Tailgates heat up as weather cools
Kyle Field frequenters say fall changes comfort, not menu
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 23:10
Tailgaters breathe in crisp autumn air as the calendar year starts to come to a close and the temperatures begin to fall. Donning extra layers and leaving the sweat stains behind, Aggies will be celebrating their team and the weather over the next few game days.
Jeff Milburn, Class of 1989, has been tailgating at A&M football games since he was a child and has not missed a home game in the last 38 years.
“I started tailgating with my mom and dad when I was eight,” Milburn said. “Now I’ve been married for 20 years and have four kids of own. My wife and I took over for my parents about seven years ago. My oldest daughter is now a senior at A&M. Between friends, family and frat brothers, we usually have 20 to 30 people for every game.”
Though Milburn enjoys the nicer weather, he said he will proudly cheer on the Aggies no matter what the temperature.
“Cold, hot, rain or shine, I’ll be there with my wife and four kids,” Milburn said. “We have a standing family rule about tailgating — we must be at the tailgate six hours before any game for mental preparation — so that’s what I call it. It’s just for fun and a family tradition.”
After spending hours enduring the heat during the early games of the season, tailgaters like Doug Keegan, Class of 1999, said they welcome the dropping temperatures.
“With the cooler air, the menu doesn’t change that much — meats off the grill and whatever sides and desserts folks bring — but it’s nice to not sit in your own sweat or have to take breaks to go stand in front of the fan,” Keegan said. “And it also means less concern about drinking water to stay hydrated for the game and more time to enjoy adult beverages — responsibly, of course. Always tailgate responsibly, Ags.”
The change in the season doesn’t alter the Aggie hospitality that is so readily shown to opposing fans, said Tammy Conflitti, Class of 1992.
“I believe the hospitality of the 12th Man will spread across the SEC,” Conflitti said. “We invite the opposing team fans to our tailgate to visit with them. I have friends in different states that have known someone that visited Aggieland and couldn’t say enough good things about being welcomed when on campus. This makes me feel great to be an Aggie. Tailgating is a time for family and friends to reconnect, laugh, play and enjoy each other’s company. I love sharing Aggie traditions with our three children and with friends that have no affiliation with Texas A&M.”
Beyond the changes brought by the weather, campus construction has forced dedicated former students like Milburn to adjust to a new locale this season.
“My wife and I have had season tickets for over 18 years, but lost our C-Parking,” Milburn said. “We had to move over to Spence Park across from Kyle Field, which forced us to change things up. We do go all out, but we bring food instead of cookout now. On the Monday before every home game, we have a conference call and I create a menu. Then I assign items for everyone to bring.”
No matter the obstacles, seasonal or otherwise, Conflitti said he would be present to support his team and his school.
“A true Aggie will make every effort to tailgate and be in the stands at kickoff,” Conflitti said. “We haven’t missed one game because of the weather.”