According to Chris Warner, author of A Tailgater's Guide to SEC Football, the origins of tailgating emanate from post civil war spectators who rode by horse drawn carriages to the first organized football game between Rutgers and Princeton in the fall of 1869. Those early pioneers began the tradition of feasting before sporting events that has become a weekly way of life for many fans. But what we wanted to investigate was not just the lineage of tailgating's history but also come up with a solid blueprint on how to make the most of what has become one of America's favorite past times.
With that in mind we turned to Dave Lamm, the founder of TailgatingIdeas.com. Dave is a die hard Chargers fan, a hardcore tailgater and as close to an expert on the subject you're going to find. He was kind enough to sit down with Mantuitive to discuss a strategy for getting the most out of your tailgate, things to always be aware of and accessories to optimize your experience.
What did John Wooden say? Failing to prepare is preparing to fail? Well the same goes for tailgating, according to Dave:
I would say preparation and planning is the best way to prepare for a perfect tailgate. Underestimating the number of guests or how much ice you will need puts the damper on any tailgate party. Failing to estimate how much charcoal you will need or how much food to bring it the biggest tailgating faux pas there is. I suggest making a check list of item you think you will need and packing the car the night before. That way you have extra time to remember something you may need and ensures an on time departure which in turn means more tailgating time in the parking lot.
Go Big or Go Home
If you're looking for some new twists and ideas for your own tailgating extravaganza you might want to consider going all out.
If you are really trying to go all out most people will rent an RV. That way they can have all the comforts of home including their own restroom, a full kitchen including a refrigerator and TVs to watch the early games while tailgating. If going the RV route is not in your budget you definitely need to have a decent sized grill, large cooler fully stocked, plenty of chairs for people to sit and shoot the breeze and some sort of a tent to protect from the sun in the early months of football season and to protect from rain or snow in the later months. I've seen people go as far as to use portable wet bars, portable flat screen TVs that get the full compliment of early football games, even blenders that mix up drink using a cordless drill. Honestly, if you can dream it, someone has probably come up with a way to do it in the parking lot.
On the craziest rig Dave's ever seen:
Probably the craziest contraption I have seen was a guy rigged up a chainsaw motor to power up a blender and would make margaritas with a chainsaw. Motorized beer coolers are pretty cool in that people can party hop without being too far away from a cold one. Some tailgaters will break out the deep fat fryers and will fry an entire turkey in the parking lot. In the college ranks, especially in the SEC, you will see huge grills and smokers on flat bed trailers that would rival the smokers you find at authentic BBQ restaurants. Another cool thing is that the University of Tennessee and the University of Washington both play in stadiums that are close to water. Both of those places encourage what's known as "sterngating" where tailgaters will tailgate on boats instead of in parking lots behind cars.
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