A tailgate in the crowd
Groups use varying strategies to draw attention
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 23:09
In another testament to the dedication of the 12th Man, Aggie tailgaters were voted the No. 1 tailgaters in the nation by “Tailgater Magazine.”
But making a tailgate stand out in a sea of “No. 1 tailgaters” can prove to be a challenge. Students, parents, friends and rivals all pitch their tents, light their grills, paint their bodies and make signs in an attempt to be the most unique.
Blake Johnson, senior agribusiness major, made signs for College Gameday before the A&M-Alabama game to draw crowds to his tailgate. One read “Show Me Your TDs” with a photo of Johnny Manziel in a jersey-ripping pose. The other had a photo-shopped head of Manziel on Miley Cyrus’ body in her now infamous “Wrecking Ball” music video.
“I went to Gameday at 5:20 a.m. and I got so many pictures with people,” Johnson said. “Everyone loved these signs.”
Strangers crowded around the tailgate to take photos with these tongue-in-cheek posters.
“A buddy of mine made the ‘Show Me Your TDs’ catch phrase for when Johnny [Manziel] pulls at his shirt,” Johnson said.
Inside the tents, Johnson showed off a homemade TV stand he had personally made.
“I took an old military wagon and stripped the sides off of it, drilled some wood to it to make this really cool TV stand,” Johnson said.
Other tailgates went all out, making signs and coming up with unique tailgate names. “The Fifth Quarter,” set against the University Center parking garage, hosted generations of Aggies from the Class of 1979, 2006 and 2008.
“We even have some future Class of 2033 and 2034,” said Anne Lowe, Class of 2006, about her two daughters.
“We have been tailgating for about 10 years,” said Jared Lowe, Class of 2006. “We used to be right up next to the stadium but since the construction, we moved over here.”
The Lowes have lived in College Station for three years, which makes tailgating a simpler process.
“We tailgate every week,” Jared said. “We used to live in Waco, but we moved back here three years ago which makes tailgating easier because we don’t have to travel.”
Jared, a third-generation Aggie, said their tailgate name was born after an extended period of time and many email exchanges.
“We were drunk,” Jared said. “Our name just kind of happened. We sent about 50 emails back and forth between everyone doing the tailgate.”
Corley Walter, Class of 2007, showcased a distinct, homemade selection of food at his tailgate — from brisket to deer sausage to dove.
“Everything we have here to eat was pretty much killed yesterday,” Walter said. “This is our fourth year in a row to tailgate as a family, we have about 30 people here with us.”
Walter said he had never seen more people tailgating in Spence Park as he did before the Alabama game.
“This just makes me wish I was a student all the time,” Walter said.
Connor Pittman, sophomore political science major and Ben Jones, sophomore Blinn Team student were in charge of grilling at the Brotherhood of Christian Aggies tailgate.
Pittman said they tried to hype up their tailgate through social media so more people would come hang out before the games.
“We have been blowing this up on Facebook all week,” Pittman said. “We have been going since 8 a.m. We are one of the only tailgates where there are different people here each week. This was by far the biggest tailgate we have done. We have fed about 500 to 600 people.”
Some Alabama fans were impressed by the Aggie turnout and the hospitality everyone showed.
“We have had such a blast,” said Hunter Johnson, an Alabama fan. “We went to Northgate and stopped at O’Bannons and The Chicken. Everyone has been really nice. Some guys even offered us a ride on their golf cart back to our tailgate.”
With the fourth-largest attendance in Kyle Field history — 87,596 people — and thousands more mingling about tailgates, A&M fans lived up to their national tailgating title.