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Tusk to Tail: More than 5,000 miles later, we near the end of the season that coulda been worse

story by Dale Cullins

Editor’s note: Welcome to the fourth season of Tusk to Tail – the sport of tailgating as organized, performed and perfected by a group of Hog fans who have been tailgating together sober and otherwise for more than a decade. Members of the Tusk to Tail Team are Sean Casey, Jack Clark, Dale Cullins, Greg Houser, Craig May, David Rice and Mark Wagner. Tusk to Tail is managed by Talk Business & Politics. Legal representation is iffy at best and professional psychological help is typically ignored, if not mocked.

The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter — @TuskToTail

5,506 miles. That’s the number of miles on my Sequoia this year spent chasing the Hogs. I was a bit anxious to add up the miles, but my curiosity won out. It has all gone by so fast that at times it truly does seem like a blur.

I have carried tents, chairs, flat screen TVs, coolers, generators, and fellow Tusk to Tailers to Arlington, Knoxville, Tuscaloosa, Oxford and Baton Rouge, not to mention a run to Little Rock and the six stops in Fayetteville. We saw wins in three of those road trips which is better than most years, and a whole lot more fun.

The Hogs are sitting at 6-5 on the season, which will come to an end Friday (Nov. 27) on The Hill. The Missouri Tigers are making their first trip to Fayetteville in decades. With our defense, this game could go either way. Arkansas has the better offense and are 14 point favorites, but you just never know. Since we are not running a predictions column this week, I will tell you that Tusk to Tail unanimously picks the Razorbacks to prevail.

After the game, we will just have to wait until Dec. 6 to find which bowl game the SEC governing body decides the Hogs should play. I hope it is someplace drivable and the date works out so my family can attend with me. I’d be OK with Memphis or Nashville, though both are a bit too far north for that time of year. With the luck we have had so far this year, I would be willing to guarantee it will be cold and wet. The best we can do is hope for a win, as it sure makes the ride home seem a whole lot quicker.

Dale Cullins, the hardest working man in tailgating.

Dale Cullins, the hardest working man in tailgating.

This is a really short week for tailgate preparation. The holiday takes out a day, and then the game is moved up a day for TV coverage. I’ll be doing my best to get everything accomplished by Wednesday night.

The weather for Friday once again really doesn’t look good. It will be 47 degrees with heavy rains and potential flooding. Regardless, we are pushing forward with a 7:30 a.m. arrival. The 1:30 p.m. kickoff will compress everything, so it will be all hands on deck to get things squared away. Then we can concentrate on enjoying ourselves one last time this season.

Now that it has turned cooler, and with everyone out enjoying family on Thursday, we will go with a simple menu of chicken and chili. It’s super easy, and who doesn’t like a hot bowl of chili on a cold fall day while watching football? It will take four generators to keep it all going this Friday, with multiple crock pots and heated warming plates for the chicken.

Be sure you know your power load on each generator to keep from tripping one. My rule of thumb is no more than three warming devices per generator. I also usually marry one over to the TV generator as the televisions don’t pull much power. You don’t want to waste that unit’s excess power.

Also, try to get your generators out away from your tent if you can. Even the Honda “silent” units we have produce noise. When you have four of them going it can get pretty loud in your tent. It may take a little more time to run some cords, but in the end it will keep the noise down and add to your guest’s enjoyment of your tailgate.

Last weekend we really went through the coffee, hot cider, and hot chocolate bar. I’ll make sure those are restocked for this game, and provide a Bloody Mary bar because of the somewhat early arriving crowd.

That reminds me of one last tip for the season. When you have the early kickoffs, the traffic is going to be bad. Folks are all trying to arrive on campus about two hours before game time to get parked and to allow time for walking  up to the stadium. Keeping that in mind, try to arrive 2-1/2 hours before, or even earlier to beat the rush. The later games are generally not as bad for traffic, as the crowd has been spread out over the full day. So my advice to you is to arrive early, find a tailgate, and enjoy the day. It’s the last one on campus until Sept. 3 of 2016.

Go Hogs. Beat Tigers!