Pops is a man with a deep-rooted, 50+ year history in the art of tailgating. His loyalty is to The Ohio State University. This is where he graduated from college in and where he has posted up in the same zone tailgating ever since. We gave him a ring to get his tips on how to give’r when tailgating.
Pops Tip #1: “You’ve gotta set up in the same place, week to week … and season to season.”
Consistency establishes an old-school “pin” for fans and friends to come on by. You never know who will drop in and every week there is a surprise. It could be a classmate from 40 years ago, an old family friend, or an out-of-town visitor … who are all brought together over cold beer, grilled bratwurst and fellowship that goes way beyond the sporting event.
Pops Tip #2: “A good tailgate wears you down … by the end of the day, you are whipped!”
Running a proper tailgate requires tons of planning, effort and most of all, dedication. Over time it evolves into a thing of beauty. Lady Di, Pops’ partner in crime, is to thank for keeping it all together, ensuring that the operation runs like a well-oiled machine (additional shout out to Timboq, Kelley and the other “supafans” who make magic happen every Saturday, rain or shine).
That said, there is always room to iterate, improve or mix things up. Prime example: dish TV allows for people to watch the game from the parking lot, enabling more to enjoy the scene, even if they can’t get a ticket to the game.
Pops Tip #3: “You’ve got to get there early … for an 8 pm game, I’d say shoot for 10 am arrival.”
Preparation and experience come into play here as you have to bring everything you need for the day. Pops loves to run a grill, often with burgers and brats … lots of brats (current record for brat consumption at Pops’ Tailgate is held by the infamous James “Jimmy” Kirch with 6 Bahama Mamas). Others roll with pre-made sammys, pulled pork, chili, BBQ, sloppy joes … the list is endless.
Pops Tip #4: “A true varsity move is to ‘fill it up again after the game is up!’”
Why sit in traffic for hours, when you can keep the paehrty going? Second-wind tailgating is not for the faint of heart, you gotta dig deep … and you just never know what will happen. Note: For Varsity double-letter status, make sure you’ve got some solid tunes and speakerbox to match.
Pops Tip #5: “Observe other tailgaters, learn from what they do, and tweak to fit your own style.”
You can incorporate some serious music and games to the scene. Cornhole is a favorite of Buckeye Fans and many make their own for their tailgate. (An aside, below is custom made Give’r cornhole set, crafted by Give’r athlete Kevin Kirch, brother of the Bratwurst Record holder from Pops’ tailgate).
Pops Tip #6: “I open my arms (and tailgate) to visitors, and love to show ‘em a good time.”
While you are cheering on your school and team, there is no time for being rude or exclusive to visiting fans. Pops has attended some incredible away games, and has been on the receiving end of this generosity. It is the way it should be … a friendly competitive spirit, especially before the game.
Pops’ Golden Rule of Tailgating: “You cannot run out of beer!”
This point cannot be understated. That said, “if you do run out of beer, it is likely the best tailgate of the season.”
BONUS “Extra Credit” TAILGATING ADVICE FROM POPS:
Three ingredients to running a Pops Approved Tailgate:
Notable tailgate scenes making Pops’ top 5:
- “The World’s Largest Tailgate,” Florida vs. Georgia … a sight to behold
- University of Oklahoma, beautiful campus and welcoming fans with an unreal spread of tailgate grub
- USC, allowing fans to set up on campus and the full fledge support of the school to encourage tailgating … and there is something nice about Southern California and sunshine in the fall
- Nebraska, “nicest people in college football,” and they have got their scene dialed when it comes to tailgating
- University of Wisconsin … “if you can make it, you will not be disappointed!” If you’re into October, be sure you’ve got the right “sweater”.
Tailgating tips that almost made the Top 7 list:
- Know the rules of the school … e.g. if you can’t have an open-flame grill or glass-bottled beverages, get that figured out in advance.
- If it is hot, you can’t have too much ice … ever!
- Tents are just as useful for shade as they are for rain … especially if posted up for the entire day.
- It never hurts to bring extras when it comes to essentials, as the “neighborhood” of tailgaters lookout for each other and you’ve got to lend a hand any chance you can. Think tongs or spatulas for grilling, a can opener, lighter, water, sunscreen, trash bags … oh, and did we mention beer?
- If there is security or cops cruising around, say hello and give ‘em a burger, soda or water. Nobody wants to be a buzz kill, so show ‘em a little love, and it’ll set the tone for the day!
If looking for a perma-invite to Pops’ tailgate, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- There is always something you can do to help. Bring some food, help clean up or re-stock the coolers with ice.
- Bring beer, and don’t let yourself become a liability.
- Say thanks, be kind to fans from both sides, and offer to help.
- It never hurts to have extra tickets…
- Come hungry, leave full.
- Sauerkraut on a bratwurst is less of an option and more of a requirement.
Closing thoughts: Have fun, be safe and enjoy the quality time spent with others. Fire up them grills, pop a top, soak in the day and most importantly … GO BUCKS!
Also, check out Pops’ Interview with Jackson Hole Community Radio. Give’r Team Member, Graham Trainor, invited Pops to be a guest on Teton Sports Talk!