The Spirit of WKU Tailgating

Tyler Eaton

Interviews conducted for this story took place on Sept. 16 before WKU hosted Louisiana Tech.

From TopperTown to South Lawn, a stroll through the area surrounding Houchens-Smith Stadium on gameday is filled with friends and family enjoying one of WKU’s greatest traditions: tailgating.

“We’ve been doing it for about 3 years,” Connie Lamb said. Lamb, a 1975 graduate from WKU, still remembers the energy WKU football brought to campus.

“We had a fabulous football team down here,” Lamb said about her years at WKU. “It was full, 20,000 on each side.”

This year, WKU has been having local bands perform during the tailgating festivities at the South Lawn. Saturday featured local performers Tyrone Dunn and Kin-Foke.

Dunn, a Bowling Green native, took it as an honor to get to perform before last week’s game against Louisiana Tech.

“We’re just honored to be here,” said Dunn. “We love it here, for the fact that this is Western Kentucky University, our hometown.”

A common theme between both Lamb and Dunn is that, while both had tailgated a few times earlier in their lives, they’ve both began tailgating more regularly as time has gone on.

“I’ve tailgated a few times out here,” said Dunn when asked about his personal experiences. “As I got older, I started to come and tailgate more, but it’s a lot of fun. I enjoy it.”

As for Lamb, family is the root of her tailgating experience. “We started again because I have two daughters that were going to Western,” said Lamb

When asked about her favorite part of tailgating, Lamb quickly replied, “The friends. We just like to get together, but we are big Hilltopper fans.”

Friendship is a common theme at WKU tailgating events, as people can be seen handing out food and drinks all around South Lawn and in the lots. In fact, my interview with Lamb didn’t begin until she offered me a bite to eat.

To many tailgaters, this kindness and companionship creates a warm atmosphere that one can’t help but notice.

This was the case for State Farm agent Donna Driver, who was walking around the South Lawn handing out fans to tailgaters.

“It’s real exciting,” said Driver. “There’s a lot of things going on, a lot of nice music, and you get to meet a lot of different people.”

Driver was not the only one to take notice of this, as Dunn made a very similar observation about the feeling created by WKU tailgating.

“It’s a wonderful atmosphere, I love it,” said Dunn. “People come together and eat, drink, and have a good time.”

Everywhere you look, friends and family are coming together to escape the stress of school or the work week, if just for a few hours, to be able to relax, have a bit to eat, and make memories.

All these festivities before kickoff revolve around family and friendship, not to mention a common desire to see a WKU victory.

When asked if she was picking Western to win against LA Tech, Lamb replied, “Oh, of course.” Those around her laughed and nodded in agreement. This is Hilltopper nation, after all.