Pre-Game Parties Compete with Tailgates
For a large number of Razorback football fans, hanging out under a tent tailgating for several hours before kickoff is a less-than-ideal way to bring in the upcoming game. Instead, some fans are bringing the tailgate inside and into their homes.
Whether it be in a college dorm or an apartment off campus, indoor pre-game parties are becoming an increasingly popular way to count down to kickoff. They are especially popular among students who like to line up early to ensure a great seat once the game starts.
“We try to line up as early as possible,” said Michelle Smith, junior. “We don’t always line up right when you’re allowed to, but for us, waiting in line is half the fun, even when it’s hot.”
At most pre-game parties, there are many of the same elements as a traditional tailgate: great food, energetic fans, music and a plethora of Razorback gear. However, indoor tailgaters get to enjoy additional luxuries, such as air-conditioning and a clean bathroom just around the corner, at their tailgate party.
“I always have everyone over at my place before the game,” said Dontay Renuard, junior.
As a less formal pre-game tailgate party, some girls get together to get primped for the game. They help each other with hair, makeup and nails and always make sure to sport their most trendy Razorback styles.
“I like getting together with all my (sorority) sisters to get ready for the game,” said Alicia Oliver, senior. “We just talk and hang out and have fun. And usually we’ll all sit together once we get there.”
For those interested in a more “traditional” pre-game party, games like Baggo, horseshoes and darts are a great way to hang out and have fun before the game. Tossing around a football moves the pre-game party outside to the yard, which can be a nice opportunity to stretch and get some air before spending several hours packed in a stadium filled with thousands of people.
“I cook for everyone, and they all love my food,” Renuard said. “They get pumped for the game, and full, too.”
For those who are 21 or older, adding a few cold beers to the mix adds to the football spirit. Sometimes party hosts will set up drinking games such as beer pong or flip cup at their house as a way to get everyone acquainted with each other and loosened up for the upcoming game.
“We usually drink beer while watching other football games on TV,” said Matt Cameron, senior.
Watching other college football games on TV is another way to get party guests excited for the game. Students often enjoy watching other colleges play because it affects rankings for other schools as well as the Razorbacks.
“I’m a Michigan fan,” said Justin Orns, sophomore, “so I like to watch games that will affect them and their ranking. But I still love the Razorbacks.”
For more popular games against rivals LSU, Auburn or Alabama, many parents visit Fayetteville to enjoy the college-town atmosphere on game day as well as the game itself. While some students get embarrassed by their parents, many say they like to pre-game with their parents at the house.
“My parents are in town for the Alabama game,” said Katie Evans, senior. “My dad always grills at my place, we play cards, then we drive to the game and all sit together. I can tailgate with my friends anytime I want, so I like to spend time with my parents before the big game.”
Pre-game parties can include just a few roommates hanging out before the game or a group of friends going all-out to welcome the game with barbecue, horseshoes and good music before kickoff. Either way, tailgating at home can be just as fun and festive as setting up a tent outside the stadium.