The art of ISU tailgating

Joy Wessels

While its debatable how much each Iowa State student enjoys a football game, almost everyone can agree that tailgating is an art that should be perfected by the time graduation rolls around.

I’ve experienced two tailgating seasons at Iowa State so far, which is why I’m willing to share that experience with those looking for some guidance. I can tell you exactly what to bring, and more importantly what not to bring to the tailgating grounds.

A bit of wisdom to all freshmen out there: traveling in groups doesn’t keep you hidden. Actually, it just draws more attention to you and your “posse.” So if you’re trying to get away with something illegal, traveling with 10 other guilty-looking freshmen won’t help your cause.

Although the student lot is typically the place for students of all ages to go, it’s also a place Ames cops like to frequent before and after football games.

The student lot is conveniently located right across the street from Jack Trice Stadium on 4th Street and University Boulevard. Don’t be fooled, though: you might think this nice location will allow you to transport your illegal beverages openly, but really you’ll just be asking for a “Minor in Possession” charge.

While some students look to tailgating as an opportunity to just drink, it’s also a good place for pregame entertainment as well.

Bags, a game in which you score points by throwing beanbags into a wooden structure, is a huge hit at tailgating parties. Places like Walmart and Target sell bags sets pretty cheap. You can build your own set with just a few pieces of wood and a little cardinal and gold paint.

Food is an absolute must for tailgating. Though it can be difficult to supply treats yourself, it’s sometimes necessary. You’d be surprised by how many of your new friends have parents who come tailgating with an abundance of delicious food. 

As a college student, you learn how to mooch quite well. Put those skills to use by snagging a free burger before the game starts.

One thing to always keep track of during football season is your ISU ID card. If you have season tickets or purchase a student ticket, you’ll always be asked to show your card twice — once at the gate and again at the entrance to the student section.

While there are ways of getting around the guards at the student section entrance, you’ll probably be stopped at the front gate if you don’t have a friend who resembles you and is willing to lend you her card. This will result in you walking all the way back to your dorm to scour your room for that card, so just remember to bring it every time.

I hope my tailgating tips will help you out during your first experience with it at Iowa State. While football is supposed to serve as the main entertainment on weekends during the fall, there’s no reason for tailgating to be any less enjoyable. Go Cyclones!