Last Saturday’s tailgate was a real adventure. Snow flurries, a little rain, and cold winds made it a challenge for almost everyone brave enough to venture out to the game. But it didn’t seem to make a big dent in the number braving the elements to celebrate Rutgers football.
Choosing this week’s Tailgater of the Week was not a difficult choice. In fact, I’ve been asked in the past why they haven’t already been chosen. However, there are a lot of great tailgates, and multiple tailgates can meet that criteria. Despite that, Sweet Lou’s Barbecue and Tailgating Crew is a fun and happy group, that truly deserve to be named On the Banks’ Tailgater of the Week!
The leader of this intrepid group, Lou Bomentre, is the “Sweet Lou” mentioned up above. This is a group that actually met up online, and then at tailgates and decided to join forces. These Blue Lot veterans would meet up by just being in the same area of the lot each game, and decided to make one big ol’ tailgate. Helping them along was the Rutgers Football Facebook page, which gave them the opportunity to speak to one another and set things in motion. But this is more than just another internet hookup! (sorry, I couldn’t resist)
Some of the members of this group have been season ticket holders for over 30 years, and at this point, they are a core group of about a dozen, but for their biggest games it swells up to as many as 225 people, eight cars, with a disco ball, a paid bartender, a live band and sometimes a DJ.
Like most tailgaters, they are not fans of noon games. Having to get people to start partying at 7:00 AM is tough, even for the most die-hard football fans, so it has a definite impact upon attendance at the tailgates. Lou thought that a 3:30 game at this point was a gift, as the 9:30 start for tailgating made it an easier day for everyone.
Joining Lou as a “co-captain” is Megg Sherman, who is the biggest Rutgers booster I’ve ever met that is not an alum. She and her husband JD are there at every game, though you can sometimes find JD sleeping in the back seat of a car at the early tailgates.
Since this was Military Appreciation Day at Rutgers, no tailgate would be complete without a picture of some of our service members visiting. Here’s a selfie Megg took with US Army visitors to the tailgate.
For this particular game, the menu was, as usual, extensive. It included ribs, Cajun wings, Chicken in white wine with artichoke & sun-dried tomatoes, stuffed shells with meatballs, chicken tortilla soup, chili, finger foods, broccoli rabe, German sausage and onions...it goes on and on!
No meal is complete without dessert, and this group has that covered, and then some! The desserts were as varied and as amazing as their meal!
Congrats to Sweet Lou’s Barbecue and Tailgating Crew for being our Tailgaters of the Week!
Like many Big Ten teams, Michigan has a reputation of traveling well. Last Saturday’s game in Piscataway was no exception. Some traveled from Michigan, as shown by Tim Morbach, Michigan ‘76, and Robert Simpson, Emeritus Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Michigan-Dearborn, who traveled from Michigan (as seen by their license plate) for the game.
Also there was a recent graduate David Sulfaro, Michigan ‘18 who along with his mom Karen, and close family friend David Weber (“He’s not my Dad, but he treats me like he is my Dad”) who are NJ residents who didn’t want to miss the game.
One of my favorite groups to find at tailgates are what I call the “mixed groups.” Those are Rutgers fans who team up at a tailgate with buddies who are fans of the opposing school. This camaraderie is one of the great things about college sports that differentiates it so from professional sports. (Imagine a group of Eagles and Giants fans tailgating together at Met Life Stadium. It would end up an ugly brawl!) So, among them at this game was a couple of those, and I love seeing them every time!
As said up above, last Saturday was Military Appreciation Day, and just outside the North Gate to the stadium was this great opportunity for children to get to feel what it is like to sit in a jet fighter. Honestly, I wished I was small enough to fit!
Next Saturday is the final home game of the 2018 season, and many people like to have a last big blowout for the season. And being against Penn State makes the final home game that much better. See you there!