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Tailgater of the Week: Texas State Edition

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So Rutgers football season has begun, and with it has begun the Rutgers tailgate season! The tailgate/parking lots were alive and well this past Saturday, and the Rutgers faithful demonstrated they have not lost their touch when it comes to interesting tailgates.

Our winner of the title Tailgater of the Week comes from the Dark Blue lot. They tailgate in a way that has until now not been recognized as Tailgater of the Week, those that travel to the games in recreational vehicles, or RVs. Leading this intrepid band of tailgaters are Josh Bucher and his wife Jill. The Buchers are not just Rutgers fans and graduates, but Josh is now a Rutgers faculty member, employed by the medical school and works at the hospital in the area of emergency medicine. Ever since he arrived at Rutgers in 2004, Josh has been a fan of Rutgers athletics.

When they began tailgating, this group would buy their parking passes for the Scarlet Lot on the secondary market. Now they, like many tailgaters, purchase their passes from Rutgers Athletics. Last year they qualified for the Black Lot, and this year moved up, leaping past Purple to land in the Dark Blue lot. Anyone who tailgates understands the importance of being able to move up to a new lot. It usually means a shorter walk to the stadium, which becomes more and more important for those of us whose hair is whiter (or is less abundant) than it used to be.

Josh and Jill’s RV is literally full of Rutgers decor and memorabilia and is actually a second-generation RV for Rutgers fans. Lady Scarlet was purchased from other Rutgers tailgaters who were “upgrading” to a newer vehicle. Jill and Josh were looking to upgrade from the self-described “nondescript white van” they had previously used,

The original “nondescript van” this group used for tailgating.

so they purchased the Lady Scarlet, and have made it their own. They found it on Craigslist, with the help of their real estate agent (who knew of their desire to get a new tailgate vehicle).

Lady Scarlet as the Buchers began to prepare her for the 2018 season last spring.

Some of the decor on the outside of the was done by the prior owners, such as the red stripe and the Block R, but the rest is all the result of the work of Josh and Jill, along with their family and friends. Inside, the RV is lit by red LED lighting, and the couches and beds have all been given the “Scarlet R” treatment, with Rutgers covers, sheets, pillows, etc. Even the back room has a freshly-painted coat of red on it, courtesy of Josh and one of his buddies who did that in preparation for this first game.

The view as you enter Lady Scarlet

Their group varies in size depending upon the game, but they are usually joined by no fewer than 10 and as many as 30 fellow tailgaters each game. This particular group is a relatively new one, having begun their tailgating experiences in 2013, just before Rutgers’ entry into the Big Ten. Now in their sixth year of tailgating they see a definite difference in the size of the groups that come to games each week to tailgate from their first year, Rutgers’ sole year as a member of the American Athletic Conference.

An exterior view of Lady Scarlet the gathering point of the RU Knightrider group.

Their regular group includes not just their friends. Jill’s parents join them for every game as well. They, like many of the hard-core tailgaters, arrive at a particular time, no matter the game time. With this group, arrival time is always 7:00 AM, rain or shine, whether kickoff is at noon, 3:30, or 7:00 PM.

Rutgers decor throughout this great vehicle abounds!

As for menu? Well, that varies by game. Every morning, they start off with bacon and eggs. Lunch is usually hot dogs and hamburgers, and dinner is either chicken or steak. So, the time of the game determines how many meals are prepared for each game.

For liquid refreshment, Josh prepares “The Raritan,” which is an Arnold Palmer (ice tea and lemonade) Maker’s Mark bourbon and mint. Like many tailgate menus, this was a recipe he learned from other tailgaters, and the group has made it their own.

Another interior view of this great Rutgers tailgating vehicle

A new addition to the tailgating group this year is Walter, a 11-week old golden retriever. While this is Walter’s first season with them, you can guarantee it won’t be his last. Walter was non-plussed by all of the excitement, and seemed to take it all in stride.

So congratulations to Jill and Josh Bucher and the entire RUKnightrider group on being named Tailgater of the Week for the first game of the 2018 season!

Additions

The first week of the football season brought a lot of sights and sounds, and we wanted to share a few of them with you. Of course, this being the second annual War Before the Shore, it was important to remind everyone that once the game was under our collective belts, the Jersey Shore beckoned. So, this great sand sculpture was placed outside the North entrance to the stadium, directly across the street from the Block R Party. Whoever did this deserves a lot of credit, it was very well done! This picture, which includes the Stars & Stripes, a young family preparing for the game, and even some airplane banners in the background seemed to set the tone for the game.

For those who have never been to the Scarlet Walk, I strongly encourage you to do so.

The view the players get as they begin the Scarlet Walk prior to the game.

I’ve previously shown the team walking down the walk, but there is great enthusiasm even before that, from the cheerleaders revving up the crowd before the team arrives,

to the team preparing for the walk, and being greeted by Head Coach Chris Ash and AD Pat Hobbs.

Head Coach Chris Ash greeting players as the exit the bus to begin the Scarlet Walk.
Pat Hobbs seems glad to see the team arrive to kick off the season.

to just seeing the team preparing to enter and take on the new season. It is an energy-filled event, and you need to be there, at LEAST once.

Finally, even though it is over 1700 miles from San Marcos, Texas to High Point.com Stadium, there are always some Texas State fans, even amongst the Scarlet Knight faithful. In the Green lot, I ran into Dick and Carol Newcomb, who are fans of both schools, as shown by their combined Rutgers and Texas State gear. With children who are Rutgers grads, and grandchildren who hail from Texas State, they came all the way from Eloy, AZ to take in the game. We were glad to have them here!

Dick and Carol Newcomb, with Dick wearing his Texas State hat!

For those of you who went to the tailgate and game can attest, it was perfect weather for the day. While cloudy earlier in the day, it kept the temperatures down, and the sun came out to make the game sunny and bright, and a great day for football!

With Rutgers on the road for the next two weeks, our next tailgate isn’t until the game against the Buffalo Bulls on September 22. See you then!

A great sign seen in the Dark Blue lot this week.