BYU tailgating like 'a ward dinner on steroids'

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 11 2012 5:39 p.m. MDT

A family tailgates at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PROVO — An overcast gray sky dropping occasional drizzles of rain did not stop hundreds of Brigham Young University tailgaters from having a good time before and after the BYU/Washington State football game Aug. 30.

Smoke from barbecues drifted over parking lots, which were dotted with blue and white canopies, shirts, hats and flags. People partied under the open sky, under canopies, from the trunks of cars, from pickup beds or the comfort of RVs of all sizes. A few kept track of other football games on big screen TVs.

Richard and Sandy Johnston, of West Valley City, have driven their RV to BYU football games for the past five or six years. They’ve had season tickets for 20 years. Usually they bring one of their grandchildren. “Some of them aren’t as interested in the game as we are, but they like the weekend out with us," Richard said.

As far as food goes, they keep it simple. “We’re having rib eyes, french fries and corn on the cob,” Richard said.

He said he has no secret sauce, but he has "a lot of seasonings in the trailer and whatever sounds good at the time, I’ll put on.”

Last year a group of friends were inspired by an Ole Miss tailgate party in Oxford, Miss.

“We were treated really well by the people out there, so we just wanted to bring that atmosphere here,” said Bryan “Bean” Mace of Sandy.

Through Twitter, Facebook and BYU avenues, Mace and his friends have brought together a group of around 50 people – and it’s growing.

“We’ve got a lot of people who volunteer to cook,” Mace said. “I’ve got a smoker and grill back here. I’ve been smoking meats all night.”

Like many other tailgaters, Mace makes up his own recipes as he cooks. He said he makes chili, but couldn’t share the recipe, “because I just go to the store, buy some things and throw it in the pot. It’s a free-style recipe.”

At 5 a.m. Koti Samani, of South Jordan, started cooking ribs and pork butts. “I just made up the rub recipe for the meat,” he said. Damon Carter, of Tooele, marinated his chicken in Zesty Italian dressing and then baked it in a Dutch oven.

Michael McQuain, of Provo, said his specialty is beef-a-roni in a microwave. Not a cook, but a retired TV sportscaster with BYU roots, McQuain is the group’s PR man. One question he said he hears a lot is, “Don’t you have to have alcohol to tailgate?”

His response? “No, absolutely not. That is the No. 1 thing we are here to dispel.”

He described BYU tailgating as “a ward dinner on steroids.” That mixed with football he said is a winning combination.

Oscar Mink and family members feasted on homemade carne asada and cheesecake served from the back of a pickup truck flying a huge blue “Y” flag. The cheesecake, a family recipe that Mink intends to keep secret, looked delicious.

“We’re having a fiesta,” said James Travis Richardson of Pocatello, Idaho. He and a group of students who studied together at the BYU Jerusalem Center were tailgating from the trunk of a car. The menu: tortilla chips, tortillas, assorted meats and chocolate frosted Rice Krispie treats.

“It’s a true Mormon tailgate party for the poor kids,” Richardson said.

Robert Blackmore of West Jordan, and father of BYU football player, Justin Blackmore, served hot dogs, brats and cheeseburgers from a well-equipped kiosk that included a grill and TV.

“Tailgating just gets everyone in the mood for the game,” Blackmore said.

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