Tusk to Tail: Prepped for the Rams, and hoping to avoid HogTown headaches

I am a planner and a list maker. I’ve never met a list I couldn’t wait to scratch off. I have started tailgate checklists for the Colorado State game this Saturday, the San Jose State game next week, and four separate lists for the Kentucky game a month from now in Lexington.

The Kentucky lists includes room assignments and dinner reservations for 20 of us, bourbon distillery tour stops and groupings, plus all the car and tailgating gear travel requirements. Keeping various lists allows me to sustain a good time management balance of work and life. I add to them as I go, and if I’m near a store while out working, I can run in, grab the required items, and keep going about my work day.

The advent of HogTown on Maple street has thrown a few curve balls at my efficient planning. On the whole, I think HogTown was positive and well-attended by our loyal fans. The street festival provides a nice distraction to those who arrive early to games, but don’t have the ability to attend tailgates. That being said, we did feel like some adjustments are warranted.

First, I think we will have to push to arrive earlier at our new unloading spot. It took a lot of extra time to unload, which really threw the entire morning off. Additionally, we had a few extra uninvited guests last week, so we are considering issuing wrist bands to those who belong. We are really hoping University of Arkansas officials will follow through on extra security measures they promised us after the Portland State game, such as extra fencing and signage that clearly marks the area for private tailgates. It’s not that we don’t appreciate a walk-up guest, but they should at least be people we know.

However, our single biggest problem last week was the noise created from the food trucks in HogTown. We in Victory Village are required to have generators that produce minimal noise. However, several of the nearest trucks were using loud, large industrial generators, and it was awful. We even had a few guests depart for home before the game because the noise and exhaust had given them a headache.

Lastly, we would appreciate some spacing between the food trucks so we could still see the stadium. The view and location are the main reasons we tailgate in Victory Village. But overall, moving the trucks would be further down the list if adjustments are actually being made.

The weather is looking acceptable, but still hotter than I would like for a 3 p.m. kickoff. We’ll add some fans to the tailgate to help keep some air moving through the tent. The forecast is partly cloudy with a high of 85, and I’m sure the humidity will be up there in the uncomfortable range.

The only positive with the heat and humidity is that the Colorado State Rams will not be accustomed to it. Perhaps that will wear them down a bit, because the Hogs still need a few breaks to win some games this season.

Chef Brad will smoke some brisket and pulled pork for us, so we will throw in some bratwursts, sides, cheese dip, and desserts to round it off. We have some Lost Forty Beer left over from the Ole Miss trip, so at least that part of the list is already handled.

As far as a tailgating tips in the heat, be sure to stock up on sun screen, Gatorade for the kids, plenty of waters for the adults, and extra ice. As a general rule of thumb, I try to bring at least three non-alcoholic drinks for each guest, and that does not include the cooler of soft drinks. The afternoon kickoff will help with that. If it was later, I’d recommend four to five extra drinks.

Try to stay away from cold creamy dips and desserts which may spoil in the heat or require too much extra ice to keep cool. Chip bags should be kept sealed or at least clipped shut once opened, as the humidity will make them soft pretty quickly. Consider an extra cooler just to keep extra ice for later in the day.

It promises to be another fun day on The Hill and I look forward to seeing what Nick Starkel can do with a full 60 minutes and not just a half.

Go Hogs, Beat Rams!

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.

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