Next Saturday marks the beginning of an annual treat that many Iowa State Cyclones fans, as well as all kinds of college football fans, take part of in the fall.
The first gameday tailgate truly marks the end of summer and students having to hit the books once again. Sure, the semester actually begins on Monday, but what student actually picks up a book in the first week?
Tailgating keeps people from feeling glum about the season changing over to fall. A multitude of vehicles from cars to RVs will be making their way to Ames as early as Friday night. Fans will march around in their favorite Iowa State gear, strolling along with their coolers full of crisp, cold beer (presumably Busch or Bud Light) and porkchops that are waiting to hit the warm grill.
It’s a time when old college buddies can reunite, an event that makes any form of a high school reunion as exciting as a dentist appointment. Make your way from the standard parking lots to the student lots, and you’ll see young students and the alums that can’t give up that life yet with their friends playing beer pong, flippy cup, bags, and arguing about fantasy football.
It’s when that nerdy girl from Physics 221 can deck herself out with body paint and guzzle down a beer bong, and then break a folding chair and lose her 10th beer of the day as the sun goes down.
Don’t know anybody at the tailgate? Folks, it’s freaking Iowa. Walk up to a group and greet them, they’ll do the same and grab the closest cold beer they can reach for their new friend. Talk to them longer and another porkchop will be tossed on the grill.
Whether an alum, student, or just a visitor, next Saturday begins a special six-day event that really shines before the snow hits the ground. Despite the occasional assholes that get too drunk by 1:00 PM and try to ruin it, tailgating really is special at Iowa State. It never seems too crowded to get around, and the bars aren’t too far away to either celebrate a win or just get more drunk.
Going into my seventh season of tailgating, I’m still excited to get down to Jack Trice Stadium and meet some old friends. Pardon me while I grab a deck chair and sit out by the parking lot with a Busch Light.