Football game days and tailgating have become social events that take almost as much planning as a wedding. You need a great menu, plenty of adult beverages and a rig outfitted with a flat-screen and a flashy grill. All in the name of cheering on your team.
We caught up with some TCU tailgaters before the Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium and discovered that for them, tailgating at a Horned Frogs game is basically a way of life.
Gino de Farro, 35, TCU graduate
Describe your tailgate setup.
It is a 16-foot trailer thats actually an old propane tank we fashioned into a smoker, two star burners off the back for a stove, a grill, a sink and a setup for the satellite TV.
Do you do the same type of tailgate setup for every TCU home game at Amon Carter Stadium?
We do, and there will typically be between 60 and 70 people.
Is this your first tailgate at AT&T Stadium?
No, we were here when TCU played Oregon State (2010) and BYU (2011). But today we will have over 100 people, so it will be our biggest and most crowded that we have done.
How does tailgating differ from AT&T Stadium to Amon Carter?
Over at Amon Carter, we have our same spot for every game, and for today, we got our tickets through TCU and that gives us access to this particular lot, which is on a first-come, first-served basis. Tailgating is only allowed in the grass areas along the edge of the lot. We arrived at 11 this morning and the lot itself did not open until 2. Basically, we waited it out in the street to get his spot.
What time do you go into the stadium?
We always go inside an hour before kickoff.
Whats on the menu today?
We have about 30 pounds of pork shoulders, 50 pounds of brisket, jalapeño poppers, grilled veggies for the ladies salads, fruits, cookies, and chips and dip.
What is your most memorable tailgate experience?
We went down to Austin last season for the UT game and we have a couple of families involved in our group, so we all had Thanksgiving together out in the parking lot. It was a bit different since we all usually have the formal Thanksgiving and obviously the game was great (TCU defeated Texas 20-13).
Dave Robinson, proud TCU parent
How long have you been doing the TCU tailgate?
I am a big TCU fan because of my daughter. Shes a senior and this is our fourth year with the same four families.
How many people do you usually have in your tailgate party?
About 25 to 30 regulars that chip in and actually show up to every home game.
So you do every home game?
We come up for every home game from Tyler, and two road games each year.
Do you have a most memorable tailgate experience from a road game?
Oklahoma State fans went above and beyond in treating us well. Without a doubt, they treated us the best of any road game we have attended.
What is your most memorable game at Amon Carter Stadium?
Id have to say last years homecoming game against Texas Tech. It was one of the better games on the field (we lost in overtime) and there was just something about that day, being the first homecoming in the Big 12, that gave it a unique feel.
How does tailgating at AT&T Stadium compare to Amon Carter?
This stinks. I got here at 8:30 this morning and they would not let us in the gates until 2. So we were set up by 9:45 and we still had to wait until 2 to actually enter the parking lot and start cooking. It really is not a college atmosphere and is definitely not a college venue. Amon Cater is the only way to fly. When you are at your home base, everybody has a system down; they know when to show up, what to bring and where to go. Everything is so smooth in your own back yard.
What is your favorite tailgating dish to make?
We are barbecue fans because its a Texas tradition, but everybody also tries to come up with a specialized dip every time we have a tailgate to make each tailgate different.
Talk about your trailer design and what went into it.
We wanted to do something unique that would fit every game. It has flat-screen HDTVs with surround sound and satellite for when we go to road games, a gas grill on the back, hot and cold water, mood lights, and a restroom in the front of the trailer.
What is the most difficult aspect of putting this tailgate setup together each week?
The hardest part is setting it up and tearing it down, but we have the same group that helps every time so we have it down to a science now.
Tailgating is a lot of work. Why do you keep doing it after all this time?
I guess I just havent grown up yet.