Tailgating playbook: WKU community prepares for season’s first tailgate

Tailgating playbook: WKU community prepares for season's first tailgate

Caitlin Carter

Mt. Washington senior Jordan Craddock knows exactly what he’ll be doing on Saturday afternoon.

“I plan on drinking a few adult beverages with friends, throwing the pigskin a little bit and playing some cornhole,” Craddock said. “And if I can still walk, I’ll go to the football game.”

President Gary Ransdell wants students to enjoy the tailgating experience on Saturday before WKU football’s home opener against Indiana University, but he doesn’t want them to forget there’s a game to attend afterward.

To make tailgating more enjoyable, WKU has opened up new areas on campus to park or picnic, Ransdell said.

“Other universities use their whole campus for the event, and we needed to do that,” he said.

With the new free space available, Ransdell said he believes more people will participate, making tailgating even more popular.

WKU is expecting a large crowd of student tailgaters Saturday, said Charley Pride, director of student activities and organizations.

Students can no longer park on the lawn in front of McLean and Bates-Runner Halls, but they now have a designated lot to tailgate in between 14th Avenue and Kentucky Street, Pride said.

“We believe students will take advantage of the new tailgating area,” he said. “If that lot gets too crowded, students can go to the Adams Street lot – the gravel lot toward the Kentucky (Building).”

The student tailgating area will feature disc jockey Kevin Johnson, said Rick French, assistant director of athletic facilities.

Four hours before the game, Johnson will begin providing music, and Head Coach Willie Taggart will stop by to get the “ra-ra” going, French said.

Spirit will be prevalent in the student tailgating area on Saturday, but as a warm-up, students can join in on the First Friday Rally, Ransdell said.

Ransdell said the rally, which is expected to become a tradition, will begin at 12:30 p.m. on South Lawn. The football team, band, students and cheerleaders will all be participants.

“A lot of campuses already do something similar,” he said. “It’s part of the (Bowl Championship Series) experience.”

While WKU officials hope that tailgating offers entertainment and fun for all, rules must still be enforced, Pride said.

Craddock said he understands the rules in place but believes tailgaters should have more freedom.