Tusk to Tail 2014: Riding high with our ‘War Pigs’ and a 66-proof wonder tonic
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Some time Saturday morning, I heard a familiar but unsettling sound coming from Razorback stadium across the street. They began blaring music through the PA system, and the opening track was Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” It sounded excellent in the empty stadium, and would make a great addition to the game time playlist. The sirens wailing in the introduction should certainly intimidate the opposition.
But on this cool rainy morning, played about the time we were pouring our first drink, the sound seemed to serve as a warning: Extreme inebriation ahead.
If the recap of the LSU game read like a love letter to Fireball Cinnamon Whisky (I called the stuff a “damned wonder tonic”), what happened Saturday may be pornographic.
Before Fireball became a mainstay at the Tusk to Tail bar, the Razorbacks were on a 17-game conference losing streak. Longest in the nation. Since discovering the potion, the Hogs have reeled off unprecedented back-to-back shutouts of ranked opponents, becoming bowl-eligible in the process. We used to be losers until we discovered Fireball Cinnamon Whisky.
Jesse Reilly is a Hog fan who works for Fireball. Reilly hooked the Tusk to Tail crew up with all kinds of swag, including warm hats and hoodies, all adorned with Fireball’s signature devil logo. The Fireball flag, flasks and shotglasses converted the Big Top bar to a veritable sin den. The walls were buttoned down, and things were heating up as everyone gathered at the bar to shoot the Devil’s juice. Photographs were taken and tweeted to Fireball in celebration of our alcoholism.
Expecting a low turnout at this week’s Tusk to Tailgate, Dale Cullins bought the half gallon-sized bottle with the intent of taking whatever was left over to Friday’s game at Missouri. About an hour before kickoff, the bottle was drained, forcing our guests to suckle the vapors from the bottle like a drying teat. I was present for the final round, topping each shot glass with the last few spicy drops.
The great thing about Fireball is that it tastes identical to Cinnamon Scope. I’m going to start carrying a bottle around in my car to use before important meetings. Fireball is also 66 proof, a fact that may seem relevant if you start popping shots at 11 a.m. After polishing off the bottle, I briefly threatened to run onto the field wearing little more than the Fireball flag and hat if the Hogs won.
But as game time approached, it was becoming fairly obvious that I wouldn’t be running anywhere. Binge drinking takes its toll on even the heartiest of tailgaters. After climbing atop a table to start Hog Calls last week, I said, “There should be a warning label on Fireball that it may lead one to taunt the laws of gravity.”
On Saturday, gravity won. Due in part to the wet, slippery conditions and perhaps a smidge too much Devil’s juice, I found myself planking the bleachers upon exit. There was no injury but to my ego, and I was back on my feet headed immediately to the sin den.
After breaking down the Big Top, we loaded into Jason Parker’s Suburban for the ride back to Little Rock. I was nodding off in the back before we merged onto I-49.
Saturday was the last home tailgate, and possibly our final outdoor gathering, at least for the regular season. Weather conditions sound miserable at Mizzou, and may not be much better at our bowl destination, possibly forcing us to cozy pre-game sports bars.
For 14 weeks, Tusk to Tail has drowned our sorrows on the plains of Auburn and raised a victory toast in the desolate wasteland of Lubbock. Friday will be our first visit to Columbia for a game, literally our last stop around the SEC block.
I’m not sure what was the bigger upset Saturday, the Hogs destroying the eighth-ranked Rebels, or me getting my ass kicked by a day of drinking.