Tailgaters keep comfortable

Saturday, October 11, 2008 | 10:08 p.m. CDT; updated 8:02 a.m. CDT, Sunday, October 12, 2008
From left, Brandon Dorge, Jamie Sloman and Caleb Massman jump a hand-made rope made of black and gold beads while tailgating at Reactor Field before the MU-Oklahoma State football game Saturday evening.

It had been a long day for Josh Lange, and it wasn't even close to being over. Fortunately for him, he had a comfortable seat available if he chose to use it. In preparation for his tailgate party, Lange had brought along his couch.

"This is the first one (we've brought it to)," Lange said. "We planned on bringing the couch, but I hadn't brought it yet, and I was like, ‘We need to bring the couch.'"

So Lange loaded his truck with a grill, food and drinks on top of the couch and was in the parking lot by 7 a.m. for a long day of tailgating.

It was a very long day of tailgating, because Lange didn't attend the Missouri game against Oklahoma State. Lange tailgates at the stadium but doesn't attend Missouri games at all, having only been to one in 2006, his freshman year at the university.

Instead of going to the games, he listens to the game on the radio and continues his party, which he said was going to last all night long this week.

"I love the tailgates, and I love the people," Lange said. "I probably won't go to a game all year. There's no reason to go to the games because they don't sell beer and (you can't) enjoy the people. Everyone's standing up and screaming. I don't want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of this (the scene outside the stadium)."

Lange said he isn't alone in that. Some of his friends remain with him after those fans with tickets have entered the stadium, leaving them with even more room to enjoy themselves.

"When we score, I do whatever I need to do," Lange said. "I love being with the other people all night long. It's a great time."

But at the end of the day, Lange is left with one question: How does he get the couch back after spending 16 hours grilling and drinking?

If the couch didn't have one of its legs coming apart, he might be a little more worried about that.

"The couch is kind of a first-time deal," Lange said. "We'll probably end up bringing it back so that we can use it for a couple more tailgates, but it's already broken. So eventually, it's just going to get thrown away."

TURNING THE BEADS: Several Missouri fans were sporting black and gold bead necklaces as they entered the stadium. Outside, Ross Juerensmeyer and Casey Schwartz had created a new use for the beads. The two of them hooked several bead necklaces together and created a makeshift jump rope, inviting anyone who wanted to the chance to jump.

"(Schwartz) ripped them off my neck, then I ripped his off," Juerensmeyer said. "We saw them together and said ‘Look at this jump rope.'"

Whether the friends created a new tailgate tradition or just a one-week event remains to be seen. The rope broke multiple times, and Juerensmeyer said that nobody had lasted longer than five seconds on the beads, but that didn't stop several tailgaters from giving it a try.

"It looked like fun, and it was," said Katie Smith, who made it through one turn before her partner got tangled in the beads. "It was amazing."

STRIKING THE BOTTLE: Juerensmeyer and Schwartz weren't the only ones with an invention. Mary Schroeder hadn't come up with a new activity, but she and a friend had put their own personal twist on one they had already seen.

Earlier in the season, Schroeder participated in a game where players try to knock a bottle off a pole with a flying disc. After playing, she and her friends decided that they had to get their own poles.

But just getting the poles wasn't enough.

"We went to Lowe's and spray painted them black and gold for the Tigers," Schroeder said.

The result was two poles with several black and gold stripes that took them two hours to complete, a feat Schroeder was proud of.

"Look at these beautiful stripes," she said. "Two hours total."

BROTHERHOOD FROM DIFFERENT SCHOOLS: Oklahoma State fan John Liotta's Greek membership served him well after making the trip from Stillwater, Okla., to Columbia.

"We've just been going from tailgate to tailgate," said Liotta, a member of Delta Tau Delta at Oklahoma State. "We've just been hanging out with the Delts here at Mizzou."

The fraternity connection served him well after the game, since he didn't have to worry about members of the Missouri chapter gloating after the game.

The MU Delta Tau Delta members "offered to be nice if we lose, so we'll probably just party with them," Liotta said.

TECH SAVVY: Each week, the Tigers' Lair student section uses its front row to spell a message of some kind. This week, the group originally planned to write something in memory of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy's infamous "I'm a Man" rant from last season, which brought him national attention last October.

But advisers squashed that plan.

"‘No one's going to get it,' our adviser said," Tigers' Lair coordinator Alexa Larsen said.

That idea scrapped, Tigers' Lair instead spelled out the Web site for Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel's Heisman candidacy.


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