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Modern tailgating is awesome – Here’s 5 reasons why

Posted by Guest On June - 16 - 2015

College Football Tailgating Lot

From Madison to Miami, College Station to Chapel Hill, wander onto nearly any major university in fall and you will be greeted by familiar sights, sounds and smells; seasoned meat on open flames, beer cans rattling around an icy cooler, the dull pop of a football being tossed back and forth and kinetic, anticipatory buzz of thousands students, alumni, and locals coming together on campus to get ready for a big football game.

UCF College Co-eds tailgatingMix in retrofitted monster RVs and trailers, beer bongs, beer pong, baby back ribs and college girls – oh, so many college girls – and that buzz becomes a full-blown tailgating amusement park and the perfect pregame bash before any sporting event. Tailgating is an event all its own. And the chaos and camaraderie make it one of the best aspects of football fandom.

The first reported incident of tailgating a sporting event occurred in 1869 at a Princeton-Rutgers football game. In 2014, according to Nationwide Insurance, over $12 billion was spent by roughly 50 million tailgaters across the United States. Just over one-third of people who tailgate don’t even go into the game, meaning the atmosphere itself is enough of a draw.

Of course, tailgating has changed a lot through the years. Americans love to party. But we also love to innovate. And the good times that take place in parking lots and fields on weekends in the fall belie the bizarre beginnings of this cultural phenomenon back in the 1860’s.

Here are some ways in which technological advancements have improved tailgating and helped it become the social extravaganza that it is today:

The Views Are Less Violent – The first form of tailgating took shape at the Battle of Bull Run in Virginia back in 1861. Locals apparently brought picnic baskets with them on the outskirts of the battle, laying out blankets and baskets on fields and on top of hills. There they ate, imbibed and openly “rooted” for their “team” to win the fight. Unbeknownst to them, they were tailgating the largest and bloodiest battle in U.S. history to that point.

I know blowouts in a Baylor-Wofford or Georgia Tech-Elon early season tune-up game can seem a little ugly. But they are nothing like the views those Civil War spectators took in way back when.

Grilling at Virginia Tech

Photo courtesy of Taylor Takes a Taste

You Can’t Beat The Eats – In 1866, the chuck wagon was born. It was basically just a wagon with a grill on the back for cooking meat and it was used as a meeting and socializing stand for cowboys grabbing some grub while away from the ranch.

That portable meat-cooking machine was a crucial invention along the tailgating timeline. And it has evolved into the monster smokers and weaponized grills and gear we see in lots across the country each week these days.

Grilling has become an art form. As recently as 25 years ago, you went to the game happy to scarf down a hockey puck hamburger or slightly undercooked sausage before kickoff. Now the food is at the center of the whole experience. And there are books, shows, apps and contests all dedicated to the best barbecue rubs, recipes and execution. Darwin never said evolution would taste so delicious.

Jambulance ParkedNow We Are Riding In Style – In the early 1900’s, there generally weren’t dedicated meeting places for tailgating and socializing before the games. Most places didn’t have mammoth parking lots near the stadiums. And as a result, most people got to the game by train and the party took place inside that moving metal.

Now, stadiums are designed and built with tailgating and pregame considerations in mind. And some of the vehicles used to get to the game look like something out of a Mad Max movie.

Motorhomes, RVs painted in a team’s colors, doctored vans; there are all types of dedicated tailgating vehicles out there. There are also rental companies that offer 20 to 25 foot trailers loaded with flat-screen TVs, kitchens, bars and bathrooms in and on them. Parking lots become pop-up shantytowns on game day and fans bring a lot of the comforts of home to the party.

It also isn’t just the wheels that have gotten more sophisticated and effective. Everything involved in tailgating – from more efficient coolers to better boom boxes to more comfortable chairs – has gotten sleeker, simpler and just better over the last 25 years.

More Games Before The Game – The reason for tailgating is, generally, that you’re getting lathered up before walking in to watch a contest of athleticism and skill. But nowadays people get their own muscles moving and blood pumping with all manner of lawn and drinking games. Cornhole, washer toss, and flip cup are just a few of the dozens of games that people break out in the lot before kickoff.

These games don’t just help kill some time but they also get the competitive juices flowing. And they are the perfect outlet for guys, a la Uncle Rico, to show how totally athletic they are and prove to everyone within eye shot that, under different circumstances, they totally could’ve been playing in the game you’re about to go watch. Totally.

Tailgating SelfieSuper Cell Phones And Less Logistics – Cell phones have changed everyday life as much as anything has over the last 50 years. Tailgating is no exception.

Before cell phones it was a major chore to organize a group to go to the game. You could waste precious drinking time by having to meet up at the local grocery store parking lot and following one another to the game. Or you could spend a frustrating half-hour wandering around the stadium hoping you spot the other half of your group. Either way, it was a major hassle.

Cell phones eliminated this inconvenience. But beyond communication, cell phones also make a lot of other aspects of tailgating simpler. Tracking the weather is easier and more accurate. So is taking pictures. Add in all the specialty tailgating and grilling apps and smart phones pay big dividends for weekend sports partiers.

Also, smart phones serve the ultimate tailgating purpose: settling idiotic sports arguments. Twenty years ago you could make up whatever BS you wanted just to win a pointless argument over some random team stat or player fact. Now definitive proof is just a couple clicks away.

And finally, getting information such as last minute injuries, odds and game match-up report picks and predictions are right at your fingertips since most websites are now becoming responsive so they are viewable and easy to use on any mobile device.

Where will the next 10 years take us?

(This is a guest post by Robert Ferringo. Robert is a Professional Handicapper at Doc’s Sports Service. If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more contributions from Robert, leave a comment below letting us know what else you think Robert should write about next.)

Freedom Grill making a come back?

Posted by Dave On March - 2 - 2015

Freedom Grill FG-50 Tailgating Grill

If you are a regular or a casual reader of this tailgating blog, you probably have a grasp on how we have held the Freedom Grill in such high regard. What’s not to love about a bad ass grill you can put on the back of your car, take to the game, start grilling on a full-sized grill and then pack it away, lock it up and go inside the game without the grill leaking grease or dirt all over your truck or SUV?

Unfortunately because of a number of twists and turns in the economy among other exterior factors, the Freedom Grill is no longer in production. It went through some changes over the years and even went by a different name, the Margaritaville Tailgating Grill. The bottom line is you can no longer buy these tailgating grills and if you have one, consider yourself lucky. If you want the entire story in nauseating detail as to why the Freedom Grill and Margaritaville Grills are no longer in production, feel free to check out the Margaritaville Tailgating Grill Eulogy we published three years ago.

So why am I publishing a post about something that is extinct? Let’s just say I have been hearing things which opens up the door for a glimmer (emphasis on the term glimmer) of hope that Freedom Grill may be coming back.

Let’s be clear here – this is not any shred of an announcement that Freedom Grill is coming back and will start producing FG-50s any time soon. We are not saying that at all. What we are saying is the conversations are starting to pick up and the possibility of a Freedom Grill return is brighter than it has been in a number of years. And to be honest, the last three years the prospects for a return were pretty grim. So any conversation is better than none.

With that said, once we hear something that we can pass along, we will surely do that. But in the meantime, here are a few videos of the Freedom Grill to remind everyone how awesome it was.

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LSU kids playing beer pong

Posted by Dave On October - 21 - 2014

LSU kids playing a game of "beer pong" while tailgating

Little LSU fans playing what appears to be a game of beer pong while tailgating in Baton Rouge. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Crisp Twitter @elizabethcrisp


We know that in the SEC, or all over the college football landscape, indoctrinating the next generation into the traditions and the culture of your favorite college football team is the main reason for having kids. So why would it be any surprise that this group of young tailgaters appear to be playing a game of beer pong at an LSU tailgate? Maybe because the oldest one in the photo looks to be about 11 years old.

After a closer look, it appears that the two bottles of water and the Sprite are the ones being used for the refills. But at first glance, it looks to be a bit jarring. But that’s how they do it down in Baton Rouge.

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) assists on LSU keg stand

Posted by Dave On September - 21 - 2014
Mary Landrieu spotted at an LSU tailgate assisting a Tiger fan with a keg stand

Mary Landrieu spotted at an LSU tailgate assisting a Tiger fan with a keg stand. Photo courtesy of Ellen L. Carmichael Twitter @ellencarmichael

Mid-term elections are about six weeks away and it is a full court press for Congressional members and Senators to go out and campaign as if they are “one of the people”. Apparently that included Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) hitting Baton Rouge on Saturday visiting tailgate parties prior to LSU hosting Mississippi State. Although not dressed like an LSU fan (her shirt looks more like a blue cheetah pattern) she demonstrates that when in Rome, do as Romans do… which includes assisting in pulling off a successful keg stand.

The reaction via Twitter was, as you might expect, pretty funny filled with cheers from supporters and jeers from opponents. Comments like, “That’s what I call a Beer Summit” (referencing the Henry Louis Gates arrest controversy in which President Obama hosted a “Beer Summit” in 2009 at the White House) and “(Keg) Stand with Mary”, were all over Twitter after the photo was tweeted and retweeted.

Just in case you didn’t get enough of the first photo, here is another angle.

Alternative angle of Mary_Landrieu assisting with a keg stand while at LSU tailgate party.

Alternative angle of Mary Landrieu assisting with a keg stand while at an LSU tailgate party. Photo courtesy of Brad Dayspring Twitter ‏@BDayspring

Fan pleads guilty in stadium bottle attack

Posted by Dave On March - 7 - 2014

Back in October of last year we posted a video and wrote a commentary, Video: Tailgaters, This Is Why The NFL Hates You Part 2. In a nutshell, it was a bunch of idiots getting into a fight in the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium and one guy decided to break a glass bottle over one of the other combatants heads. Here is the video.
(Warning: The video does contain swear words, blood and violence. NOT safe for work and best not shown with kids in the room.)

UPDATE: The guy who smashed the beer bottle pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 9 in San Diego Superior Court.

For the full story from the San Diego Union-Tribune, read: Fan pleads guilty in stadium bottle attack

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TailgatingIdeas.com is a tailgating blog dedicated to bringing you the latest and most intriguing tailgating ideas out there. Whether it is the latest tailgating gear reviews, a great new recipe or a funny list to make you smile, our goal is to inform and entertain the avid and the casual tailgater alike.

Started in August 2007 by tailgating enthusiast Dave Lamm, TailgatingIdeas.com has evolved into an advocate for tailgaters rights and is not afraid to touch on controversial issues confronting those who frequent the tailgating parking lots.

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