Across the country, between 20 million and 50 million of Americans tailgate in a stadium parking lot.
Also, according to tailgatingideas.com, tailgaters spent more than $500 per year on food for their tailgating bashes. That does not include alcolohic beverages.
Belpre resident Brian Woodyard, 41, of Belpre, has done a few tailgate parties in the past 10 years, usually for Ohio State football games.
Although he brings the grill, coolers and whatever else he needs, he said he doesn’t go to the extreme of other tailgaters who bring TVs. For food, he’ll usually bring something to prepare or stop somewhere such as Subway for carryout.
“The simpler, the better, I always say,” Woodyard said.
Burgers may still be the most popular fare for tailgaters, but any type of handheld food can be convenient and delicious, from wings to sandwiches to chips to meatballs to brownies. Some partiers opt to go a little more upscale with steak or chicken on the grill. And don’t forget plenty of water, beer and other beverages.
His best advice to someone new to the tailgating scene is to get there early.
“For an 8 p.m. game, I have been there at 6 in the morning,” Woodyard said. “I am there for the day. Usually, when you get there early, you get a good spot.”
Woodyard said the scene gets pretty crazy, especially after the games let out and especially if the Buckeyes win.
“The best part is when you meet people from the opposing team. They always say Ohio State has the best tailgate parties,” Woodyard said.
When the traffic gets heavy leaving the stadium, Woodyard said he loves the live music available while things clear out.
If Woodyard and Williamstown resident Bob Kyer ever met up, it could be a party in the making.
Kyer, also known as “Buckeye Bob,” is a self-described “huge Buckeye fan,” despite his address.
“I love the camaraderie among the other fans,” Kyer, 52, said. “The people there are 105,000 probably. There’s so much to do on game day.”
When he attends the games, it’s either with his wife, Cyndy, 52, or his best pal, Marietta resident Bob Davis, also known as “Friday Night Bob.”
Kyer said they always make a full weekend out of it, going up on Friday night and returning on Sunday.
While he doesn’t do traditional tailgating himself, he takes in the party atmosphere with the live bands that entertain the tailgaters or they will walk among the tailgaters in the parking lot, visiting and making new friends and buying all sorts of food and beverages.
Kyer said he is especially looking forward to two upcoming games: The Oct. 19 homecoming game against Iowa and the Nov. 30 game against Michigan State in Ann Arbor, Mich.
He said he has invited about 100 Facebook friends to meet up at a special tailgate event during the homecoming game. Then, later in the season, Kyer, Davis and some friends will make the trek up to Michigan for a special tailgate event, in enemy territory no less.
“God help us all,” Kyer said.
While Kyer and Davis prepare to head north to Columbus or Michigan, one local family seems to be the epicenter of tailgating activities at some of the Warren Warriors football games more locally.
Randy and Karen Henthorn, of Fleming, can be found in the high school parking lot grilling hot dogs, slathered with Karen’s special hot dog sauce.
To make it even more of an event, folks know if they show up with a dish or snacks to share, the Henthorns are there to welcome them at about 5 p.m. Friday nights.
“I got yelled at a couple of weeks ago because I didn’t have (the sauce),” Karen said.
In fact, to make it more about school spirit, Randy bought an old bus a few years ago and painted it blue and white, similar to some of the other team or band buses the district owns.
They started bringing the bus three or four years ago when their oldest son was on the team. Now, they continue the tradition with their sons, Andrew, a junior, and Zak, a senior.
Like Buckeye Bob and Friday Night Bob, it’s the school spirit and spending time celebrating the games with other fans that keep the Henthorns coming back each week.
“It’s the camaraderie of friends and the school spirit with the kids at the end of each week,” Karen said.