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Tailgating traditions: A great time like nothing else

by | November 6, 2019 5:00 pm

Last Updated: November 6, 2019 at 10:40 am

By VICKI BROWN
vbrown@lowcountry.com

The modern tailgate that has its roots in college football, goes back to the first game played at College Field in New Brunswick, N.J., between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869. It was reported to be a fine game and a fine party.
Since then, certain elements of tailgating have drastically changed, but the foundation is still the same: family, friends, food and fun.
A tailgate party is a social event around the open trunk or tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves grilling food, drinking sodas and possibly consuming alcoholic beverages, before and after sports.
The United States is well known for tailgating parties, but some Clemson and Carolina fans have always taken it to new heights.
Michelle O’Quinn’s family members are not only fans of Clemson, but are also huge fans of tailgating. Her sons attend Clemson — Caleb O’Quinn (senior, class of 2020) and Wyatt O’Quinn (freshman, 2023).
“My husband Brian O’Quinn, daughter Emily O’Quinn and I make it a point to go to at least one game, if not more, each year to share in the tailgating experience as a family. It is like nothing else and we have such a great time each time we go,” said O’Quinn.
James Allen Smoak is a die-hard Clemson fan. “Last five years, we beat Carolina and our tailgating is second to none,” he chuckled.
“I’ve been tailgating for 20 years. In fact, I’m on my way to a game tomorrow. Lots of people from Walterboro go, and it’s great to see your friends there,” Smoak added.
Bubba Tripp enjoys tailgating with church friends and family.
“We have a lot of fun. We go with our friends, take the kids and grandkids and have a big time,” said Tripp.
“I try to attend every USC game I can,” said Barbara Gehlmann. “Tailgating is awesome, and you never know who you will see there.”
Robin Partin’s favorite family story revolves around her tailgating fun.
“Our oldest son, Travis, decided to go to college and room with his best friend. We thought maybe he would go to USC, but he didn’t. However, he continued to go with us to USC games and one evening as we were tailgating, a group of sorority girls in short dresses and cowboy boots walked by. My son immediately phoned his best friend and said, ‘Dude, we went to the wrong school!’ I agreed wholeheartedly,” said Partin.
New tailgating accessories are invented every year to make the experience easier and much more fun.
Now there are tents, tables, solar-powered ice cube generators, pizza ovens, grills, mini-speakers, portable propane heaters, small dish satellites and televisions, reclining foldable chairs and game tables.
Those have an enthusiastic tailgater in their circle of family and friends and are searching for a great birthday, Thanksgiving or Christmas gift need look no further than online to check out the list of tailgating supplies and accessories. The choices range from the ridiculous to the remarkable, but there is something there for everyone.
And let’s not forget the recipes. Typical tailgate foods like fried chicken, barbecue, burgers, sliders, wings, chili, sandwiches, chips and salads are just a few items that make the perfect party. And as new and better portable equipment is invented, so are the recipes to go with them.
While tailgating might not be for everyone, it certainly makes for a fun and entertaining afternoon for most.

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