These are the Most Badass Texas Tailgates
There’s only one sport in Texas, and that is football. Not only is going to college football games the quintessential Saturday activity, tailgating is an absolute must. And nobody tailgates like Texas.
As the saying goes, “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” and tailgates are no exceptions. Ryan Lepper of the Horn-Ball Texas Tailgaters cites the tailgating industry as a billion-dollar industry, and with the set-ups you’re about to witness, it’s easy to believe that. But it wasn’t always that way.
The History of Texas Tailgates
Tailgating used to just be a few friends hanging out, drinking a beer out of a cooler in the back of the truck before the game. Slowly, the scene began to grow.
The evolution of flat screen TV’s brought a huge step-up in entertainment at tailgates, as they were much more portable and less costly to try to bring to the tailgate. But that was just one change. Take a look around a Texas tailgate now, and you can barely recognize it as a pre-party to a football game.
It’s become almost a competition to see which tailgate group can create the biggest, loudest and best “night-club in the parking lot kind of party,” as Ryan calls it. Commercializing the tailgate season is common, just check out this customized grill with your favorite team’s logo emblazoned on it.
These days, if you’re not catering your tailgates with a professional DJ spinning your favorite tunes, you are questionably doing it wrong.
What are the Essentials for a Texas Tailgate?
“Shade and beer are all you need to draw a crowd for a Texas tailgate,” according to Victor Elizalde of POW Tailgating, who has been tailgating University of Texas football games since the late 90’s. While that might be the minimum for a Texas tailgate, that doesn’t stop the third-generation Longhorn tailgaters from bringing the party with them. Their checklist includes:
- Camp set-up: The essentials, like tents and chairs
- Entertainment: 120+ channel satellite TV, plus classic games like corn hole and washer pits
- Food and drinks: Texas BBQ and Texas Chili is a must, bonus points for a 2-flavor margarita machine
Ryan of the Horn-Ball Texas Tailgaters list of essentials is also simple, “Great people, cold drinks, and good food.” But again, Texas won’t settle for just those three essentials. The Horn-Ball Texas tailgaters bring their A-game with over 2,000 square feet of covered space, complete with misters and fans. Lined up beside the tents is a tailgating truck, which is actually a converted ambulance. Why show up to a tailgate in a car when you can enjoy the tailgate with an orange tailgate truck?
What Makes Texas Tailgates Different?
The elaborate set-ups obviously make Texas tailgates stand out, but so does the fan’s atmosphere. There are no major professional teams in Austin, so the fan base is wildly passionate about the Longhorns. However, Texas football fans are also incredibly friendly. Victor of POW Tailgating estimates half the people there aren’t UT fans, but Texans mingle with their opponents and welcome them into tailgates with open arms. Ryan and the Horn-Ball Texas Tailgaters have even hosted bachelor parties, so regardless of your interest in UT, the tailgates are always a party.
Whether you’re there for the game or just for the tailgate, one thing’s for sure: anyone tailgating in Texas is the true winner.
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Images used with permission from POW Tailgating and Horn-Ball Texas Tailgaters.