Tusk to Tail: Sometimes a tailgate needs a touch of barbacoa and hay

by Dale Cullins (dkcullins@sbcglobal.net) 351 views 

As bad as the weather was in Little Rock for Ole Miss, it was just the opposite in Fayetteville for Tulsa. A pleasantly cool foggy start to the morning quickly burned off as soon as the sun peaked up over Ole Main Saturday.

We arrived on campus around 6:50 a.m., and we were not the first. Plenty of people were setting up and getting prepared for the day’s festivities. As the sky continued to brighten, it was just a picture-perfect day in the Ozarks for Homecoming. The Hogs did their part by getting the shutout win, 23-0.

We are getting used to the early starts by now. A nice cadre of Tusk to Tailers were onsite and ready to get things set up. By this point in the season, the tent layout has been decided upon, so everyone sets to a task and gets moving. If we have 6-8 folks, we can have it all set up with both TVs dialed in to the satellites, and mixing our first beverage in 40-45 minutes. With the rain on Friday, we decided not to do any pre-work at the tent that afternoon, which did slow us down some on Saturday morning. At least we were able to get some straw laid down after the Red-White basketball game Friday night.

Victory Village North is on a slope, so any significant rainfall gets a good deal of runoff which leads to some mushy turf, even under the tents. Mark Wagner’s SUV paid the price for hauling the bales of straw, but it was worth it. We received a good number of comments on how thoughtful it was to put the hay down, especially from the ladies.

Brad Davis brought up all of his cooking gear, and set up a tasty breakfast taco bar. You could make your taco with barbacoa, chorizo, bacon, or sausage with all of the expected fixings. The tacos were a big hit, and I was still receiving compliments on them Sunday morning at church.

Vanderbilt comes to The Hill this Saturday. Because things were shaken up when Missouri and Texas A&M joined the conference back in 2012, it has been 13 years since their last visit. You may remember that the Hogs lost to Vandy that year, and it was primarily due to Houston Nutt not letting his freshman phenom Darren McFadden tote the rock. It was an exciting finish to the game, but still a loss. I was already done with him by that point, but I do remember that being the time when most of the rest of Tusk to Tail could see the writing on the wall for Coach Nutt.

The weather appears to be perfect again this weekend for the Commodores. The rain will be on Thursday, not Friday, so things should be dry come Saturday. We are holding out hope that the network suits will give the Hogs a night game or at least an afternoon game for LSU, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that this will be the last of our breakfast tailgates. A few casseroles, chicken nuggets, bacon, and donuts are just enough to get us to kickoff. I expect about 35 people. These early starts are beginning to take their toll on even the best of fans.

As always, remember the traffic cutoff will be at 7 a.m. if you don’t have a parking pass. I anticipate a slightly larger crowd this week in the stadium as it is a conference game, so be prepared for some heavier traffic around the stadium. If you are in town on Friday night, you might attend the men’s basketball exhibition game at Bud Walton Arena. Daniel Gafford and Mike Anderson’s crop of newcomers are taking the court at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office.

Hope to see you on The Hill. Go Hogs, Beat Commodores!
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Editor’s note: Welcome to the seventh season of Tusk to Tail – the sport of tailgating as organized, performed and perfected by a group of Hog fans who have been tailgating together sober and otherwise for more than a decade. Tusk to Tail is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by the River Valley Smile Center … because it’s another dang rebuilding year and you’re gonna need a good smile to get through the season. The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter and Instagram, all @TuskToTail.

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