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Thursday Tailgates: Week 4

September 27, 2012

This week, we go coast-to-coast tailgating, from UCLA to North Carolina State.

UCLA

UCLA alum Danielle Blanchard tells fans what to expect when visiting the Rose Bowl on game day:

Getting to tailgate again at the Rose Bowl was awesome. It brought me back to my college days! UCLA games at the Rose Bowl are really fun to tailgate at because it is grassy and there are plenty of trees to provide shade- especially on a hot day.  UCLA fans really get into their tailgating. People bring the works–tents, grills, TVs, beer pong tables, jello shots, and nice food. I had a great time. Our group consisted of thirteen grad students and we brought jello shots, a beer pong table, a grill with kebobs and burgers, a ton of food and beer, and even vodka soaked gummy bears! We got to the game about 4-5 hours early but it was already packed. A lot of people get out there really early to tailgate. I enjoy the crowds at UCLA tailgates because in my experiences they have been friendly and it is not abnormal to stop by a random group’s tailgate, strike up a conversation and swap food/drink.

If you are thinking of going to a UCLA game and tailgating beforehand, expect to see some really enthusiastic and hardcore bruin fans, young and old. You might also hear quite a few 8-claps out of nowhere, but it’s easy and fun to join in. People have always been really friendly, and on multiple occasions, some of the older alumni love to give you free food and drink if you look like a student. My advice for those who want to tailgate before a UCLA game: get there early, don’t pack light and have fun! You will have a great time whether you are hanging out in the back of an SUV or in a huge set up with a lot of people.

North Carolina State

Austin Atkinson breaks down the North Carolina State tailgating experience:

Carter-Finley Stadium lies a few miles west of NC State’s campus, and is situated next to their basketball home court, the PNC Arena (formerly the RBC Center), which is also home to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

NC State great, and 1991 2nd Round NBA Draft pick, Chris Corchiani is always there to support the Wolfpack. Chris formed part of the famous ‘Fire and Ice’ backcourt with teammate Rodney Monroe during their playing days. Chris’s jersey hangs in the rafters of the PNC Arena.

The off-campus setting allows ample space for parking and tailgating.  Over the course of the day, we were able to visit with State fans in
the Arena East parking lot on the far side of the stadium, as well as with members of the Board of Directors of the NC State University Wolfpack Club whose parking spots were immediately adjacent to the stadium. The red and black color scheme could be found everywhere; and grills of all sizes could be seen spreading a delicious smoky haze over the parking lots.

An impressive Wolfpack statue greets visitors to Carter-Finley Stadium.

One interesting feature of the tailgating layout was that the RV parking lot was incredibly close to the stadium itself. Having been to tailgates in ACC, SEC, and Big 12 country, I know that it is uncommon for most RV’s to be found anywhere but the farthest reaches of the parking lots. That is unfortunate because the RV owners are usually some of the most die-hard tailgaters. Here, getting to walk amongst the RV’s lent a more festive atmosphere to the pregame ritual of gathering your belongings and trekking into the stadium.

Carter-Finley Stadium has a seating capacity of 57,583, and their Military Appreciation Day game against The Citadel was a sellout.

Overall, NC State fans represented their school well, and were exceptionally hospitable to this visiting fan. The barbecue I sampled deserves a writeup of its own, but I will say that it was Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue done to perfection. If you are a fan of a rival ACC school, consider making the road trip to Raleigh the next time NC State shows up on your schedule. You won’t be disappointed.

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