Logo-adorned tents, tables, chairs and cornhole games dotted the gold lot, while music, laughter and savory aromas permeated the air throughout the morning and afternoon.
Tailgaters teemed with unbridled elation in anticipation of a historic game day. The Kansas State Wildcats had been a thorn in our side since we joined the Big 12 in 2012, and this was our year to take them down.
And we finally did it. We won by a whisker in a 17-16 victory.
After the game, Hall of Famer Bill Snyder embraced Dana Holgorsen and told him to, “Win them all.” My sentiment exactly. That Bill Snyder really is the cat’s meow.
With our first conference win over the Wildcats, the Mountaineers finally clawed their way into the Top 25 polls. Now we just need to stay there.
And now, for the rest of the story
We had a few loyal K-State fans at our tailgate. On Friday night, we met K-State alumnus Rodney and his wife, Chris, at Mario’s Fishbowl. They had driven their new RV from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
We invited them to stop by our tailgate on their way from the RV lot at the Coliseum to the stadium. This was their second trip to Morgantown – and the Fishbowl. They came to the 2014 WVU vs. K-State game.
A couple colleagues from Akron Children’s also came to our tailgate – Kansas State grad Craig McGhee, vice president of surgical services, and West Virginia native Ken Morgan, who’s the interim director of patient access services. Craig brought his wife, Amy, and fraternity brothers Dan Knox and Jason Haremza.
They were also at the 2014 game. But that game fell on a Thursday night so they didn’t get to experience the Joliet tailgate. Even so, after that first visit, Morgantown became Craig’s second favorite college town.
Ken said our tailgate reminded him of a Vince Lombardi quote.
The spirit (the passion you see Andrea and Dave have for the Mountaineers when you tailgate with them) and the will to win (the dedication to winning that our Mountaineers have) are the things that endure (good memories, with good friends, on a beautiful fall day).
Our dear friend Linda Grandon also brought a little shine to our tailgate. This was her first visit to our tailgate. You see, she and her husband, Harry, tailgate about a mile away in a flower-powered, gold-and-blue VW bus.
As always, the students brought vast, boisterous energy to the pre-game festivities. Their Mountaineer pride was on full display. We also met freshman Teddy Thomas, of Westminster, Md., who is wholeheartedly embracing his first year of college. In just a few weeks, he has earned the moniker “Cowboy Mountaineer.”
The petroleum engineer student bought a cowboy hat at the beginning of last summer with the intention of getting people to sign it. Although he lost a couple before he had a chance to collect signatures, his current hat looks like what I imagine Jake Ryan’s yearbook would’ve looked like in Sixteen Candles. In only a week’s time, it was painted with hundreds of signatures (and a few phone numbers).
So we chalked this up to another perfect tailgate. Let’s go Mountaineers!