HOWDY! WELCOME TO AGGIELAND. HOME OF THE 12TH MAN


After a couple of fun days in San Antonio and Austin, James and I left for College Station and Texas A&M;  the real reason behind our Texas trip.

We wanted to taste Texas barbecue.  We learned quickly that Texans prefer beef to pork in their barbecue, beef brisket.   I wonder if being the Longhorn State has anything to do with it.

First stop on Friday, Southside Market in Elgin, TX.

Southside Market, Elgin TX home of barbecue beef briskit and sausage photo by Kathy Miller

Texas Style beef brisket and their famous Elgin beef smoked sausage.  James ate brisket, I had the sausage.  People were lined up ordering the sausage in bulk, 5 pound units.

Our first view on the Texas A&M campus was of Kyle Field, ready for the upcoming Florida/Texas A&M game.

Kyle Field, Texas A&M stadium photo by Kathy Miller

After circling the campus to get our bearings, James parked and  we walked to the center of campus looking for  the Academic Building,  A&M’s signature building.

Academic Building Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miller

I  was thrilled to hear my first “Howdy”  from an Aggie student.  The Aggies are known as the friendliest campus, welcoming all visitors with “Howdy”.

The dome on the Academic Building.

The dome on the Academic Building, Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miller

The Dome is represented in my “Tailgating In Aggieland” painting.

Tailgating In Aggieland painting by Kathy Miller

Very near the Academic Building stands the Century Oak Tree, where many a marriage proposal has taken place.

Century Oak, Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miller

 Our next priority was to stake out our tailgating spot for the next day.  We heard that Spence Park right next to the stadium was an ideal place to tailgate, mainly because of its grass and trees.

People were already setting up their tailgates and tents.  We asked some nice young Aggie’s if we, as Florida fans could set up next to them.  They said, “Sure and don’t worry about leaving things overnight.”  We headed for Walmart.

Remember the only tailgating item I had with me was my Tennessee rolling cooler.  James bought the cheapest tailgating tent he could find, I bought a few chairs and a large cooler.  We went back to Spence Park and began setting up next to our new Aggie friends who told us they were serving Gator tail in the morning.   We left our chairs and the tent at “half mast” so it wouldn’t blow over during the night.

Setting up Spence Park Tailgate, Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miller

After checking into our lodge, the Vineyard Court Hotel with its A&M courtyard topiaries,

Vineyard Court Hotel topiary Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miller

James decided the bright orange T on my rolling cooler had to go.  He thought the Aggies might think it was for Texas and he didn’t want 2 strikes against us.  He drew a large orange F for Florida on poster board and covered the T.

We headed to Veritas Wine & Bistro for dinner meeting up with Florida friends.   After dinner we leisurely sat and visited to kill time until Midnight Yell at the stadium.  As we were getting ready to leave, I wanted to get a picture of our group, but didn’t want to disturb the group behind us with photography flashes.   I asked the gentleman right behind me if he would mind if I took a picture.  He stood up, said,”Sure” and started posing with me.  I was a little confused and said, “oh well, let’s get the whole table”.  I walked around to the other side and asked James to join us.

Gig 'Em Aggies at Veritas Wined & Bistro photo by Kathy Miller

Lots of Aggies with their thumbs up.  Gig ’em Aggies.

My friends informed me that I had been talking to Nat Moore.  After not recognizing Nat, I immediately returned and had our picture taken together.  He is accustomed to having people recognize him and asking for pictures to be made with him.  I was trying to be polite in not bothering other diners with camera  flashes.  He was very nice, an excellent Florida Gator and Miami Dolphin.  He didn’t mind my being a Tennessee fan as long as I was not a Seminole.  Go figure.

Nat Moore & Kathy Miller Veritas College Park photo by Kathy Miller

MIDNIGHT YELL!

I want to thank James’ friends, Gavin, Tyler, Dave and Ryan for agreeing to go to Midnight Yell instead of hitting the Dixie Chicken in the Northgate bar district.  Also to Ryan’s parents, Suzanne and Rob for agreeing with me and insisting we go.  What an experience.  Every midnight before a home game, students, the band, and the yell leaders fill the student side of the stadium.    We arrived in time for Midnight Yell.  We sat in the end zone.

Midnight Yell at Texas A&M Gator fans photo by Kathy Miller

The student section side of Kyle Field was full.  The yell leaders were leading yells (or cheers).  These are no ordinary cheers.  They are Army cheers with lots of hand motions. They sang the fight song and told stories about how they were going to beat the hell out of the Gators.

Midnight Yell Aggies & Gators photo by Kathy Miller

The lights went out.  Tradition has it that you kiss your date when the lights go out.  If you don’t have a date you light a lighter.  Hopefully you will find a date.  So fun.  The Twelfth Man was ready for game day.

Game Day!

James and I left early heading to Spence Field.  We loaded our car with my rolling cooler filled with mimosas and another larger cooler filled with beer for any Gators who might find their way to our tailgate.  The weather is BEAUTIFUL.  Remember the 101 degree temperatures?  A cool front had arrived overnight and the temperature was in the low 80’s with a delightful breeze.

As promised Tanner and his friends brought us their Gator tail to taste.  It was actually very good.

Tanner & his Gator tail photo by Kathy Miller

  Lots of washers playing between GatorRyan and Aggies.

Cornhole competition between Gator Ryan and Aggie fan photo by Kathy Miller

And I thought only Cornhole brought fans together.

Gator James and Aggie cornhole photo by Kathy Miller

I learned how to “Gig ’em Aggies”.  (I am wearing my Alamo Kathy Ranger button.)

Kathy and her Aggie Friends Gig 'em Aggies photo by Kathy Miller

Pictures tell the story better than I can.

Ryan & Gavin at Gator Texas A&M game photo by Kathy Miller

Garrison Tailgate Texas A&M alumni photo by Kathy Miller

 

Kathy & Aggie friends, Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miler

Love my buttons.  Gator Mom, Beat Everybody except Tennessee, Beat Aggies and the Alamo sheriff’s badge.

Wonderful Aggie fans photo by Kathy Miller

One of my favorite tailgates, Back Porch Tailgate!

One of my favorite tailgates, back porch tailgat photo by Kathy Miller

Cadets and their horses.

Cadets & their horses photo by Kathy Miller

Horses ready for Texas A&M game photo by Kathy Miller

Aggie girls and their boots.

Texas A&M girls in boots photo by Kathy Miller

Girls in Boots at Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miller

Aggie boots and lace.

Love the boots and Lace photo by Kathy Miller

Gators at Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miller

Aggie girls photo by Kathy Miller

Kathy & the mysterious Aggie photo by Kathy Miller

Love this Aggie tailgate with the American flag.Love this Aggie Tailgate with American flag photo by Kathy Miller

My favorite Aggie.

Gig 'em Aggies symbol man photo by Kathy Miller

The rear of my favorite Aggie photo by Kathy Miller

Game time in Aggieland.  Ready to go to the stadium.

Game time Gators Aggies Sec game photo by Kathy Miller

Welcome to Aggieland!

Welcome to Aggieland Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miller

Home of the 12th Man!

Home Of The 12th Man photo by Kathy Miller

I loved the military precision of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.

Fightin' Aggie Band Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miller

Aggie Band photo by Kathy Miller

The tubas are fun to watch making their intricate turns.

Tubas and Aggie Band photo by Kathy Miller

The Fightin’ Aggie band, the tubas and the Yell Leaders in white are important and are featured in my Tailgating In Aggieland Painting.

Tailgating In Aggieland painting by Kathy Miller

Kathy & the Tuba player.

Kathy & The Tuba Player Texas A&M photo by Kathy Miller

Thank you Texas A&M fans and alumni for a memorable visit.  Loved your school, spirit, and traditions.  I am still not an expert on your many traditions, especially those hand signals, but as a fan of college football and especially our military I sure enjoyed soaking up all the ceremony and traditions.

The following day before leaving Texas A&M,  James and I visited the Bonfire Memorial.

James visiting the Bonfire Memorial

We wanted to pay our respects to those who died honoring a longstanding tradition that defines the Aggie spirit.

There's a spirit can ne'er be told Texas A&M Bonfire Memorial photo by Kathy Miller

Watch for upcoming stories from my tailgating travels.  I welcome your comments, recipes and any inside information on your favorite tailgating spots.

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.

5 Comments

  • Kay says:

    Kathy,
    This is so good. I felt like I was right there with you and James. I love learning about all the different school traditions.

  • sec1fan says:

    Thanks Kay. We had such a fun time. Now will see if Alabama enjoys College Station as much. Go Vols at Oregon.

  • sec1fan says:

    My friend, Hank an avid Ole Miss fan sent me an email reminding me that Ole Miss was also playing in Texas….same day as Alabama Texas A&M… That “other” shade of Orange and that other UT…..Hotty Toddy!

  • David says:

    Thanks for the fun read Kathy. Just one more tradition to confuse you with, there is no such instrument as a “tuba” in the Aggie Band, just “bases” or sousaphones. While the highbrow reason would be tubas are a symphonic instrument, sousaphone is the tuba’s marching equivalent, the real reason is “tuba’s” first two letters are “tu”, a reference to that school in Austin. Also, flutes are not allowed in the Aggie Band, replaced with the piccolo. (A flute extends too far off the bandsman’s shoulder, making it impossible to play in the Aggie Band’s countermarch)

    • Thank you for your comment! Loved you setting me straight about that other school in Austin! The other UT…Also interesting about the piccolo…We love piccolos in the Gator band…especially when they are playing You Can Call Me Al.

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