristen

I've attended 39 Buffett concerts and have been tailgating at Buffalo Bills games for 17 straight years. Have only missed 5 games in that time. 2 preseason games and a few others because I was stuck in a airport or something. I won't let anyone else buy the meat or cook it's got to be done right you know!!!. For Bills games we always cook the opponent (Dolphin steaks when we play Miami, this year I will season with a lot of Sage, he's their new backup QB, Sage Rosenfels, ironically the son of one of my sales reps, Lamb when we play the Rams, tenderloin of bear when we plan the Bears, tenderloin of colt when we play the Colts, tastes just like Beef., Cornish game hens when we play the Flacons, etc.). About twice a year I do a standing rib roast (prime rib) after getting to the parking lot early so it has lots of time to slow cook.

Buffett concerts usually include ..... a gross of clams, steamed and raw, tenderloin cooked perfectly on the Webber grill and Margaritas mixed to Jimmy's secret recipe (found in his Parrotheat handbook). By the way, the Western NY Parrothead Club is the 100th in the nation, I' m a founding member and the 1st treasurer (we've raised tons of money for Alzheimers, Make a Wish and other charities). After a few years of tailgating in the same place at Starlake Ampatheater (Blitzburg), regulars who park near by, expect us and are amazed at how fast we set up our "party" and start cooking. It's easy after lots of practice before Bills games and many Buffett concerts...Tom in Buffalo

I have been to a lot of tailgate parties. From Daytona 500 to Coca Cole 600 from Tampa Stadium to the Superdome. But I have never in my life ever experienced a time like I do everytime I go to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. I have been a Tiger fan all my life but the party that goes on there is unbelievable. Tailgating usually starts the day of the game, but not at LSU. They are out there on Thursday night for a Saturday game. They are friendly to everybody. As long as you are friendly back. I go to one LSU game and 2 tailgate parties each year...Jeffro in Tampa,Fl

The best tailgatin' I've seen is at the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR race in Charlotte, N.C.. I'm sure that half of the annual 150,000+ fans tailgate. We have seats in Turn 2 and park in the field behind the track. That's where the campgrounds are, (looks like the old pictures of Woodstock) there' nothing but tents as far as you can see. And those people know how to have a good time.

If you want a good spot, get there early (7:30 a.m.). The race starts at 6:00 p.m., so you have lots of time to relax and cook up some outrageous food and slug a few libations. And the fans are the best. I think NASCAR fans get a bad rap. They're not all "good ol' boy beer guzzlers". I'ts always different and we always have a great time.

So if you like NASCAR, you've got to try the Coca Cola 600. And the best part is, it's on Memorial Day weekend, so you'll have an extra day off work to recover...from Dino, a tailgater from Miami, Florida.

I am, and always have been an Ole Miss fan, and will remain one until the day I die. The greatest experience I have ever had is the first time I went through the gates of the University of Mississippi on a beautiful day in October of 1956. When the world was simple, and we the whole country had the highest of morals. I took my first look at that old and tradition rich campus and I have never been the same again since that day till this. Ole Miss has always retained the soft and it's beautifully serene quietness for which the Old South is best known. It is a place where deep friendships that blossom down through the tough times and the great times form a true bonding effect, and are passed on from one generation to another. The every day living of the simple life in the deep South. In towns, were almost everyone knows everyone and they all care about each other. My first tailgating party of my life in the grove was the biggest experience of my young life, and something I will remember on my death bed. The Grove is in the dead middle of the campus. It looks just like Margaret Mitchell's, Gone with the wind. Surrounded by old live Oak trees and is something to behold. Seeing all those people, thousand's of them dressed in red and blue and cheering the most famous cheer of the school, Are you ready, hell yea, dam right.Hotty Toddy gosh almighty who the hell or we, flim flam,bim bam, Ole Miss by dam! Plus the rebel band playing Dixie in the background. It made goose bumps jump one inch high on my body, and the hair on my head stood straight up. It's really a special place in this world of anger and pain that our kids have to live in today to be able to see. To stop and reflect on something left as beautiful as Ole Miss still is today. Stop and spend time thanking God for what he gives us every day. Be happy for all God has given us always as an individuals and a country Yours very truly...Johnnie Elmer January29, 2002

We are devoted fans (24/7/365) of the NFL and our BUFFALO BILLS !!!!! When we go to Buffalo, it's a different world. :>) Even though we are Canadians, we are treated like family during Tailgating at the Bills games. If you are a Bills fan, you are family !!! We can lock our car and walk around the Parking Lots, knowing that our car is safe. Total strangers will yak our ears off talking about the Bills and families are real friendly as well. Cheer the local team and your family, oppose them and "look out". Visiting teams get "friendly" hassles, but nothing vicious. We were surprised to see that the only rule for Tailgating in Buffalo seems to be: "if your not a problem, then there is no problem". The local Sheriff patrols the Parking Lots on Horses and Golf Carts. The smells we have experienced are mind boggling. Steak, Lobster, scrambled eggs (in the rain), Ribs and sides of beef ... what a smell !! The last thing I wanted to mention is the feeling of "American Pride" we feel walking up the ramp into the Bills Stadium... from Nancy and James Hobart in Ajax, Ontario, Canada (just east of Toronto)

Want to find a great place to tailgate even if you want to bring the kids? Try Dover Downs in the spring or fall NASCAR event. We prefer outside Turn #1 but with over 140,000 people it's not hard to find a great party anywhere here...Dan in Delaware

Kentucky Wildcat tailgaters are the most faithful fans yet. Where can you go and meet so many die hard fans and rarely win a football game? There are rows and rows of tailgaiters feasting on BBQ, shrimp, chili, country ham, beaten biscuits, derby pie and a much more. Best tailgaiting is with the Florida Gator faithful. They drive or fly 600 miles or so to enjoy our weather in September and put another notch in their belt. However, the fans are fun and do enjoy the Kentucky hospitality... Teri in Lexington, Kentucky

I received a good tailgating education at LSU games when I was a kid. I loved the atmosphere at Penn State, where more people show up to tailgate than to actually go into the stadium for the game! However, nothing touches tailgating at a home game, which for me is when Southern Miss plays at The Rock. From the old friends that began tailgating with me, to the new friends made while in "the elements" (such as the Atlanta Mafia), nothing beats the three "F's" - friends, food and football. We opened the season with Oklahoma State at The Rock and invited several Cowboys to join us for the day - no trash talk, just two teams' fans who loved football. That's what tailgating is all about! ...RR at Southern Miss

In my opinion, The University of South Carolina has the ultimate "tailgating" setting. A developer bought a large number of the cabooses from the railroad when they discontinued using them and parked them on a deserted track by Williams-Brice Stadium and formed the "Cock-A-Boose Railroad"! Supporters bought the "Cabooses" and lavishly restored them with plush carpet, marble trim.wet bars, closed circuit TV of the games and sun decks on top. The party atmosphere is unbelievable and unequaled anywhere in college football. Even when the Gamecocks went 0-11 in Lou Holtz's first year, ticket sales were in excess of 80,000 per game. The Team enters the field to streams of "2001", followed by the USC fight song and the crowd cheers till the last note is sounded. It makes chills run up the back of people that are not even USC fans.An experience everyone should witness!...from Gene, a Gamecock Tailgater from South Carolina

My tailgating group is one of the best tailgates thatIi have ever seen...we started our little group just the two of us (Big Sal and Llittle Frank) over 17 years ago with a little hibachi and a two milk crates. Now we are over 60 people strong.

We start every game 6 hrs before game time and have the time of our lives every Sunday serving up and eating the best food ever....let me give you an example...every game has a food theme like when we play the dolphins we do seafood and boy do we do seafood! Let me tell you...we start at 8:00 am with our omlette station serving smoked salmon omlettes and seafood hash along with H&H bagels with lox and salmon and mimosas...

Then when the omlette station closes at 10:00 we start with the hot and cold appetizers stations which consist of mussels steamed in a white wine garlic and butter sauce served with Semolina bread slices for sopping up the sauce. Then we have jumbo shrimp cocktail and a mountain of clams on the half shell and shrimp and scallop kabobs that are wrapped in bacon and grilled to perfection...

Then when the appetizer station closes by 11:30 we start the main deal...hey dont let me forget to mention the frozen margarita and spicy bloody mary station...but back to the food,...the main courses consist of blackened ahi tuna steaks served very rare, lemon pepper swordfish steaks, broiled mahi mahi, sesame teriyaki salmon steaks and to top it off we have fresh steamed live Maine lobster and fresh corn on the cob...

If thats not enough we then have a Venitian hour featuring the finest Italian and French pasties and cookies that we could find....and all thats just before the game ... imagine what we do after the game...just to let you know what fanatical tailgaters we are joe...we bought a UPS truck and converted it to our tailgating machine...we have two generators, a 27 inch TV, two outdoor propane turbo heaters, a satelitte dish, six grills , 2 two burner stoves, 2 two burner stock pots, eight tables and about 30 chairs and a couch...BIG SAL, The Tailgating Czar

Tailgating at Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh, NC before the NC State Wolfpack spanked the Florida State Seminoles 24-7 in 1998. A beautiful Saturday afternoon with friends, great food and lots of beer. GO PACK! ...from David from Raleigh, NC

There is no place I would rather be on Saturdays in the fall than Parking Lot 1 outside Byrd Stadium at the University of Maryland. The Terps' successes on the field haven't been too numerous in recent years, but that's never dampened the atmosphere around campus on gameday. Everything that's right about college football is on display at Maryland. Terp fans dressed in Red & White arrive early and raise the distinctive state flag high in the air. Cars, SUVs, and RVs are decked out with banners, pennants, and magnetic decals. Everywhere you look people are eating, drinking, throwing the ball around, and just having a good time. You can see the smoke from all the grills and smell some pretty appetizing aromas in the air, too. The marching band parades around the lot and when the team walks through the lot to the stadium, everyone lines up and cheers. The parties continue long after the game is over too. Maryland fans know how to party and are some of the friendliest people around.

I was 19 years old when we did our first tailgate at Maryland in 1996. Back then we stood behind the car and ate subs from Wawa. Since then our tailgates have evolved and the number in our group has gotten larger. We're all season ticket holders now and enjoy sitting in comfy lawn chairs eating Brats-N-Beer hot off the grill. We even take our tailgate show on the road to enemy territories like Morgantown, W.Va., and rival schools in the ACC. And we didn't even go to school at UM--we're just Terrapins by birth! Win or lose, we have a blast every time. We're hoping fortunes on the field turn up with Ralph Friedgen coming back to coach in 2001. Needless to say, the Sept. 1 opener vs. North Carolina can't get here soon enough. Go Terps! ...Paul in Baltimore, MD "Friedgen's Legion: Follow me to Byrd Stadium."

I have been part of many Cincinnati Bengal tailgate parties, but one will stand out in particular. In Cincinnati we may have the worst record in the 90's, but we sure don't have the worst tailgaters. It was December 17, 2000 and we arrived at 6:00a.m. with three inches of snow already fallen the temperature was around 2 degrees with a wind chill of -30. That did not stop the tailgaters from partying around huge bon fires with crab legs and Cincinnati style Chili cooking and Beer flowing. At kickoff the temperature reached a blistery 9 degrees with a -20 wind chill. There were four guys that even took off their shirts to celebrate the day. However, after Neil Rackers kicked a game winning field goal to eliminate the Jaguars from the playoffs nobody could feel the cold temperatures. The tailgate party continued after the game until the parking lot attendants threatened to lock us in...from Jason(Tailgate Pro) from Cincinnati,OH

A picture is worth a thousand words...Pictures from October 7th Minnesota vs. Penn State game in Minneapolis, outside of the Metrodome...from the Einan Home Team

Mini field at the MetrodomeMini field at the MetrodomeMini field at the Metrodome

When visiting Buffalo, be sure to check out HELMET GUY. His shtick started when he wore a replica helmet to the 1994 AFC Championship Game at Rich Stadium. Throughout the 1st quarter, everyone was slapping the helmet every time something good happened. Suffice it to say, he got his concussion before Joe Montana. After that, he took it off and had everyone "touch the helmet for luck" With his season tickets in hand, he's been performing this act ever since. Then, in 1996, a little boy gave him a Christmas card. Not knowing his name, he addressed it to "The Helmet Guy," and the name stuck. Before the first game of the 1997 season, we unveiled his new jersey. Presenting.. #7 1/8, The Helmet Guy.... Ever since, the jersey has gotten recognition from Ralph Wilson and fans across the region and noticed at Canton when we were there for the Hall Of Fame induction of Billy Shaw which happened to include the charter members of the Visa Hall Of Fans (Big Dawg Thompson, Barrel Man, and the rest). Ron Jaworski always touches the Helmet for luck anytime we see him in Buffalo and Marty Schottenheimer even loved the act. We didn't let him in on the fact that we beat his Chiefs with it...The Philster in Buffalo

The Helmet Guy in BuffaloThe Helmet Guy in Buffalo

Southern Methodist University has just opened a new state of the art Stadium on campus. For years and years SMU has played off campus and with the new stadium they are back on campus and have a great tailgating area called "the boulevard". We invite you come out and see a great tailgating party...Reid from Dallas, TX

Southern Methodist University - The Boulevard

Being 17 I haven't had much time to get years of tailgating under my belt. But at my high school my friends and I are known for throwing quite the parties. Though the current status with a big gas grill, hamburgers, and lots of lemonade is great. It is hard to get any better than that first time. Hot dogs cooked on a hibachi just cannot be beat...Kyle from Akron, IN

The Saguaro Aerostat Association's flying season is during the cooler months of the year out here...September through May mainly. A few times each month, up to 20-30 balloonists and their crews gather in Avra Valley (about 15 miles north of Tucson) and launch their balloons at daybreak (yes, it's often cold at the crack of dawn, let me tell you, even in the desert). After an hour or so of flying, the balloons are packed up and all head back to the launch site for TAILGATE extraordinaire!

Our monthly rallies are the best...we usually have special food themes to work from...many are holiday and sports-event related (SuperBowl, World Series, etc.), but some of our favorites include "Roadkill Rally" (you can't begin to imagine), "Jimmy Buffett" (Cheeseburgers in Paradise and Margaritaville), "Pirate's Rally" (Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum), "Chocolate Lovers (Valentines Day rally)", etc. Balloonists are a rare breed by nature, but these little competitive food fests bring out the best (and sometimes the bizarre) in all of us. We have published one cook book featuring with some of our special treats, but each week brings on new levels of taste-tempting and tantalizing treats! And I almost forgot to mention the free-flowing champagne to celebrate the day's successful flights...from Bonnie a Tailgating Balloonist in Avra Valley, AZ

One of the best examples of tailgating is before the annual Iron Bowl game between Alabama and Auburn. Fans start showing up as early as Tuesday the week of the game (they would show up earlier if the universities allow). As far as the atmosphere goes, I don't think it could get any better than over 1000 RV's and motorhomes and the greatest rivalry in all of football. If you can get a ticket to this one don't pass it up. And next year, for the first time ever, the two teams will meet in Tuscaloosa, and I guarantee this will be one of the rowdiest games in history...from Michael at Mississippi State

My tailgating memories are too numerous...The next one is always my favorite! But one that particularly stands out in my mind was, while waiting out on the street, in our rv, for the gates to open to Lambeau Field, we met a couple of Packer fans from Germany, Gustav and Guner. They had flown into Pennsylvania, then rented a car and drove to Green Bay. They spent the day tailgating with us, and other Packer fans, and had the time of their lives. They later called us, from Germany, to let us know they arrived home safely and to thank us for the wonderful time. I expect we'll be seeing them again some day at Lambeau Field. Just recently, too, we got to meet the Commissioner, himself, at Lambeau. Nice meeting you, Joe, and looking forward to seeing you again too...Judy a Packer fanatic (originally from New England)

I am proud to be a Bills fan! Many a season I travel to Orchard Park, NY to have what I consider the most fun tailgate possible. Like most, early arrival to the stadium is a must! Start the grill at 10am, have a beer. Finish lunch, beer. Dress for game, have a beer. Great time. My most memorable recent game was this preseason NY Jets vs. Bills at home in Rich Stadium (or whatever they call it this year). It was a Sunday evening game and oh, what fun it was! Managed to get into the parking area early and fit in a few drinks with a great bunch of people from Ontario, Canada. I love tailgating, especially with Bills fans...Andy in Buffalo

I haven't been to any tailgates that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. One of my most anticipated was preparing for a Vanderbilt/Notre Dame game in 1996. My brother in-law and our family were Vandy season ticket holders and lifelong Irish fans. We always had some wonderful experiences prior to Vandy games. Needless to say we were anxiously awaiting this game. What made it odd was that it was on a Thursday night. I don't know how I made it in to work the next morning. The Titans are in town and I'm ready too add to memories...Harold in Nashville

Saturdays in the fall in Baton Rouge, the fans are cooking all those Cajun favorites. Nothing can top a Saturday and Saturday Night in Tiger Stadium. Best Tailgating fans in the country and that goes for the visitors too. They really get into the spirit!...Randy from Louisiana.

The King of all Tailgates has a name: THE WORLD'S LARGEST OUTDOOR COCKTAIL PARTY. The Georgia-Florida game is not just tailgating on Saturday, it's all weekend long with some arriving in Jacksonville as early as that Wednesday. Parties range from dancing to live music every year from the Swingin' Medallions to rooting on your team at the Downunder restaurant in Fernindina Beach. After the game, fans make it to the Jacksonville Landing which is largely dominated by the winning team's fans. Luckily the Dawgs have done the most partying because we still lead the series 45-29. A game like no other! Go Dawgs!!!...Jason from Hinesville, GA

We were poor college students at Rutgers University in NJ (The Birthplace of College Football!) but never missed a home game (and made most away games too)! For starters, we'd get to the fields before there were people checking for parking passes, to avoid the $$$ charge. Since we didn't have a grill, we used a metal shelf from the refrigerator, balanced over a few cinder blocks. The looks we'd get!! We started off with omelets at 8am (kickoff was usually 1pm) and the 'grill' stayed burning well past the game. It seemed like we always got stuck with rain, or sloppy conditions from a previous night's rain, but that just gave us reason to do 'mud slides' through the sludge in the fields! Anyone with decent cars made the 'mud sliders' walk back to campus!...Mike from Mechanicsburg, PA

I am known as the Queen of Tailgating. It all started when my son was at West Point for four years. I organized tailgates for both Football and Baseball games. My son was an Army pitcher. I was known at the local supermarket as the lady who feeds the Army. When my son was a Junior, he brought his company to a tailgate, approximately 100 cadets. We took two cars of food. The tailgate theme was "When the cows come home". The Juniors are known at West Point as Cows. My husband and I were dressed in Farm overalls. We brought a life-size wooden cow, a bale of hay and pitch fork and a tape of Mooing cows. The menu consisted of cow patties, chili, cow cookies, etc. We had cow napkins and plates. It was great! This four year experience of feeding the Army was only a warm up for my next tailgating assignment. My youngest daughter just finished four years of playing Field Hockey for Princeton University. They went to the Final Four the last three years and to the National Championship two of those three years. Please take time to attend a Princeton Field Hockey Tailgate. Twice a week, the parents feed between 60-150 people. One of our best tailgates this year was at Yale, filet with horseradish sauce, shrimp Ceasar salad, grilled sausages and veggie burgers, pasta salad, bruschetta, fresh strawberries, always rice krispie bars - a team favorite and more. We repeated this tailgate two more times. The generosity of the parents is overwhelming. We tailgate after the game so that the team can also really appreciate it. A better culinary experience will be hard to find. Go Tigers! …Sue from Washington Depot, CT

I sold programs my senior year at Penn State, so I could see the games (didn't have enough credits remaining to allow me to purchase a season ticket). The Miami-Penn State game in 1992 was one of the best tailgating experiences I have ever witnessed. My programs were sold at least an hour before kickoff (usually I was returning a few). I must have spoken with over 200 people that day, saw some great tailgate spreads, and was starving by kickoff (all that great food). I'll never forget my college experience at Penn State, least of all those fine football Saturdays...Ken in Reading, PA

Come to Columbia, MO sometime and check out those Tiger Tailgaters. As a season ticket holder I love getting to the game early and enjoying the atmosphere. If you want to get a good spot you have to get there early! The main parking lot is kind of small. But, the good news is parking is free. My friends and I have a good time at the games and after the games everyone must go to Harpo's and The Field House in downtown Columbia. Win or lose it's a fun time. Speaking of tails. When you go to a Mizzou football game you will notice everyone has those darn tiger tails sticking out of their trunks. It's kind of a tradition I guess. Maybe it is in other "Tiger Towns" too…Aaron in Marceline, MO

I have been part of a NAVY-ARMY Tailgate for 34 of the 47 years I have been on earth. The NAVY-ARMY game in the past few years has been at 12 noon EST. The caravan leaves a hotel by Philly airport at 6:30am. We have two buses that seat over 40 tailgaters apiece; a small percentage of the 250 people we expect to cook for. The chow and equipment truck sets up before 7:00am with tents, helium for the BEAT ARMY blimp we fly over the stadium, grills (both charcoal & propane gridlle ; for the bacon & eggs) and the bar. True story; three years ago the stadium concession complained to the local police we were selling food. Win or lose, after the game, Irish coffee & champagne are served. Our menu is nothing special, burgers, dogs, NY sausage and chili, but cooking and pouring for over 250 invitees is fun and overwhelming. I encourage all tailgate and football fans to attend the ARMY - NAVY game for a true AMERICAN experience...TERRY in LOT8B @ GIANTS STADIUM

Gator Bowl 1999. Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech. Arrived at 7:30 am for a 12:30 game. Grilled out London Broil and baked potatoes. Played football with the kids, family and friends. Bar, snacks and had the Scottish bag pipe player play the Notre Dame fight song for my mom (a die hard ND fan)...D in Jacksonville, FL

Our 1st annual "Pig and a Keg" tailgate party at the Dec. 28th Monday Night Football game Jags vs Steelers. We roasted "Jerome the Pittsburgh Squealer". We had many of the city's news media drop by not to mention Commissioner Joe. The pig was great. The game was great. We tailgated with friends and family for a total of 30 hours for this game.......Wow what an experience!!!... Alan, Andreas, Steven and Mark from Jacksonville, FL

Penn State tailgating has it all...the RV's, the Blue Band, the Cheerleaders, the Creamery, great fans, and oh yea, a pretty darn good football team and coach. Penn State deserves to repeat as the the College Tailgating Champion...Chris from Lancaster, PA

18 degrees, -30 windchill, it took an extra 40 minutes for the Kabobs to cook, but the Bloddy Maries helped. Arrowhead is hard to beat!...Brent from St. Louis, MO

Getting in the tub with the Tubgaters of Detroit before a Lions game!!! ...Todd from Royal Oak, MI


Anytime one of the other service academies visits Air Force. It's a special time for anyone that loves our Armed Forces, and the fly-over is always fantastic. Air Force vs. Navy-over 35 airplanes flew over the stadium and the weather was perfect...Don and Pat, Colorado Springs, CO

Remember: Tailgating is a state of mind, also. So if you can't get to the parking lot, bring the parking lot to YOU! Every Super Bowl, I rev up my indoor grill, fill the tub with ice and beer, arrange a few beach chairs around the living room, don my team colors and conduct my annual Super Bowl Tailgate Party right in my apartment! The only no-no: the football tossing - not a good idea!! ...Jo-Ann in Bronx, NY

1998 Rose Bowl Michigan vs. Washington State. We had three grills going, two big screen TVs, and about 150 Michigan fans ready to win our first National Championship in Football in 50 years! ...Greg in Columbus, OH

When I send my husband tailgating, and he sends me shopping with the credit card to my favorite mall! Meeting Joe was my father-in-laws greatest experience at Arrowhead...Carolyn in Lee's Summit, MO

Tailgating at the 1997 Army/Navy game with a loaded RV and my fellow Academy Alumni... Michael in Patuxent River, MD

Florida State University vs Florida 1996 when it was #1 vs #2 and FSU won 17-14 in Tallahassee. What a great day for tailgating. Inter-state rivals. National ranking on the line. End of the season. It absolutely had everything. What an atmosphere! ...Joe in Paxton, FL

I have a good time just going out and being with friends...Tom in Jacksonville, FL

Tailgating at the Meadowlands! ...Alex in Bloomfield, NJ

Kicking field goals before the cars fill up the IM football fields at Penn State. Watching my portly Uncle throw lefty passes with kielbasa grease all over his hands at J-E-T-S Stadium...Dominic in Arlington, VA

I've been to Kansas City and Green Bay. Both places I recommend. They are very good. But since I am a 49ers Fan, I just have to go with the Niners. There is nothing like going to the Stick early in the morning and eating a good breakfast. Spending the day with 27 other family members that are season ticket holders. Watch a great game and BBQ till the seagulls drive us away. Now that's a Tailgate Faithful or should I say Team...Anthony in San Jose, CA

Come down to any game at Ole Miss during the fall and enjoy on of the most amazing experiences of your life, guaranteed! Best games, LSU, Miss State, Alabama, Georgia, SMU, Auburn... Patrick in Lawrenceville, NJ

Spending the day with the Commish!!!!! ...Jim in Nashville, TN

I just love the fans and the stadium in Ann Arbor Michigan. U of M Wolverines will always be the best. Go Blue!!!!!!! ...Brian in Lafayette, IN

Frank, Dean and Mike at the Georgia Tech / Maryland game in Baltimore. ...Frank in Crofton, MD

I think Tim Mcgee said it best some years ago "The Superbowl is like every game day Saturday in Knoxville". There is so much going on it is hard to pick just it on the river with the "Vol Navy" or at any parking lot, you might find anything and everything to eat or drink. My own group of tailgaters do something different every week. We cook on site anything from burgers, chicken, meatball subs, to chili and hot tamales. So each week holds a new experience. ...Dean in Knoxville, TN

12 degrees, -15 degree windchill, Broncos at arrowhead. Plenty of charcoal, steak, cabobs, and bloody mary. Oh yea, Chiefs won with a 54 yard field goal. ...Brent in St. Louis, MO

The University of Nebraska at U of Washington. We had two motorhomes full of Huskies and Husker fans, as much red and white as purple and gold. The BarBQ's were going strong and the parking lot was full. Before and after the game the atmosphere was college football at it's best. Good companionship of fans enjoying a wonderful pre-game and post game celebration. The post-game lasted for hours as fans of both teams enjoyed each other. ...Dennis in Lynnwood, WA

Every tailgating experience is my favorite. We start early and leave late. ...Linda in Louisville, KY

Hanging out with the Maine Lobstermen!! ...Susan in Portland, ME

The Lobster Men

Nothing beats a Saturday afternoon in State College, PA. From sun up to well after sun down, hundreds of thousands of fans tossing the football and eating their kielbasa while downing some good brew. Ahhh, I wish I was headed up there this weekend.... Chad in Baltimore, MD

At the Iowa/Iowa State game three years ago. Four hours before the game we had brats, burgers and dogs, the standard, and some of the best potato salad this side of the Mississippi. It was an awesome experience. ...Pete in Ames, IA

We tailgated across from Archie Manning and family last year before all the home games. We got to see their youngest Eli throw a few. Watch out Peyton! There is also nothing like the Vol Navy, watching the players march to the stadium two hours before game time and then hearing the band march down the street playing "Rocky top" while eating the best b-b-q and fried chicken, blackberry cobbler, baked beans, pretzel salad, mac & cheese, the list goes on. Go Vols! ...Adam in Knoxville, TN

Signing my books ...Joe Drozda, author of the Tailgaters Handbook

OSU vs. Michigan 1996 We filled my friend's flatbed truck with sand and wore bathing suits (for about 10 minutes until we couldn't stand the cold). Needless to say, we brought the beach to Ohio. Bryan in Columbus, OH

The day Annie and I had a crawfish boil for the two of us and by the time the crawfish were done fifty people had congregated drawn by the smell. We do it at least once a season now...always draws a crowd of mostly strangers. ...Dan in Clemson, SC

After every Navy home game the various companies of midshipmen have company tailgates, with parents and alumni invited. Pre-game tailgates are impossible for the Brigade because the midshipmen march to the stadium in formation and present a pre-game welcome on the field. The post-game tailgates are extravagant, with mids from each company delegated to barbecue such thinks as pigs, chickens, sides of beef, etc. But the best part is the camaraderie, which can't be topped anywhere! ...Jim in Pittsburgh, PA

All my tailgating games have been memorable. Ii have never had a disappointing experience. what I do have is a blue and white RV that I use only for Penn State tailgating. Even my chairs feature the Penn State mascot. Everything is blue and white. ...Eleanore in Pottsville, PA

The Varsity Club before and after the game. Watching the band march into Ohio Stadium. ...Mark in Columbus, OH

Pre-Hurricane Georges tailgating, Saturday night at Tiger Stadium ...Renee in Baton Rouge, LA

At the Pittsburgh Steeler games, back in the late 70's, they were the best. I think tailgating might have started at Three Rivers. Since moving from the Burg I haven't been to any football games. But I've been to a lot of Nascar events and let me tell you, we bring our houses with us, now that's a party!!! ...Barbara in Southern Pines, NC

Penn State tailgates continue to top the list because everyone becomes friends. Even those from the opposing team, eat and drink together with a little good hearted rivalry talk. Friends and I will return to PSU for at least one tailgate a year. We bring a grill lots of hamburgers and hot dogs then everyone brings a side dish, which leads to quite a competition for trying to out do each other. My favorite is a Mexican cheesecake that adds some spice to the day. Of course to top it all off is plenty of Yuengling Lager. ...Jennifer in Sharon, PA

Whenever you're at Ohio State for a game it doesn't matter where you are on campus, it's going to be the best time. ...Julie in Columbus, OH

Any tailgating experience at the legendary Lambeau Field in Green Bay is a favorite. ...Jennifer in Green Bay, WI

Best experience is still my first time.....grilling on a small Hibachi with burgers and beer ...Sharon in Baton Rouge, LA

Lots of BBQ and friends. Enjoying the chiefs whooping up on the Raiders ...Teresa in Eldon, MO

It had to be the Cowboy game last year. We had tailgating before and after the game, enjoying the post tailgate very much. We threw on the tenderloins and invited a few lonely, dejected
Cowboy fans to partake. ...Linda in Des Plaines, IL

Just sitting back and watching the 10's of thousands of fans that walk though the LSU tailgating experience. And for anyone who has never been to LSU on a Saturday night, because football in the South is meant to be played at night, can not even begin to believe the trill, the excitement and the overall feeling of good ol' southern hospitality.... Kevin in Baton Rouge, LA

Lambeau Field is great for tailgating not only for the food, drink, etc., it's because of the overall atmosphere and the awe inspiring feeling you get when you first walk into the parking lot. The aroma of the fired up grills, the sounds of fans excited about the big game to come and greeting friends and strangers with the same enthusiasm, and the sight of Lambeau Field towering over you with it's nostalgia and history making it seem that more intense. I wish every football fan could experience a game at the best tailgating stadium in the world! ...Ray in Somerville, NJ

Sitting under the old oaks on North Campus of UGA, cooking BBQ pork and eating homemade potato salad. ...Scott in Lawrenceville, GA

Cooking deepfried Walleye, Perch & freshcut onion rings for 40 people at Almmendinger Park in Ann Arbor ...Timothy in Toledo, OH

Any home game at Georgia. Georgia fans are the best at tailgating because of no parking lots. They find all kinds of great areas to party at and they will let any join in as long as they are for the Dogs! ...Bill in Louisville, KY

My favorite experience is when it is so cold and everyone has soups, and hot chocolate. These fans will tailgate even if their fingers are ready to fall off. ...Amy in Abingdon, MD

Any Sunday in Cincinnati ...Steve in Cincinnati, OH

My favorite game day experience is on the weekend of our game with the University of South Carolina, the home team fans treat the visitors to a tailgate party. This party usually starts eight hours before kick-off and ends when we get ran out of our parking lot. This naturally has turned into a contest to see who can "out-do" the other. Some interesting "dishes" have been served at these parties, to many to name...a visit is a must...We have been doing this since USC first entered the SEC. Any where from 50 to 150 people have attended. The fellowship with the visiting fans has been incredible. ...Deano in Knoxville, TN

December 22, 1996. RFK Stadium, Washington, DC. This is the last Redskin game ever to be played at beloved RFK. We're enjoying our tailgate meal of Ribeye steaks in the tree lined grassy area in the parking lot near Benning Road, tossing the football around, and sipping refreshing locally-brewed lagers. Into the lot rumbles a huge Winnebago, pulling behind it an industrial-sized barbecue/smoker on wheels. On the roof of the RV is a 6-foot, fully decorated Christmas tree. It parks under the Metrorail track, and as the passengers pile out, they set up an elaborate sound system playing an excellent blend of rock and roll, and begin grilling burgers and dogs. The game is a 3-hour long celebration of Redskins history. At halftime, all the Redskins greats parade around the field to the deafening roar of the crowd - Jurgensen, Kilmer, Monk, Riggins. The Cowboys are smothered, 37-10, and as the clock winds down, a few brave souls risk arrest to frolic on the RFK turf to wish it one last goodbye. The first few are captured by security guards despite some fine open field running. But then a growing tide of fans soon overwhelm security, until thousands join the celebration on the field, bidding adieu to one of the finest football (and tailgating) venues in America. Patches of RFK turf are dug up with bare hands as souvenirs, turf trod on by Jurgensen, Kilmer, Charley Taylor, Larry Brown, Sam Huff, John Riggins, Ken Houston, Art Monk and myriad other 'Skins greats. The party continues outside the stadium. The Christmas Tree Winnebago party, as it turns out, is hosted by Mark Bryan, guitarist for Hootie and the Blowfish, local boy, and diehard Redskins fan. Hundreds flock to the Christmas Winnebago, drawn by the Christmas tree on top, the aroma of the grill serving burgers and dogs to all comers, and the rock and roll music. The grill, the music, and