Below is a tailgating story from one of our customers, Larry Roos. He details his experience at an SEC football game…
My entire life I have loved sports. I used to watch televised SEC football games but never got the chance to attend one. I attended Southeast Missouri State and with the exception of playing Mizzou once a year, OVC games were the only games I got to see. My life changed in 2010 when I went to my first SEC football game. Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Georgia bulldogs have always been known rivals and once a year they face off in the infamous “Bulldog bash”.
A few buddies and I drove to Starkville Mississippi the day before the big game. We arrived around 11:00am to a phone call from our friend saying that our help was required at the Junction (the junction is the center of all tailgating and pre-game festivities at the university). We immediately noticed sidewalks packed with hundreds of loyal fans, all holding tents and chairs, but the grassy fields within the sidewalks were completely vacant. It was then that our hosts for the weekend explained what I was trying to comprehend. Tailgating is such a big deal at Mississippi State that you can’t physically set up your tailgate until a specific time, and ON the second, hundreds of fans rush out to claim their territory for the game. The cap gun sounded and we rushed out to get a spot close to the stadium. A group of local Mississippians had set up faster than us and quickly came to help us. Once our tents were set up we lowered them to the ground and left for the evening.
After we settled in and ate dinner we put on our going out clothes and found ourselves in the heart of the party scene. The entire night was filled with inebriated fans screaming “Maroooooooooon!!! White!!!” Avoiding the smell of whiskey in the air was impossible, but we weren’t complaining. We hit a few popular bars to scope out the scene but called it a night early knowing that we had a long game day ahead of us.
We all managed to wake up around 8 to shower and get ready. We were at the Junction by 10:00am with a good 8 hours of tailgating and socializing ahead. The passion every student had for their football team was incredible. I was in a sea of maroon. As I walked through different tents to look around, every single group of people asked us to join them for a cocktail and snacks… Southern hospitality at its finest.
We made it back to our tent just in time to see the players walking to the stadium. One of their biggest traditions is to watch every player walk past a statue of the original mascot, Bully the bulldog, and pet it for good luck. As they partake in this legendary tradition they high-five every fan possible as they make their way to the locker room. After another hour or so we lowered the tent and headed to the game.
Thousands of fans screamed the national anthem at the top of their lungs as F16 Fighter jets engaged in a flyby nearly blowing our eardrums. Soldiers with parachutes appeared from the sky landing right in the center of the stadium. It was impossible to stay seated. The anticipation alone from the jets was enough to keep you glued to every single play. After a win from the home team and a full day in the sun we headed back to our residence and called it a night. Although I have always been a sports fan, this experience is what really fed my addiction of actually going to games. There is something about the smells, sounds, and people at sporting events that just can’t be duplicated on television.