Part 3: A tailgating lifestyle
One man has even turned tailgating into a lifestyle.
Joe Cahn, the self-proclaimed “Commissioner of Tailgating” sold his business, the New Orleans School of Cooking in 1996—and took to the road in his RV.
While that doesn’t sound so unusual, he differs from other RVing retirees by spending the bulk of his time in stadium parking lots across America.
Stopping in at college stadiums on Saturday, NFL stadiums on Sunday, and then to the Monday Night Football stadium, the Tailgating America tour is the ultimate tailgating experience.
In the spring and summer, Cahn leaves the gridiron for the asphalts of weekly NASCAR races, Jimmy Buffet concerts, Mardi Gras, and anywhere else across America where there’s a party.
Cahn has amassed over 217,000 miles, burned nearly 35,000 gallons of fuel, visited hundreds of venues, and tailgated with thousands of hungry football fans.
During his journeys he’s visited all 32 NFL stadiums and over 60 college stadiums across the U.S.
No two parties are exactly the same. Some are thoroughly unique.
Ole Miss provides a special setting. The Grove covers 10 acres in the center of campus, shaded by giant oak trees—hence the name—and packed on game days with students wearing their Sunday best and tailgaters who opt for decorum over decadence. These are people who know how to party properly, always with extreme reverence for the annual rite of autumn.
At Touchdown Village, the RV parking lot at LSU’s Tiger Stadium, you’re guaranteed to have great fun, music, and food. You’ll not find better Cajun grilling, smoking, boiled crabs, crawfish, gumbos, and jambalaya anywhere than on a Saturday before and after the game. Besides the great food and party atmosphere, washer toss, bean bag toss, and other activities take place amid the 500 RVs in the parking lot. Nearly everyone in Touchdown Village wears LSU team colors—purple and gold—and some don face paint and color their hair.
The world’s biggest tailgate party is probably at the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville. They call it the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Fans begin arriving on Wednesday for a Sunday game. And the party does not stop from kick-off, through half-time, through overtime. Sometimes they are partying into Monday morning!
Another big RVing tailgate party takes place before the annual Iron Bowl game between Alabama and Auburn. Fans start showing up as early as Tuesday the week of the game, and would probably show up earlier if the colleges allowed it. As far as the atmosphere goes, it couldn’t get any better than over a thousand recreational vehicles and one of the greatest rivalries in college football.
On Game Day, the Grove, a shaded 11-acre park in the middle of the Ole Miss campus, is filled with medieval-style tents as many tailgaters hire students or locals to set up as early as 6 a.m.