Tusk to Tail: Notes on tailgate prep for ‘frustrated’ Hog fans
What a trip. Last weekend in Lexington will go down as one of the best road trips Tusk to Tail has ever taken. We had three different traveling parties that met up at different times during the week for dinner, bourbon tours, and at the horse track on Friday.
Everyone came together for the tailgate, with about 25 of us there for most of the day. The party swelled to closer to 50 as game time approached.
It was a beautiful day in Lexington, and we managed to snag a spot fairly close to the stadium with plentiful shade and lots of foot traffic. Red State Barbecue catered in some tasty smoked ribs, chicken, and pulled pork, as well as some delicious banana pudding.
Sadly, the game did not end up as we had hoped. It was always going to be the cherry on top, as far as I was concerned, but it ended up being the exact opposite. The Hogs raise our hopes before once again dashing them. I can’t really put my finger on one thing that this team needs to do to be successful. There are still a large number of tasks that this coaching staff seems incapable of correcting, either through talent or scheme. I’m afraid that will be the case again this week.
Auburn and the Gus Bus are coming through the tunnel as that proverbial light and I think Gus will bury his old friend Chad. Auburn has a defensive line and that will leave the Hogs one dimensional and vulnerable. As for the Hogs’ defense, Auburn’s wide receivers will have a fun day doing what they want with the young secondary the Hogs have. I’m guessing 51-10 Auburn.
As gloomy as it appears on the field, the tailgating might be just as sad. As of today, there is a 40% chance of morning showers. Tie that in with an 11 a.m. kick off and a 2-4 team, and I think Hunter will be lucky if 30,000 people show up. I’ll be lucky if we have 30 at our tent before game time.
We have decided to pack the trailer up on Friday afternoon so all we need to grab in the early morning hours will be ice. With a small crowd, I’ll be able to cut back on some of the gear, so that will go quicker too. With small numbers, our usual business model does not work. You need at least 40 to 50 attendees to provide a budget of about $500. With less than that, you have to have everyone pitch in a little more.
Generally, we ask everyone to bring a side dish. This week we will ask for a few breakfast casseroles and sweets such as donuts, muffins and a fruit tray. I’ll cook up some bacon the night before to replace the usual nuggets, and we should be good. I’ll use the bulk of our budget to pay for alcohol and mixers. Casey will have everything needed for a nice Bloody Mary bar, and I’ll grab a few extra juices to offer a small variety of mimosas.
Remember that with the later games we experienced in September, the timing allowed a lot of people to space out their arrival on campus. With an 11 a.m. kickoff, everyone is trying to get to campus at 10 a.m. That is going to be trouble, especially if it is raining. Come earlier than you think you need to. Also, traffic will be shut down or turned one way at 7 a.m., so be sure to plan for that if you don’t have a parking pass or plan to drive near the stadium to get to your parking location.
All and all, it will be a nice tailgate and we will be there to wave the flag for this team, despite all of the negativity that has begun to swirl. We are still fans, just frustrated fans.
Go Hogs, Beat Tigers!
Editor’s note: Now in its eighth year, Tusk to Tail is 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. The primary focus of Tusk to Tail will be to follow the Hogs through the fans’ perspective with their insightful, irreverent, smart-alecky and sometimes practical style. Tusk to Tail sponsors are the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship program and Turn Key Construction Management. The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter and Instagram, all @TuskToTail.