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.
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.
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.
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 is represented in my “Tailgating In Aggieland” painting.
Very near the Academic Building stands the Century Oak Tree, where many a marriage proposal has taken place.
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.
After checking into our lodge, the Vineyard Court Hotel with its A&M courtyard topiaries,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lots of washers playing between GatorRyan and Aggies.
And I thought only Cornhole brought fans together.
I learned how to “Gig ’em Aggies”. (I am wearing my Alamo Kathy Ranger button.)
Pictures tell the story better than I can.
Love my buttons. Gator Mom, Beat Everybody except Tennessee, Beat Aggies and the Alamo sheriff’s badge.
One of my favorite tailgates, Back Porch Tailgate!
Cadets and their horses.
Aggie girls and their boots.
Aggie boots and lace.
Love this Aggie tailgate with the American flag.
My favorite Aggie.
Game time in Aggieland. Ready to go to the stadium.
Welcome to Aggieland!
Home of the 12th Man!
I loved the military precision of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.
The tubas are fun to watch making their intricate turns.
The Fightin’ Aggie band, the tubas and the Yell Leaders in white are important and are featured in my Tailgating In Aggieland Painting.
Kathy & the Tuba player.
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.
We wanted to pay our respects to those who died honoring a longstanding tradition that defines the Aggie spirit.
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.