Whether it was cooking up 65 pounds of fajitas, roasting a pig or simply grilling hamburgers, students and alumni this past football season showed that the way to a good tailgate party was with pounds of food and the company of good friends.TCU alumni Tod and Laura Miller and Frank and Kathy Kyle have been tailgating in the same parking spot at TCU football games for 20 years, and Tod Miller said the spot will remain in the family for years.
“The children are already fighting over who gets the spot when I die,” Tod Miller said.
Located in the parking lot behind the scoreboard, this tailgate party was hard to miss.
Flying a TCU flag and generating clouds of smoke with the enormous grill, it attracted friends, TCU students and sometimes even strangers.
On average, the 20-year-old tailgate party generates crowds of 100 to 150 people, its occupants said, but people don’t just come to hang out.
With an annual cook-off featuring 65 pounds of fajitas, 12 dozen tamales and 12 cases of beer, the tailgate has tradition.
“We’re going to keep this spot forever, or as long as we can,” Tod Miller said.
With a prime location, these families had the luxury of a parking spot right outside the north entrance to the stadium. Although attendees said they would down a beer or two during halftime, they did not miss a moment of Horned Frog football.
A short walk behind the stadium, located near the west entrance, was another tailgate party with tradition and roots to TCU. This tailgate party stood out because of its long stretch of purple canopies and a sign reading “Hot Corner Tailgate.”
It stretched across four parking spots marked with signs reading “Dale and Laura Ladner,” “Mr. and Mrs. Ken Link,” “Mr. and Mrs. Royce Huffman,” and “Mr. and Mrs. Harold Muckloy.”
The Hot Corner Tailgate was the recipient of the homecoming tailgate of the year award, decided by 95.9 FM The Ranch.
It was difficult to find a reason why this tailgate party would not receive such a distinction with its purple pride, friendly faces, crystal chandelier and noteworthy menu.
Some past favorites include roast pig, jambalaya rice, ribs, smoked turkey, fried chicken, fruit salad and German chocolate cake.
On average, Ken Link said, the Hot Corner Tailgate has between 300 to 350 people in attendance.
TCU’s newest tailgate could be found on the football practice field before every game. With nearly 1,000 students in attendance, Angie Taylor, associate dean of student development, said it was a success.
“This has been a great beginning for a new tradition,” Taylor said. “It’s more than what we had hoped for.”
The tailgate party was sponsored by TCU and students not only got hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and soft drinks for free, but face painting, tattoos and live music were other perks of this popular event.
Meanwhile, on the north side of the stadium, in the overflow parking lot, students at two other student tailgate parties jammed to music, grilled up burgers and dogs, and mingled with their friends.
Members and friends of Sigma Alpha Epsilon partied in the shade of bordering trees. They were welcoming to anyone who wanted to join in the fun and tradition of the tailgate party, SAE president John Athon said. The hosts were ready for crowds of 300 to 350 students, he said.
Students arrived about two hours before the game, and 10 minutes before kickoff the freshmen at the tailgate sang the fight song before they all charged to the game.
They offered hot dogs and hamburgers and drank Coors Light, but students under 21 were forbidden to drink at this tailgate.
Students attending the tailgate about 100 yards away could expect the same alcohol regulations.
Members of Phi Delta Theta and numerous other fraternities and sororities attended the tailgate party that had something unique, a third party vendor to check for minors.
With a large white tent allowing shade, nearly 250 people gathered in about 20 parking spots.
Beef fajitas, chicken, burgers, homemade cookies, ribs and brisket were all on the menu. Students at this tailgate party spent nearly $500 a week on meat, said Scott McQuary, a member of Phi Delt.
Keystone was the beer of choice, said McQuary, a junior premajor, but if that was not your flavor, there was plenty of boxed wine to go around.