Tailgate of the Week: GA Tech

By Jennifer DiMeo | 1 Comment(s) | Posted

Our Roving Tailgater, Jenn DiMeo, is out and about before home games looking for Chapel Hill's best tailgate. Before the Virginia Tech game, she found a group of tailgaters who have been inviting her to check out their event for several weeks. If your group would like to be part of our next "research," send Jenn an email. After the Georgia Tech game, you'll be able to vote on which of our weekly winners is your favorite. And the winner of that vote gets a fully catered tailgate at the Nov. 24 Maryland game courtesy of McCall's Barbecue and Seafood

About the Tailgate Party:
This Tailgate of the Week focuses on how friends are made based on tailgating location and a common interest in supporting Carolina football. Sal Galante, John Tatum, and Tony McCurdy might not plan their tailgates together, but they are certain to look out for each other and make sure to help save a space for the other so they can set up their tents next to each other. This year, unfortunately, Rick Taylor has not been able to tailgate with them, and was not there before the Georgia Tech game. Taylor is fighting his own battle with cancer. With Taylor unable to attend more games the Galante-Tatum tailgate has decreased in numbers.

The McCurdy tailgate includes: Nancy & Roger Patterson, Peggy & Smith Massey, Brooke & Lisa McCurdy, Sherri & Kelly York, Harrison & Danny Sullivan. The duel tailgates love the first tailgate of the season to reconnect with each other and catch up on what happened over the summer.

Setting up a Prime Location:
Diehard tailgaters want the best spots! The dueling tailgates are set up in the Bowles lot. More specifically, they set up against the sidewalk closest to Kenan Drive at the corner of the lot. Tatum describes the feeling of complete anxiousness and fearfulness when turning down Skipper Bowles Drive from Manning heading down the hill. These feelings quickly dissipate when he see his favorite tailgate spot clear of other tailgaters. After a sign of relief he is ready to set up.

16+ Seasons and Running:
The majority of the group started tailgating in 1996. So they have been going strong during several coaching changes but their love for Carolina football has not wavered.

Tailgate Keys to the Game:
Location, location, location! On Saturday, McCurdy was the second tailgater in the Bowles parking lot.

This Tailgate’s Specialty:
A portable radio for listening to the pre game show is a must. The food changes for each tailgate to keep things interesting. Usually, the game closest to November 17th is a big birthday celebration for Tatum including oysters. That tailgate has had 50 plus additional tailgaters to help celebrate Tatum’s big day.

More than Just a Game:
It was hard for the guys to pick just one game. In the end, it seemed like the Idaho game had a lot of excitement pre game. The tailgaters were looking forward to all the celebrations planned since it was the Military Appreciation game. Galante was also overly excited for the Virginia Tech game since it was a White Out. He was very happy with the participation and is hopeful for more White Out games next season.

Best Tailgating Memory:
The best tailgate memory was the NC State game a few years ago when it was 30 degrees outside. The tailgate had 4 tents connected together with all the sides covered. Everyone was piled inside of the tents with 12 heaters. It was a tight fit but everyone was having a blast feasting on grilled London broil, crab legs, and oysters. It was so toasty warm in the tents that they had a hard time leaving to head out in the freezing cold to the game. Even though the Tar Heels lost the game the group had so much fun tailgating before the game that they decided to crank up the heaters and pack inside the tents to try and forget about the game’s outcome.

McCurdy’s favorite memory was actually from this season before the NC State game. State’s band was warming up while walking to Kenan right past their tailgate. McCurdy’s wife started dancing right in the middle of where the band was marching through. Everyone in the tailgate was elated as the band was confused as to what to do with the dancing UNC fan.

The Tailgate Marathon:
McCurdy arrived at 7:00 am before the Georgia Tech game. Most of the other members of his group and Tatum-Galante’s group pulled in around 8:30 am. The tailgaters like to have everything broke down and head into the stadium at least 30 minutes prior to kick off.


  1. Dwenda's avatar
    | Permalink
    GREAT PICTURE! That's my Tarheel family! Wish I could have been there too! Keep getting up before the crack of dawn Tony - you gotta have the best spot!!!
    GO HEELS!!!!

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