Tailgating Challenge – Accepted

Taking Tailgating to the Next Level

After spending the previous UTSA football season attending and tailgating at every game I thought we had reached our tailgating pinnacle.  Not much else we could do that we hadn’t already done (ignoring purchasing a tailgating trailer, that is).  But then, during basketball season, we had a number of conversations with various members of the UTSA Athletic Department.  These conversations culminated with a challenge by Lynn Hickey for us to try to “step it up a notch.”  Create a family friendly tailgating experience that is above the rest.

Far be it for us to not accept this challenge.  So Linda and I started brainstorming ideas that would take us to the next level.  The first thing we worked on was to get a larger reserved tailgating spot.  Next we took some inspiration from John, one of the students from the previous year who jokingly said that we were trying to go all SEC on the tailgating.  With that thought in mind, we researched what some of the SEC schools had from a tailgating perspective.  It didn’t take long for us to come up with a few general themes all around altering the overall image and vibe of the tailgate – Decor, decor, decor, food and did I mention decor?  Let’s face it; if you have been around tailgating, there are a lot of really good cooks that put out some great food.  But a lot of them don’t do much in the decor area.  This tends to be what sticks out when you walk the tailgating areas.  The tents with lots of school spirit (colors) and creative things made or purchased to separate them from the rest of the pack.  So we took this concept and came up with four main things to concentrate on:

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So after more hours than I want to admit of surfing the internet, we located the perfect products, starting with portable bar-height pub tables and spandex covers.  Throw in some acrylic vases with colored crystals and flowers.  Add a lot of silver serving trays, bowls and serving utensils.  And finish it off with additional mesh banners to help frame-up the key areas while masking the cars and other tailgates in the background.  Now we did have to spend some time trying to figure out the best way to layout all of this stuff along with two cars and fit it in our space.  So, yes, much to the dismay of some of my coworkers, we did a trial tailgate setup in our driveway and garage.  Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do sometime. 

This past weekend we unveiled the new setup.  It took over 2 hours to setup (too long) and just over an hour to tear down and pack.  But it was worth it.  To make the overall tailgate even better, the other groups we tailgate with took the spots next to us.  This included RowdyTalk.com and individuals IBD, PB3, RoadrunnerConnor, the Dyer’s and I’m sure I missed a few others.  But overall this gave us over 900sqft of tent shade with grills on one side, our spread on the other side and flags flying high over top.  The families had a good time.  The adults could hang out in the lounge on one side, or head over to Connor’s air conditioned parlor.   Sit by the cell-phone charging stations and relax or hang around the grills and tables of food and beverages (I’ll let Linda do her bit on the food in a separate blog post).

Next on my list is to figure out how we can reduce the setup time.  We spent a fair amount of time making little changes here and there and stopping to talk with different folks dropping by, so it wasn’t the full 2 hours to setup anyway.  But we will speed it up.  We know what we liked and what worked and didn’t work and we can pull in some help from the other crews. 

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We will not be attending the away game at UTEP this weekend, so we effectively get a bye-week.  After that we have LaTech at home and then on the road to tailgate at Southern Miss.  So until next time.



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