Anyone who tailgates (or parks their car) in any lot other than Green or Scarlet walks along Scarlet Knight Way on their way to the Stadium each game. When you are right across the street from the new Marco Battaglia Practice Facility right at the front of the Yellow Lot every week is the Wrublevski Tailgate. They are the On the Banks Tailgater of the Week for last week’s game. Don’t know what I’m talking about? I’m sure you have all seen their sign as you’re walking to or from the stadium.
I’m sure many of you saw the picture above and said, “Oh, I know that sign. I’ve seen it there forever!” and you’d be correct. For more than 30 years, they have had (as the sign says) a long tailgating tradition at Rutgers games.
Frank Wrublevski began when his son was in high school, and the high school group began coming to games in 1984. Each week, rain, shine, or snow, they are at the game, and cheering on the Scarlet Knights. The group varies by size, from as few as seven to as many as 20. Four parking passes means this group really can spread out their gear to enjoy the time before the game.
A season ticket holder for both basketball and football, Frank (usually alone, but sometimes with others) begins packing up two pickup trucks for the game the night before the game, as do most tailgaters. After 34 years of tailgating, he has a LOT of gear. As Frank put it, “My garage is full. I can’t get a car in, but when we go tailgating, a car can go in there easily.”
They are, like other great tailgates, early risers. Frank begins getting people up very early. They were at the lot and setting up by 5:00 AM for the Indiana game, but when there are a large group at the tailgate, they are there by 3:00 AM. When you have four canopies, and a pair of grills, it takes longer to get set up and tear down at the end, so getting there early is important. After all, you want to have sufficient time for tailgating when you have all that gear to set up! Coming in that early also means you need to have your own lighting, so Frank and the crew have their own spotlights on stands so they can set up before sunrise. To power all that, they also have a pair of generators as well to power not only the lights, but coffee machines, music, and more. Did I mention they have a lot of gear?
Frank’s son is currently finishing work on his master’s degree at Rutgers, and his two daughters are also graduates. With so many children as graduates, it is clear where his loyalties lie. He put it very succinctly when he stated, “I love Rutgers, it’s hard to put it in words.” Actually, I think he did it very well, short, sweet, and to the point.
Rutgers Athletic Director Pat Hobbs was a busy man on Saturday. Like every game, Pat travels around the lots welcoming fans, saying hello, and basically playing the host for his party for 20,000 to 30,000 tailgaters. I caught up to him as he was visiting with other Rutgers important folks, the Towers Family. Jeff and Amy Towers, as you probably already know, donated the funds to build the Marco Battaglia Practice Facility, and most recently donated an additional $4M to complete the work for the football locker rooms.
After that, he stopped by a family tailgate in the Green Lot as well. Ruth and Andy Uveges from Forked River were there with sons, in-laws, a niece and significant others, and Pat Hobbs stopped by to say hello to them as well!
All in all, it was a perfect day for football, and this group seemed to enjoy the tailgate as well as the game!
This weekend will bring a third consecutive week with a tailgate, so we will see how well everyone does. With October here, the cooler temperatures are beginning to arrive, and the style of tailgates vary a little, as well as the menu choices. Hope we see you there!