Friday, November 7, 2008

The Tailgate of Champions

Most of you, if not all of you, who read this blog know that Chuck is a Texas A&M football redass fanatic. So, he goes down to College Station every weekend that there is a home game and he and his best friend Tim set up this outrageously ridiculous tailgate. I've been as patient as I can be while through the years he has announced one addition or another to the tailgate which started out with a cooker (owned by tim's family business). First they transformed the cooker into an Aggie cooker. To me, it is just a cooker. To others, this is an Aggie man's dream. People actually used to come by and take pictures of it. At first I thought it was weird. Now I'm used to it. Then the guys decided to add an Army Truck, then it was a console TV and satelite dish, then it was chainsawing a pair of longhorns off, then it was massive lighting equipment. Also throw in minor additions for the sake of atmosphere and comfort: a lava lamp, an Aggie garden gnome, tents, fans when it's hot, a heater when it's cold, more folding chairs than could ever be necessary. Chuck even built bar tables with special holes to hold your drink while you eat - this project remained uncompleted in my garage for approximately 1 year even though Chuck insisted that it had to be done THAT weekend. I am somewhat disappointed that these tables never made it to the tailgate because I think it would have been a great addition.

This season, some regulars at the tailgate contributed to the hullabaloo by purchasing and refurbishing an old fire truck and we purchased (as mentioned previously) our country estate (aka a single wide manufactured home with a red deck close to campus). All this in addition to our four season tickets (plus Tim's season tickets) located on the 50 yard line, first deck, 6th row. Plus, the food that is always present: meat, meat, oreo cookies, and more meat. If you want something other than meat or beer, you probably ought to bring it yourself. Plan to give your colon a good workout.

We've had many assorted guests to the tailgate over the years: family, friends, students, extended family, neighbors, co-workers, strangers, thieves (gotta love hungry college students), the priest who married Chuck and me, etc. And it has been a pleasure to have one and all.
I think one of the strangest things to me is when people started stopping by the tailgate to take their picture in front of the army truck. Aggie fans or fans for the opposing team will readily pose in front of the truck and have their picture taken. Either they think it is totally redass (which is good) or they think it is totally hick and crazy and they want to memorialize the fact that someone would actually bother to do this. Either way, I'm still a little stunned that people like it so well. Some politely ask if they can take their picture with the truck. Others just stop as if it is a tourist attraction and pose for the picture. It is strange.
For me, in the last few years as my attendance has declined with the increase of children in tow, I have experienced what it is like to come to the tailgate in the middle of the party. One time I showed up with a stroller full of kids and started looking around among the 40-50 people (it was a big tailgate day) for my husband. As I looked about some nice Aggie greeted me and offered me a beer saying, "Do you want a beer? This is Chuck's tailgate and he won't mind. He's cool." I smiled and said, "Yeah, that would be great." I later tracked down my husband.
Another time, one of our friends brought a co-worker to the tailgate and the co-worker insisted that I was his cousin. I can't tell you how many times he said (despite my assurances otherwise), "No, really, I think you're my cousin. Do you have family from Whatever Town?" Me, "Uh, no. Pretty sure about this." Him, "Are you sure?" Me, "yeah, pretty sure. My family is from X, Y, & Z." We did this for about 15 minutes until I determined that we had to exhaust all possible places where we could have met so that we could move on to another subject. Turns out that he went to my highschool. We weren't friends, but I recognized his name and he dated my "little sister's" (from drill team) older sister (hope you could follow that). So, that was settled.

This season, the tailgate was featured by some news channel out of Houston in a contest for best tailgate. A year or two ago, Chuck and the tailgate were pictured in a book about Big 12 Tailgates. (Yes, if you can find it, he will autograph it for you). And now, the granddaddy of all honors, the tailgate is supposed to be visited by ABC Sports on Saturday between 9 and 11 a.m. prior to the game.

So, for all of you who are wondering what my 1/4 community property looks like (which, is really limited strictly to the mobile home and the Army Truck) here are some pictures of the tailgate:

My friend Robin and her son Daylan are in a couple of the pictures. Sorry Robin; hope you don't mind.

This is the Army Truck. There are two beer taps on the side and the guys keep two kegs of beer inside in a sub-zero freezer or something like that. The guys can give you more details on the truck. The kids like to pretend to drive it. Oh, and we once caught a couple trying to get busy in the front seat. Never a dull moment.

The truck tops out at 55 mph so it is more efficient to haul it down on a semi at the beginning of the season and haul it back to the Falls at the end of the season (where it is stored). During the football season the guys rent storage in town and keep it all there.

This is a closer picture of the front of the truck.

This is the back (with our friends loading things up). Each week the guys replace the name of the university we are playing so that it accurately reads, "Beat the Hell Outta [insert appropriate college/university here].

And this is a picture (with Robin and Daylan) of the new Fire Truck. I might get this wrong, but I think it has to be filled up with gas every hour on the freeway.

Sadly, because of my lack of attendance this year (due to soccer), I can't find pictures of Chuck sawing off horns, or pictures of the most classic piece of equipment to the tailgate: the cooker. I will have to locate some pictures in order to provide a fully accurate picture/description of the tailgate - or I guess you can see it on ABC Sports this weekend if we're lucky.

So, as we proceed to the final home game of the season (which Luke and Chuck will attend and Evie and I will not), I leave you with one parting remark: BEAT THE HELL OUTTA OU!

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