With the coming of Thanksgiving, what better way to show our true Thanksgiving spirit, along with Scarlet Knight spirit, than to combine the two. Well, that is exactly what our Tailgater of the Week winner does every November for the past several years.
Our search for a winner took us to the Black Lot this past Saturday. It was there that we found a great group that call themselves “The Grill Guys” and they have definitely taken it up a notch. Not only do they have their own beer koozies,
but in terms of equipment on site, they are hard to beat. They not only have a full-sized refrigerator to use, but they have literally brought everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink, which has hot and cold running water as well!
The Grill Guys consist primarily of three guys, a father and his two sons, all loyal Rutgers grads and fans. Brad Whitson and his sons Bradlee and Ryan are the mainstays of the group, and the glue that holds this large group together.
The group, which has been tailgating together for eight years, started a Thanksgiving dinner four years ago for the tailgaters in the Black Lot. Their first year they brought a turkey to share among their fellow tailgaters. It has grown to the point where they are deep-frying seven turkeys this year!
The number attending has also grown along with the number of turkeys, and the Grill Guys had 82 tailgaters RSVP their attendance to this year’s feast. Despite the professional appearance, along with their chef’s smocks, it is all just for fun, and the camaraderie of being Rutgers tailgate fans.
The table setting is fairly massive, as it would have to be for a sitting for over 80 people. But the sheer volume of food and drink on hand is also pretty impressive. But for all of that you need a good sized table, and there’s no problem having that set-up for the diners.
But is isn’t just turkeys. Other food and drink are necessary for any feast, and they are ready here as well. What started as a type of “progressive dinner” type of meal where each group brought a dish to share, it has grown exponentially to include beer tasting with a wide variety of growlers, bottles, and even cans of craft beers
and a industrial sized serving gumbo, being cooked with a good amount of spice, and some real muscle from Mike Colina to get it ready. Mike’s description is that it takes muscle and love to make it right.
Bradlee feels we don’t get credit at Rutgers for the tailgating scene here. As he said, there are extreme fans here who will do anything to support their Scarlet Knights. However, as this season has shown, there are an incredible number of enthusiastic fans, who live to the take part in the seven home games each year and tailgate with fellow fans prior to each and every game, no matter the weather or the score. As I was told by almost every group, we’ve never lost a tailgate yet!
This was a great opportunity this season to see some of the true fans of Rutgers tailgating. As we conclude the season, I’m going to post next week about a few tailgates that, while not named tailgaters of the week, sure showed some great spirit, passion, and some great food too. It has been a great pleasure to meet fans in the Scarlet, Green, Yellow, Blue, Purple, Black, and Johnson Park this season. Rutgers pride comes in all colors!