Texas Tailgating: Where Did the Magical Tradition Begin?

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Tony Maples Photography


Tailgating and Texas go hand-in-hand, and there doesn’t appear to be a more poignant fall pastime that tantalizes all the senses of a football fan. The food, the comradery, the games, the food, the friendly banter, the food…you get the picture – it all points to fun. Longhorn fans tend to have the market cornered when it comes to tailgating experiences, and the Austin-American Statesman YouTube channel recently featured a video that captured just a bit of that magic.

Aptly called “Texas Tailgating,” the short clip about the barbecuing, washer-tossing, and the laughs had among friends and family captures the essence of Texas college football together with the season ahead.

Video: Youtube/American Statesman

Oddly enough, although Texans have a good handle on how to have a great time tailgating, the term wasn’t coined in the Lone Star State. Paraphrased profusely, posted an article that identified three theories on the origin of tailgating. One theory explains the possibility that the very first tailgating party occurred at the first game between Princeton and Rutgers. The second theory is that in 1904 a large group of fans traveled by train to a Yale football game, bringing food and beverages with them. Upon arrival, they began the pre-game ritual as we know it today. The third theory is that the term “tailgating” was coined in 1919 by fans of the Green Bay Packers, who would line the outskirts of the field with their pickup trucks in order to drop their tailgates for game-seating. Throw in the food and drink, and those early cheeseheads were onto something! Is it true? Or, like me, do you prefer to believe that Texas has the trademark on tailgating?