South Carolina has one of the most unique tailgating experiences.  All schools have their tents, RV’s and special traditions and even some boats.   South Carolina has “The Cockaboose Railroad,”  22 garnet painted cabooses sitting on dead tracks right outside the stadium.

The Cockaboose Railroad, University of South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

Each one looks just like the other from the outside.  Inside is a different story.  The Cabooses originally sold for $40, 000.  Each owner decorates and outfits the inside as they please.  I heard there is a waiting list to buy and the price is over $200,000.  Pretty solid investment.

A Caboose in the Cockaboose Railroad South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

My “Tailgating With The Cockaboose Railroad” painting celebrates this tailgating tradition and includes the Stadium Village Pavilions.  As with any artist my one artistic license was to flip the unique lights in Williams-Brice Stadium to the other side of the Cockaboose Railroad.

Tailgating With The Cockaboose Railroad painting by Kathy Miller

Recipes from South Carolina fans include Low Country Shrimp and Grits,  Pecan Stuffed DatesPalmetto Cheeseburgers, and Peaches.  Click on the link for the Pecan Stuffed Dates then next for the Palmetto Cheeseburger recipe.

The University of South Carolina has a beautiful campus.  The main part of the campus is The Horseshoe.

The Horseshoe at University of South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

It is a brick paved horseshoe shaped quad with iron gates at the entrance.

The gates at South Carolina Horshoe photo by Kathy Miller

Many beautiful buildings line the horseshoe.

The President's Mansion USC photo by Kathy Miller

The Presidents Mansion was decorated for fall.

Fall at The President's Mansion South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

Students walking The Horseshoe

Students walking The Horseshoe University of South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

The Horshoe USC students photo by Kathy Miller

It is difficult to visualize the shape of The Horseshoe with my photos, but it is unique.

The Hospitality Management School’s patio.

Courtyard at College of Hotel Management USC Columbia, SC photo by Kathy Miller

The Longstreet Theater is just down the street from the gates at The Horseshoe.

Longstreet Theater Columbia SC photo by Kathy Miller

Tailgating Time in Columbia, South Carolina.  Daughter Lizzie joined us for the South Carolina/Florida game, her first game in 2 years.  It is tough to attend all those football games when you are out in the working world.  We began our day at Liberty Tap Room in the Vista area of downtown Columbia.

Lizzie & Kathy at Liberty Tap Room Columbia South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

Met Carolina fans, Eric & Amber Baughman.  They travel to Columbia for a game every year.

Eric & Amber Baughman Liberty Tap Room Columbia SC photo by Kathy Miller

 Gator fans, Sally, Mike, Sam & Shannon were also enjoying Liberty Tap Room.

Mike, Sally, Sam & Shannon Gator fans at Liberty Tap Room Columbia South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

Sometimes when you are immersed in your college football world, you just assume that everyone feels the same way you do.  We met the nicest people from New Jersey.  Kevin lives in Columbia and is Air Force.  His parents, Janice & Gary were  visiting from New Jersey.  Of course I have to ask where everyone went to school and Gary is a Virginia Tech grad.  Think I will have to paint a tailgating scene from Virginia Tech.

Gary, Janice, Chelsey & Kevin.  Thank you for your service, Kevin.

Gary, Janice, Chelsey & Kevin Liberty Tap Room Columbia SC photo by Kathy Miller

Time to drive the mile to Williams-Brice stadium. We were a little worried about parking, but as I always say $20 or $30 will buy you a good parking spot.  We found one right next to the State Fairgrounds which is the major tailgating area next to the stadium.  Our parking people were great.  Although a South Carolina fan she is from Jacksonville, FL;  small world.

Parking Lot People Columbia South Carolina USC game photo by Kathy Miller

The walk to the stadium was interesting.  Gator fans were chomping.

Gators Chomping at USC FL game Columbia South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

After realizing we needed more ice for our rolling cooler, Dave gets directions to the nearest convenience store.

Dave getting directions to the nearest convenience store need ice photo by Kathy Miller

Not everyone is anxious to get into the stadium.  These lovely ladies were playing cards and having a glass of red wine right outside their gorgeous RV.

Lovely ladies playing cards and having a glass of red wine outside Williams-Brice Stadium photo by Kathy Miller

Pictures from our walk to our tailgate.

Tailgating Cocky photo by Kathy Miller

Williams-Brice Stadium with unique lights Columbia South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

South Carolina blondes.

South Carolina blondes photo by Kathy Miller

Another South Carolina blonde.

Young Carolia fan with frisbee photo by Kathy Miller

Beautiful, shy, South Carolina blonde.

Shy blonde South Carolina fan photo by Kathy Miller

Dave found ice for the Rolling Cooler.

Dave finds ice for the rolling cooler photo by Kathy Miller

And we continued our trek to our tailgate.  Stopped to visit with Celeste and Todd.  What a great South Carolina family.

Celeste & Todd, USC fans photo by Kathy Miller

Next we met Charlotte and Stuart White.  We exchanged stories about our fathers going to South Carolina after WWII.  She told me about her father, Dave Smith, who played football and golf for the Gamecocks, after serving in WWII.

Stuart & Charlotte White South Carolina fans father Dave Smith photo by Kathy Miller

They are a house divided with their daughter going to Alabama.  Stuart is also Tide fan.  The top flag has both schools.

House Divided, South Carolina and Alabama photo by Kathy Miller

We finally made it to our destination, a tailgate hosted by David & Dana Berg, with Gator friend, Stephanie and daughters, Emma & Curry.

David Berg & Family photo by Kathy Miller

David is an avid Gator, Dana is originally from Columbia and their daughter, Curry is currently a student at South Carolina.  Daughter Emma is wearing Florida colors, but hopes to go to SMU.

David Berg Gator Chomping photo by Kathy Miller

 Another house divided.

Everyone doesn't like the Gator Chomp photo by Kathy Miller

The Gators Chomp and The Game Cocks do that cocky sign.

Fun with the Bergs and the South Carolina cocky sign photo by Kathy Miller

These young South Carolina fans were sporting their colors and tattoos on their cheeks.

Elliot & Eric, Claiborne, Campbell, Claire and Logan.

Young South Carolina fans photo by Kathy Miller

As I have said before, you never know who you will meet at a tailgate.  As this story unfolded it  just got better and better.

A group of South Carolina students approached us and asked if they could take a picture with us.  Rob Dasher told us his organic chemistry professor, a Gator fan, would give him 10 extra credit points if he had his picture made with some Gator fans.   I took the picture and Dave and Lizzie with her Chomp helped Rob get that extra credit.  Wonder if he might get more extra credit points for being in KathyMillerTime’s blog?

Rob Dasher, Mary Catherine Wall & friends with Gator fans, Dave & Lizzie photo by Kathy Miller

Rob & I struck up a conversation about his hometown, Savannah.  I told him my mother and father met in Savannah. My mother was from a small town nearby.  He replied, “my family is from Effingham County.  We are Salzburgers.”  I said, “I am a Salzburger!”  A little bit of history here.  Lutherans from Salzburg, Austria settled in a little community called Ebenezer on the Savannah River in 1734.  Click here to learn more about the Salzburgers.

I also struck up a conversation with Mary Catherine Wall,  a performance artist/singer.  Hope to hear her sing sometime.

Another interesting side note, when I asked their friend where she was from she said Huntington.  I said, “Long Island?”  She said, “Yes.”  I couldn’t believe it because Dave spent many years, including his high school years in Huntington.  Such a small world.  Always pays to ask “Where are you from?”

Kathy doing the Cocky sign photo by Kathy Miller

One more picture before the game and you can tell it is getting dark.  I wanted to be in the picture with our wonderful tailgating hosts.  I do not Gator Chomp, but I managed a Baby Chomp.  And the one doing the BIG Gator Chomp is Chris Knight visiting from Miami.  Enjoyed meeting everyone from this tailgate.

Kathy & her tailgate baby chomping photo by Kathy Miller

We left our tailgate to visit the “Cockaboose Railroad.”

The Cockaboose Railroad South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

The crowds were gathering.

Crowds gathering at Cockaboose Railroad photo by Kathy Miller

Lizzie & Dave on the Cockaboose Railroad photo by Kathy Miller

Cockaboose Railroad with Dave & LIzzie photo by Kathy Miller

Carolina fans getting ready to leave the Cockaboose Railroad to make their way inside the stadium.

Carolina fans leave the Cockaboose Railroad photo by Kathy Miller

Game Time.  Love the Gator drummers.Gator Band Members photo by Kathy Miller

We made our way to our seats and sat right behind  Chad, a friend of our son James.  Very small world.

Kathy & Chad at South Carolina FL game photo by Kathy Miller

Chad & his Gator friends photo by Kathy Miller

I  love this young fan getting his first taste of a college football game.

Young Gator fan at South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

Team loyalty begins early.

Young Gator Fan at South Carolina game photo by Kathy MillerDSC02498

The South Carolina Marching Band’s  Pregame Show is one of the best in college football.

With lots of fireworks,

Fireworks at South Carolina photo by Kathy Miller

Fireworks at Williams-Brice stadium photo by Kathy Miller

and a stirring performance of “2001: A Space Odyssey”

South Carolina Band photo by Kathy Miller

which includes Cocky arriving to the stadium in his “Magic Box”.

Cocky, South Carolina's mascot arrives in a drape covered cage photo by Kathy Miller

As the Carolina fans ratchet up the noise and frantically twirl their towels, Cocky bursts out of his Magic Box in a smoke filled spectacular way.

Cocky gets out of his cage in a spectacular way photo by Kathy Miller

As the music peaks the team storms the field.

2001: A Space Odyssey entrance of football team photo by Kathy Miller

Just love the bands and the  traditions at each school.  For those of you new to my Tailgating Series,  I am passionate about my teams (Tennessee, Florida, Duke) but have learned to love the traditions at all the schools.  The people I have met along the way have become my friends and it doesn’t matter who they root for.  The friendships and the relationships made are what makes America great.  Work should not be so much fun!  What a great way to celebrate college football, college bands and college traditions.

Christmas time will soon be here.  Looking for the perfect, unique gift for your Gamecock fan?   Prints of “Tailgating On The Cockaboose Railroad”  by Kathy Miller, make wonderful gifts.  Available in 11×14 prints, $50.   5×7 set of 5 cards for $20 make perfect stocking stuffers.  Other options include 20 x24 fine art giclee print on canvas.  Click on above link to see options or email me for the card sets.

"Tailgating On The Cockaboose Railroad" painting by Kathy Miller

 A great gift for that hard to buy for Gator fan, “Tailgating In The Swamp” painting by Kathy Miller.  Details the same as above.  Visit KathyMillerTime.com or email me at kathy@kathymillertime.com for more information.

Tailgating In The Swamp painting by Kathy Miller

Prints and cards are available for all 14 SEC schools.

5x7 cards for all 14 SEC schools photo by Kathy Miller

Tailgating Through The SEC prints and cards 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.


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