For the second consecutive year, Freedom Grill named the most recent Miss Freedom Grill at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Convention. The lucky girl that gets to represent Freedom Grill and be the face of tailgating? Eileen Craker. We had a chance to catch up with Eileen on a Sunday morning right before she was about to head out the door. Where was she going later that day? Tailgating, of course.
(Images courtesy of Freedom Grill and Eileen Craker. Click images for larger view)
Tailgating Ideas: How did you become Miss Freedom Grill 2009?
Eileen Craker: I have actually been pretty active in the San Diego community as far as doing modeling for a while now. I met Steve Glor and Scott Salter from Freedom Grill back in, I want to say, 2004, when I first moved to San Diego and started doing a lot of modeling out here. They were actually judging a bikini contest for a calendar that I was in for Miller Lite. Since then we have gotten to know each other and every now and then they would do some photo shoot for ads for Freedom Grill and they would ask me to participate. I did a couple of shoots for them and then I would run into them here and there throughout San Diego since it is such a small town when it comes right down to it. I also worked the SEMA show for them a couple years ago as well. I saw that it was a great show and a great opportunity for them to get some exposure. The year prior they started incorporating the Miss Freedom Grill into the SEMA show. I believe that was the first year that they did it. I think that year I was unavailable to do the show and they had asked Holly Weber to be Miss Freedom Grill 2008. The following year, which is this year, they asked me to come out to Las Vegas and work the show and also receive the crowning of being Miss Freedom Grill 2009. So that’s kind of how it all happened.
Tailgating Ideas: So what are the duties of Miss Freedom Grill? What do you think the Freedom Grill guys will have in store for you in the coming year?
Eileen Craker: Well, we did the crowning at the SEMA show where it was passed off from Holly Weber to me. They had a bunch of posters made that had me and a Freedom Grill in the background. We gave out a tremendous amount of posters at the SEMA show. I am sure the guys will be able to tell you how many of the posters we went through. I did a lot of greeting and letting people know about Freedom Grill. Throughout the coming year I know that they mentioned that they would be doing events or even just tailgating in general that they would like me to come out and join them and support Freedom Grill. I am willing to do that without any pay involved because I love those guys and I love Freedom Grill and I think it is a great idea. It’s fun to get out there and have a good time and at the same time support Freedom Grill as Miss Freedom Grill 2009. I think I will be probably pretty busy to meet up with those guys to basically hang out and support Freedom Grill. I also want to get with them and find out what other types of events they want me to go to or specific things they would like me to do and I am more than willing to do that as well.
Tailgating Ideas: With other “pageant” winners like the Miss America or Miss Universe they seem to be doing ribbon cuttings at mini-malls or libraries. How cool is it that you basically are the Queen of Tailgating?
Eileen Craker: Absolutely. It’s a blast. It’s definitely something that I am honored to be this year and it is also a good time so that is great.
Tailgating Ideas: Were you pretty heavily involved in the tailgating lifestyle and would go to tailgate parties before you were introduced to the guys from Freedom Grill? Or through meeting them did you really get into tailgating and the lifestyle that is tailgating?
Eileen Craker: You know, I was probably on the moderate side as far as everyone enjoys going out and tailgating and having a good time. Especially if you are into the Chargers or whatever team you are into. It’s always a good time to go out and do that. But since I have met the people from Freedom Grill they have definitely brought it out in me a lot more because they have made it so much more enjoyable whenever I meet up with those guys. A Freedom Grill tailgate party is such a great event and since going to them I have definitely been going to a lot more. I am more prone to come down there and join up with them for a good time because they do throw such a great tailgating party.
Tailgating Ideas: What do you like about tailgating and the tailgate lifestyle the best?
Eileen Craker: I would have to say the social aspect of it. I like meeting new people and running into old friends. I just love to hang out and talk to a bunch of people who are there for the same reason; to have a good time, good food and good drinks and support your team. I think it is really a positive social activity.
Tailgating Ideas: You admitted that you were a casual tailgater before getting to know about Freedom Grill and becoming Miss Freedom Grill 2009. Now that you are a more experienced tailgater have you tried to introduce it to your friends or other girls you work with in modeling to demonstrate to them how fun tailgating can be?
Eileen Craker: Actually I have recruited a couple of people to come down to Qualcomm Stadium with me today. (Nov. 23, 2008) Everyone is stoked about going. There are a few people that have never even been tailgating before and I tell them, “oh you don’t know what you are missing out on” or “it’s going to be so much fun”. We have a few people going down there with us for the first time and some are veterans that probably go to every game. I’ll definitely be bringing some newcomers to the tailgating experience. I am definitely one to tell everyone how much fun tailgating is get them to come out there with me so they can see for themselves. After they do that they will probably get turned on to it and want to go tailgating every time after that. I am definitely more prone to get more people out there since my involvement with Freedom Grill.
Eileen Craker: I like steak. I am a big steak eater. Maybe a nice cut of top sirloin or something like that on the Freedom Grill would be good. As for beverages, the Freedom Grill guys bring the works. They are down there with beer, shots, Jell-O shots. All different kinds of stuff. I guess you could say one of the regular drinks that Steve or Scott or actually both of them always say they will have down there for me is Jagermeister. It is not even really one of my regular drinks but it has become a regular Freedom Grill tailgating experience. It’s a drink we do every time. So we’ll always have a little Jager down there at the tailgating events. Those shots can get dangerous pretty quick but as long as we keep it in moderation it is fine and we have a good time. We’ll have a couple shots to keep us warm and of course keep the grill going. It’s a blast.
Tailgating Ideas: Any final thoughts?
Eileen Craker: I would like to mention that from the first year that I worked the SEMA convention to this most recent year, it is really great to see Freedom Grill really taking off. During the show it was great to walk around and see all the different vehicles that had a Freedom Grill on the back of it. It was really exciting to see how many had a Freedom Grill as part of their display. When I got back from walking around and checking out the show, I mentioned to them that it seems like they are really expanding and it is exciting to see that. I look forward to seeing Freedom Grill expanding even more. Not just at the shows but just in general. It’s really cool to see them really taking off.
Note: The Freedom Grill FG-50 is now the Margaritaville Tailgating Grill. Same great grill, just different colors and theme. And if green is not your favorite color, see our video tutorial HERE on how you can customize a Margaritaville Tailgating Grill to your own team colors.