story by Dale Cullins
Editor’s note: Welcome to the introduction of Tusk to Tail, a special “web reality” presentation of the tailgating experience as organized, performed and perfected by a group of Hog fans who have been tailgating together for more than a decade. Members of the Tusk to Tail Team are Sean Casey, Jack Clark, Dale Cullins, Greg Houser, Craig May, David Rice and Mark Wagner. Joining the core team in Little Rock will be Jamey Johnson, Jarrod Johnson, Jordan Johnson and Jason Parker (See the team addition “bio” cards in the photo carousel.). Link here for the explainer story and the photos and “stats” of the Tusk to Tail crew. Tusk to Tail is managed by The City Wire and sponsored by Preferred Office Products.
Follow the crew on Twitter — @TuskToTail
The first tailgate for 2012 is in the books, and it will be remembered as a big success. All of the regulars made it, and our new spot brought lots of new faces as well.
This week, the game is in Little Rock, allowing me the first of four breaks during the season. Craig May and the rest of the Little Rock team take over for the day of tailgating on the golf course, and they do a great job.
I will assist with some equipment that is shared by both tailgates, but for the most part, I get to be a regular fan for the day.
The War Memorial golf course is one of my favorite places to tailgate in the SEC.
People come early, stay late, and make a serious party of it. Much like the Grove at Ole Miss, the tailgating is plentiful and relatively compacted onto the course. I would guess that 50,000 people will spend the day out there, leaving about 10,000 on the course to continue while the game is played.
WAR MEMORIAL TIPS
Here are a few pointers for attending a game in Little Rock:
• Pace yourself, stay hydrated and be sure to eat something. I’ve seen my share of folks from all walks of life end up in a creek or pond from too much alcohol.
• Wear sunscreen and dress appropriately for heat and humidity. A full day will take its toll, even in the shade.
• Be sure to walk around to take in the sites and atmosphere of other tailgates. It may give you some ideas for your own tailgate.
• Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most serious tailgaters are very proud of the work and time they put into a good tailgate and are happy to share the knowledge.
• If you arrive late, leave early, or need to get moving after the game, I suggest trying to park north of the stadium in the Hillcrest neighborhood. Plenty of folks charge reasonable fees to park in their yards. Be sure to tell them your plans so you don’t get blocked in.
• You might also consider parking at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church. Located just four blocks north of the stadium with plenty of secure spaces, the church’s youth group collects the money to support their program.
• If you are looking for a ticket, arrive early and walk the course with your finger up. You can also try the corner of West Markham and Van Buren, where there is lots of traffic, and usually some tickets to be found.
We promised a few recipes that are annual staples at our tailgates. The first is my mom’s cheese dip recipe. I’m not sure of its origins but I’ve been eating it throughout football season for close to 40 years.
• Rochelle’s Ro-tel Cheese Dip
Makes for up to 20-25 people in a normal size crock pot:
2 lbs of Mexican Velveeta
2 cans of Original Ro-tel tomatoes
Two-thirds can of Frito-Lay’s Hot Bean Dip
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
half to 1 teaspoon of chili powder
about half a teaspoon of ground jalapeno
Cube the Velveeta for faster melting. Cover with entire cans of Ro-tel, including juice. Apply seasonings to taste. Stir until melted and be sure to not let it burn. If for a smaller group, just cut the recipe in half.
Next is what we respectfully call the John Daly. If an Arnold Palmer is the perfect combination of lemonade and iced tea, adding vodka seemed like an appropriate tribute to the Hog Wild golfer from Dardanelle.
• John Daly cocktail
1 shot Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
Lemonade or Raspberry Lemonade to taste
We have tried them all. Firefly is more expensive, but definitely the best. Add a lemon or fresh raspberry garnish to spruce things up.
See you next week back on the Hill for Bama and GO HOGS, BEAT the WARHAWKS!