Tailgate of the Week: Virginia Tech
About the Tailgate Party:
The primary group is Donald Tomlinson, Robert Bates, Ronnie Mann, Scott Garmon, Richard Breeden and Tal Link. The fellas had their families and friends with them.
Setting up a Prime Location:
The tailgate is on the corner of Rosemary and Hillsborough Street. Lots of easy parking is available for the tailgate group along with grassy areas for set up, corn hole, etc.
Many Seasons and Running:
The group of Donald, Robert and Tal have been tailgating together since 1988. The tailgate has been in the same spot except for a few years when the house was a torn down. During that time the tailgate relocated to the Craige Deck. Once the house was rebuilt a deal was struck for the tailgaters to return home, the side of the house closest to Hillsborough Street.
Tailgate Keys to the Game:
The Easter Pig! What you might ask...it is a white pig with Easter Pig painted on it’s side. See the photo. The Easter Pig was the centerpiece on the food table. It was secured by a tailgater in 1983 in a way many would not like to have on public record.
This Tailgate’s Specialty:
Each week is different. This is beginning to be theme for the serious tailgaters. For the Virginia Tech game, ribs were prepped for the grill for the post game victory celebration. Pregame was filled with all sorts of delicious treats including Jessica’s Carolina Birthday Cake.
The NC State tailgate will start the night before for the pig to have enough time to roast. Of course, the pig will be dressed in a NC State football helmet which seems appropriate.
More than Just a Game:
Tailgating is more than just preparing for the game it is about spending time with your friends and family. To help facilitate this coming together the group books a band for the homecoming games.
Best Tailgating Memory:
As I approached the tailgate I quickly noticed that there was one non-UNC tent. This seemed odd since the tailgate had a Carolina Birthday cake, giant Carolina flag, Carolina table clothes, the list goes on.
When asking Tal about his favorite tailgating memory I was expecting a great story from their earlier tailgating years. Imagine my amusement when he said the best memory was when Ronnie fought the tent. WHAT? After a great tailgate itwas time to clean up. The fellas were taking down their tents, tables, chairs, etc. loading them into their SUVs when Ronnie encountered the tent that was not ready to leave. Ronnie struggled to get the tent to collapse. The harder he tried the more the tent stood tall. Until finally Ronnie resorted to killing the tent. It was said that Ronnie was seen using one of the tent legs to finish the tent off. Ronnie 1, Tent 0.
After that story, I had to meet Ronnie. I was quickly introduced. Ronnie showed me his new tent-the only non-UNC tent. I could not help myself...I had to find out why he did not get a UNC tent. Ronnie smirked and said, “This one was on sale at Dick’s.”
The Tailgate Marathon:
The tailgaters got there 3-4 hours before the Virginia Tech kick-off. If kickoff was a later start the tailgaters would have started tailgating at least five hours before. Since the location is not on campus they have to pack up earlier than most. Everything is usually loaded and the game goers are pulling out 30 minutes prior to kick-off.
Any early start time, like the Virginia Tech game, the tailgate party heats up after the game. The group celebrated for about four hours post game. Of course, a victory makes the post tailgate that much sweeter.