story by Sean Casey, photos by Mark Wagner and Michael Tilley
Editor’s note: Welcome to the second season 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. Tusk to Tail is managed by The City Wire and is sponsored by Powerhouse Seafood and Grill Restaurant.
Link here to the Tusk to Tail introduction for the 2013 season.
Follow the crew on Twitter — @TuskToTail
Entering Saturday’s tailgate, I may have been nursing a hangover from the Rutgers game. I eagerly looked forward to a day full of good food and good times with my friends, but was not too excited about the game.
I’ve been a bit pessimistic about this season and the program since losing a 17-point lead to Rutgers. Admittedly, Art Briles and Mike Gundy were looking pretty good to me this week. My son Jake asked me on the way to the game if the Hogs would win. I quickly told him not to hold his breath, but we were going to have a great day.
The 6 p.m. kickoff is a tailgater’s dream, creating a daylong marathon of food, refreshment, and camaraderie centered on football. This weekend was no exception.
Dale Cullins and crew began setting up the tailgate shortly after 8:30 a.m. No need this weekend for one of those early, fast and furious starts the 11 a.m. games require. Thank goodness.
Saturday’s culinary theme centered on barbecue, including 15 pounds of pulled pork, 13 pounds of sliced brisket, 10 pounds of smoked chicken, a huge pan of baked barbecue beans, a large tray of nuggets, and our other usual tailgate fair. We needed every bit of it for the late kickoff coupled with 140 friends and family. You did not want to get caught between the Chi O’s and the chicken nuggets.
Looking back on last year’s Kentucky game, Tusk to Tail decided to pay the extra expense of getting sides for the tents, and they served us well. With an early warning of rain pouring in Bentonville, the Godfather Craig May quickly rallied the team to close up the sides, moving a table and chairs outside to allow more people to take shelter inside the tent. When the rain hit, it was largely a non-event and Tusk to Tail tailgated on.
Then at 3:35 p.m., the lemonade ran dry. No more John Daly’s were to be had and it was still two and a half hours until kickoff.
It had been approximately 23 years since the Aggies last traveled to Fayetteville for a football game, and their fans came in numbers. Whatever you say about the Aggies, they love their school and their team. We had a few Aggies tailgating with us, and I’d say our guests were nice, fun and courteous. Well, except the joker who brought a Texas fan with him.
When the great lemonade famine of 2013 occurred, a couple of the college-aged Aggies offered to get some lemonade from the on-campus Walmart store. They were provided with directions for the short walk, but evidently decided to go sight seeing or never leave at all. It was a nice effort, Aggies.
Fortunately Craig found a passable substitute for John Daly’s, and the tailgate continued unabated until the game was set to begin. When we walked to the stadium, nearly all of our food and refreshments were wiped out.
Somewhat expecting a blowout loss, I was pleased with the effort by the Razorbacks. I’m usually not a fan of moral victories unless they count toward our bowl eligibility, but I now believe Coach B has the foundation to build a good team at Arkansas. Better days are coming.