Every weekend in autumn, millions of football fans across America roll their Recreational Vehicles into stadium parking lots, pull out their grills, and revel in being part of a huge RV tailgate party.
In fact, pre-game tailgating is frequently cited by RVers as one of the most popular ways they use their rigs during the fall and winter months, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA.com). Tailgaters seem to thrive on barbecue smoke, parking lot camaraderie and bragging about their home team.
“Where else can people of all backgrounds come together, not only to cheer and show support for their favorite team, but also to make new friends, relax and have fun,” said Joe Cahn, the self-proclaimed “Commissioner of Tailgating” (Tailgating.com).
“Generally guys from 20 to 90 would never listen to a 10-year-old talk about religion or politics, but they will talk to a 10-year-old about football statistics,” said Cahn during a telephone interview from the road. “Sports and tailgating cross all boundaries, even age.”
Cahn is living what many football fans might believe is the ideal life. Each year he averages 35,000 miles in his 40-foot 2005 Country Coach diesel-pusher motor home. Between now and the Super Bowl, he will attend at least 45 NFL, collegiate and high school football games.
“Tailgating is the perfect American neighborhood,” he said. “It is a place where you are not judged by your religion, ethnic background, race or financial status. You are judged by what color jersey you have on.”
His current “Inspire 330” coach has three slides that provide for a roomy living area and sleeping space with queen-size bed. This rig comes with a 400-horsepower Caterpillar powerplant with 1,100 lb.-ft. of torque and an Allison transmission. Cahn said he always arrives at each tailgate party with a full fresh water tank and empty gray and black tanks. “There are always people asking to use the bathroom.”
Here are some emerging tailgating trends for RVers:
“Tailgating is big all over America,” said Cahn. “Fans of universities and professional teams don’t only live in the immediate area, they often come from 100, 200 and 300 miles away.”
— On many college campuses the party extends over several days. RVers often arrive around 5 p.m. on the Friday before a Saturday game and stay through Sunday noon. While some colleges offer parking that is relatively inexpensive, at other universities RV parking can get quite spendy.
For instance, Louisiana State University has four motor home lots where costs run from $500 to $6,000 per space for the season; that cost is in addition to an annual contribution of $250 to $3,500. Interestingly, all spaces were sold out prior to opening game.
— The typical tailgater, according to an item on Tailgating.com, is college educated, between 35 and 44 years old, and spends more than $500 a year on tailgating food. He or she attends at least six tailgate parties each season that begin four hours before kickoff.
“Each year, particularly at college games, I see more and more women,” said Cahn. “I think it is because tailgating is such a social happening. It is like the reception before the main event.”
— Julianne G. Crane, Motor Matters
Photo: Friends enjoy getting together for pre-game RV tailgating parties during football season. (Courtesy of GoRVing.com)
Photo : Fans return year after year not just for the football, but also because of the camaraderie they share with RVers. (Courtesy of Recreation Vehicle Industry Association)
Photo : Cahn inside his Country Coach Inspire 330 motor home decorated with NFL pennants. (Courtesy of Tailgating.com)
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2012