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10 Things We Didn’t Expect to See at IU’s Tailgate


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If you spend enough time around a tailgating lot, you’re bound to see some wild stuff. Over the years, fans have pushed the envelope of partying science, bringing bigger and better tailgates to life as they cheer on their favorite teams. To explore what the fans of 2017 have to offer, Hardware Retailing staffers Chad Husted and Graeme Haase visited tailgaters who were ready for Indiana University’s (IU) season opener in August. The Hoosiers were set to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes that night in Bloomington, Indiana, and here are 10 things we saw before the game that stood out.

  1. High-Top Fun
    While some tailgaters are perfectly fine with collapsible camp chairs and folding tables, one IU crew designed a more upscale event. This tailgate was complete with team color centerpieces, high-top tables and comfy bar chairs to help partiers get ready for the game in style.
  2. Woody Wagon
    You really can’t miss this piece of machinery when it rolls into a tailgate lot. A converted ambulance was decked out in Ohio State images, with huge speakers and a big screen TV out back to keep the whole party entertained. It draws eyes, and cameras, from the other tailgates around it.


  3. Wave Your Flag
    Flags could be seen across the tailgating lot, but one crew had a flag frenzy. They had the flag of the tailgaters’ alma mater and the University of Louisville flag, in hopes it would bring the team luck as they played IU’s biggest rival, Purdue University, over the weekend.

  4. USS Indiana
    The Hoosiers don’t fire a cannon when they score, but they do have military hardware on display. The prow, mainmast and two guns from the USS Indiana stand near the main entrance to Memorial Stadium, paying homage to the World War II battleship.

  5. Striped Splendor
    The Indiana basketball teams are famed for their candy-striped warmup pants featuring the school colors. One tailgater designed his own striped piece of art by
    converting a shuttle bus as transportation for the tailgate party. It even played the school fight song at the push of a button.

  6. Gourmet Cuisine
    The variety of food among tailgaters was mind blowing. From large, electric smokers to humble kettle grills, there was something for everyone. A surprising example was one cook dunking batches of fresh-cut french fries in oil over a gas grill.

  7. Refreshments Anyone?
    This early in the season, the temperature outside was warmer than typical football weather. Pink lemonade, a variation on IU’s crimson hue, was ready for anyone needing a cool down.

  8. Wavy and Wild
    Towering plastic men waving their arms in the air might be a sight more typical at the local used car lot, but a pair of them stood out amongst the flags and trucks in Bloomington.

  9. Grilling Fans
    IU memorabilia on T-shirts and hats flooded this event. But these fans took it up a notch, with IU-branded koozies and a matching red grill and toolbox for their grilling must-haves.

  10. Roll on Out
    Setup is very easy for some tailgaters. This tailgating party had a smoker, sink and refrigerator that were all mounted on a recreational vehicle and could be pulled out like a drawer.

About Chad Husted

Chad is an assistant editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A Purdue University graduate, Chad has covered sports and news at the high school, college and Olympic levels as a sports writer, editor and designer for multiple newspapers. Prior to joining the NRHA, he was the sports editor for the Herald Journal in Monticello, Indiana, and a designer and copy editor for the AIM Media Indiana group in Columbus, Indiana. When not cultivating his beard, he enjoys backpacking, cooking, traveling and watching too much sports and Netflix.

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