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Tusk to Tail: Tailgate planning includes traffic timing, tater tots and TV totes

It is a cliché but this summer has flown by. Back when we thought the Hogs had a shot at the Top 25 and a decent bowl game, the summers seemed to crawl by. But the lack of success on the field for the Hogs in recent years has worn on Tusk to Tail.

And now, there’s just three days and a wake up before the first game. That’s not much time for me to finish getting ready for the first Tusk to Tailgate of 2019.

Oh sure, we keep up with the day-to-day goings on with practice reports and such, but the general lack of anticipation is telling. We know and understand that this season is still another step in the rebuilding process, and one we just have to endure. We keep writing the checks, making small talk with friends, relatives and customers, and just keep pushing that proverbial boulder, keep moving forward. We like Coach Morris, but this season will really tell us if he can do anything at all with the talent he has begun to recruit to campus.

The relative lack of enthusiasm is a shame.

There are some great road trips on tap for 2019. Oxford, Tuscaloosa, Dallas, Lexington and Baton Rouge are all great destinations for football fans and tailgating. The big trip for Tusk to Tail this season is Lexington, Ky. Most everyone from our tailgate is trying to make that trip. It was 2009 with Bobby Petrino since our last visit there. We have planned a day for bourbon distillery tours, a day of horse races at Keeneland Park and then of course, tailgating and football on game day. Stay tuned for further details as that trip approaches.

A rare rest break for Dale Cullins, the hardest working man in tailgating.

Two weeks ago, I counted and cleaned everything, and made sure it was squared away and ready for this Saturday. One of our speakers for music had given up on this season and refused to work. I like the new speaker. It is water-resistant, which should help it survive longer than the past one, and has some lights on it, which we can use for cleanup. Everything else cleaned up well, and I did an inventory on what would be needed. I’ll knock that out over the next few days. I even dropped off the generators to have them serviced by a professional. I’m sure they all needed it.

As always, we like to make an upgrade in the off-season. I found TV bags called Gator Cases, large woven canvas bags made for carrying TVs and monitors. The bags have plenty of handles, and seem to be durable and somewhat water resistant. The 60” TVs fit like a glove and I anticipate years of service from them.

The University provided one other wrinkle to contend with this year by creating HogTown on Maple Avenue. They promise live music, happy hour pricing in a beer garden, food trucks, and plenty of activities for the kids. We have some concerns with the proximity to our tailgate, but all we can do is be prepared for drop in’s and evaluate its impact on our tailgate as the day progresses. It sounds like the UA has done a lot of work on this to ensure HogTown’s success. We, too, hope that it can be a win-win situation for everyone.

As you may already know, we like to try and match up our game day menus with our opponents. The Portland State Vikings didn’t provide a lot of options. Salmon Lox didn’t seem like a good idea in summer heat and dried fish didn’t sound appetizing at all. Our Chef Brad suggested an Asian theme, as Portland State is from the Pacific Northwest, so we are going with that. Brad calls it Chicken and Steak Yum Yum: Asian spiced meat sautéed, mixed with salad greens and green onions, served over a bed of tater tots. We will add some side dishes and chicken nuggets and call it good.

We will load up the trailer by 7:30 a.m. Saturday and hope to unload on campus by 8 a.m. That should have us up and running close to 9 a.m. with a good amount of help. As always, don’t forget your lists and check them twice.

The UA will shut down traffic patterns by 11 a.m. Saturday morning, so keep that in mind as you approach campus. Razorback Road and Maple Avenue were widened and resurfaced in the off season so that should quicken up things after the game.

I’ll be throwing in more tailgate tips, product recommendations that help make tailgating easy, and organizational tips to speed clean up and packing as the season moves along. I’ve got travel tips for all of the away game destinations, so please check back for that as well.

Go Hogs, Beat Vikings!

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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