Tailgate parties increase in number, tailgaters say

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The beginning of the football season is here and hundreds of tailgate party plans have been made at Arkansas State University. Every Saturday home game in Jonesboro, football fans bring grills, chairs and flat screen televisions to socialize ahead of the game.

"You need friends, probably some chairs, food and beverages," said Kent McMasters.

McMasters said he's been tailgating at ASU since 2002. In order to properly celebrate the college football season, he said there are a few things people need to bring.

"Being with friends, talking about how the season is going to go, how the season has gone, how the other schools have done," said McMasters.

McMasters said there's something for everyone. He said children play bean bag games and horse shoes with their parents and friends.

"I've seen footballs. I've seen baseballs. I've seen people bring out the bean toss games. It's just a social get-together before the football game," said McMasters.

McMasters said tailgate parties have increased in number over the last five years.

"They tailgated under the pecan trees out there by Johnson and were pretty much the only people right there," said McMasters.

"If you got power, you can make it to where you're almost at home. You can set up your home theater. Some people tailgate a couple of nights. People have RV's and people have trailers with power," said Stephen Posey, who has been tailgating at ASU since college. His group brought a flat screen television to check up on other college scores. For people tailgating between the baseball field and football stadium, the party resembles a family atmosphere.

"It's something that you got to be organized for and planned for. It can be the highlight of your football season," said Chris Paslay. "It's a time to be with your friends, a time to be with your family and it's a time to enjoy and have good fellowship with each other."

"It's more about having a good time and you might have some adult beverages and do all of that stuff. As you get older and get married and have kids, it turns more into a time to enjoy each other and spend time with your kids that you might not always get to do during the week," said Paslay.

Paslay and Posey said tailgate parties have changed since college.

"It's changed because when you're in college, you're about celebrating as much as possible. Here, it's a different kind of celebration. It's a celebration of family, celebration of team and the whole experience," said Posey.

For college students, the tailgate experience can be much different. They still have the hacky-sack games and football, but they also use it as an opportunity to promote Greek life.

"We usually take care of what we need to bring out here. We brought all our stuff today. I can't say on camera right now, but we brought it all out here today. The freshman just need to know where to go," said Andrew Rittenhouse, ASU senior. "All of the undergrad students come over here to the pines. It'll be packed full of people."

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"My checklist had beverages, our Greek letters, our Greek banners. We had to bring our food out here. We're going to have our grill out here in a minute. We've got our bag-o out here to have the games going on to keep us preoccupied before the game starts," said Rittenhouse.

"We just had fun with it. I mean, it's just a culmination of everybody's ideas and we put them all on one big trailer and it just turned out good," said John Griffin, who rolled out his Rat Daddy grill for the first time Saturday morning.

"I've got a 42 inch plasma TV. We've got a big rotisserie on one side, a pit on the other side. We've got big 18-wheeler stacks coming out the top. We have satellite, DVD," said Griffin.

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