Tailgating is a time-honored tradition as old as college football itself, possibly even older. In ancient Rome, citizens would gather to celebrate days and even weeks before major events at The Colosseum. In ancient Greece the Olympic Village was, in its early conception, one giant pregame party. Both evolved people either dressed in togas, or nothing at all!!! Modern day tailgating has its roots in families, friends, and alumni traveling many hours and sometimes days to see football games. They would roll up early or even the night before and would set up camp. The tailgate of the wagon or truck would serve as a table for food and drink As a sports enthusiast and a lover of all things football, I will also add that no other sport in America has a stronger tailgating spirit than football. I want to pause here and say we need to bring the party to other sporting events. Fans could meet in a specific area and head to the game in their own “Card March”. Today the tailgate has been replaced by portable tables. The quaint picnic basket by grills and smokers. The drinks are still relatively the same, mostly alcoholic with the occasional water or soft drink. At the University of Louisville, our tailgating is elevating with our sports program which brings me to my coverage of tailgating over the past two games featuring The Red Rage, The Boxley and Helm Crew, as well as a few other awesome tailgate spots worthy of mention.
The Red Rage tailgator is the brain child of Dave Magee, Josh Stinson and James Durst. It’s an old box truck converted into one kick ass ” tailgate party in a box”! The name itself comes from the early days of Cardinal football as the teams nickname. The Red Rage has found its place against the fence of the boy scout lot bordering central avenue. The sprawling compound around the truck includes 4 10 x 10 canopies, each with it own apparent theme. As I pass through the main entrance canopy I was immediately greeted by the family of Cardinal fans and free-flowing drinks. (Thanks by the way!) From left to right, the first canopy was for food that included amazing breakfast burritos made by the lovely Jessica Hale. The second, a lounge area with flat screen TV showing Cardinal Football games from years past. Behind the access way was the drinking game tables.
After making my way past the Flip Cup table I was taken to the rear of the truck where I discover (with an angelic AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH in the background mixed with the echos of hip hop music) a mobile bar stocked with bourbon… no no, it was (que angles and hip hop) a mobile museum dedicated to University of Louisville sports. The interior featured a bar, seating, with the walls and ceiling covered in Cardinal memorabilia. The decor included old football cards, flags, pennants, posters, hats and helmets. I found myself dreaming off to glory years past and included (be still my heart) “The Pipe” Howard Schnellenburger. After navigating my way out of the maze of canopies I was treated to food and more drink (kept loosing my cup!) and challenged to a game of corn hole. The Red Rage”ers” were an awesome group that I will most certainly visit again and I recommend you do the same. They have helped set the bar for Louisville tailgaters as a whole and I challenge all fans to RISE to the tailgate challenge.
The next tailgate spot I want to showcase is the Boxley and Helm crew, located at the corner of Boxely and Helm. This is my crew! I wasnt going to be so bold to feature my spot first and I know we still have some growing to do in order to garnish the main spotlight. While we don’t have a truck or bus, we do have the most outgoing and friendlies group and that is one thing that makes us stand out above the rest. All are welcome to party with the Boxely and Helm crew, just ask Justin Dalhof and the countless other that have found themselves at the business end of an apple moonshine shot.
The music is fresh and loud, the food is always great, and the people are the best. There are numerous spontaneous dance scenes, karaoke, and bottomless patron. One of the main traditions involves inviting other in the lot party to join use for a round of shots. Before for the shots are taken, a loud and harty C, A, R, D, S, CARDS is shouted. This can be heard almost as far as Floyd Street. You’ll find yours truly on the mic bumping the beats and leading the chants! The party also includes corn hole and life sized jenga.
And then there is the food. Getting there before everyone with a silent dedication to his craft, Scott Hilbert is one of the godfathers of the Boxley and Helm crew. He stirs effortlessly over the slow cooked succulence with a smile and a cold beer in hand. The Ohio game we were treated to slow cooked smoked BBQ and this past weekend he delivered some of the best brats and burgers I’ve ever had.
The Helm and Boxley crew is a family of fans that have come together over the last four years and is still growing. Even if our Cards were faltering, this group of faithful fans would still be out there getting Card fans pumped like it was the biggest game of the season. This is the Lot Party! Anytime you pass by the Boxely and Helm crew, stop in and join us for a while. You might just become the newest member of our Card Family!
Below are a few other pics of tailgate parties Im going to try get to before the season is over.