Sep 012004
Authors: Ann Marie Stecker

From the old tradition of barbecuing with friends to the original trick of hiding beverages in a briefcase, tailgating is a fun and exciting part of the Rams football season.

Over the years, tailgate traditions have become a large part of American culture, and these pre-game parties have fired up devoted CSU fans for years.

People gobbling up tons of food while sporting the team’s colors with friends is a common practice at colleges all over the United States, but there are plenty of other traditions that vary from place to place.

Gary Ozzello, senior associate athletic director, said tailgating has variations depending on the state, and sometimes even the region.

“In the South, people who have RVs come to the stadium the day before the game to stay the whole weekend and leave on Sunday,” Ozzello said.

Hughes Stadium is unique because it is “located off campus, and that adds to what the students here can do,” Ozzello said.

“I like (tailgating) because you get together with friends and have a good time,” said Katie Pettijohn, a senior natural resources recreation and tourism major.

Peter Gray, a junior construction management major, said his favorite tradition was the University of Colorado versus CSU game.

“Last year we had a food fight with some CU fans,” Gray said. “Mustard was flying through the air.”

Tailgating is not just about rivalry or partying with friends, it also gives people a great opportunity to show true school spirit, said Josh Redshaw, a junior political science major and member of the Delta Chi Fraternity.

“Being in the fraternity and tailgating is always fun, but going to the game with the guys is the best thing,” Redshaw said. “A lot of the guys have taken pledges to attend every home game, and we are all committed Ram fans,”

Parking lot spaces reserved by fraternities, sororities and large parties makes for tons of school spirit, Ozzello said.

“We have got a tremendous fan support,” Ozzello said.

But, as with any university-related activity, fans have to know where the fun in tailgating stops and the trouble begins.

CSU Police Department Sgt. Keith Turney said tailgating gets ugly when crowds get too big and property damage begins to occur. Turney said unregistered tailgating groups that exceed 25 people will likely be broken up.

“One of the biggest problems is underage drinking,” Turney said. “(CSUPD) is not against people having a good time – it just needs to be safe.”

Ram tailgaters should remember that only 3.2 percent beer in cans is allowed, and the parties can start three hours before the game and must disperse and get ready to go into the game at least a half hour before kickoff.

Tips for Tailgaters

* Do not obstruct flow of traffic

* Extinguish fire before going into the game if using a grill

* Be careful on the roads after games

* Supply food for party guests who are drinking

* Person in charge of party must be of age and willing to take responsibility

* Unregistered parties must not exceed 25 people

* No kegs or glass containers

* No consuming beverages that exceed 3.2 percent alcohol

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