Fan Notes: Former Missouri football player finds unique way to navigate tailgate scene

Saturday, September 12, 2009 | 6:22 p.m. CDT; updated 9:05 p.m. CDT, Saturday, September 12, 2009

COLUMBIA — When Todd Neimeyer would get a call on his cell phone from a friend asking him to visit another tailgate, it used to mean a long walk to another parking lot.

“I’m a big guy,” he said. “I got tired, hot and sweaty. So I thought, ‘I don’t want to do that anymore.’”

Now it’s a relaxing ride. Neimeyer, who played offensive tackle for Missouri in 1995-98, recently purchased what he calls a “motorized cooler.”

“I saw this, I thought, ‘What a cool way to see everybody else in other lots and not have to walk,’” he said.

The base looks like a go-kart. It is metal with four wheels and a gasoline engine on the back. Instead of a seat, it has a cooler - which is where Neimeyer sits. The cooler allows him to have his beverages with him wherever he goes.

A metal bar goes up from the front of the base of the vehicle. It holds the handlebars that Neimeyer uses to steer, brake and accelerate. He’s still trying to figure out the brake, using his feet to brake the vehicle instead.

Neimeyer found the device on eBay recently.

It arrived Friday, just in time for the game. He spent much of Saturday morning assembling it so it would be ready to ride around the tailgating areas near Memorial Stadium Saturday.

“I did a cartwheel not literally” he said. “I saw it on my doorstop yesterday and went, ‘Yes I’ve got my cooler for tomorrow.’”

  • Russell Stokes’ Chevrolet Avalanche prominently displays his Missouri fanhood. The Cherokee Village, Ark., resident’s license plate reads, “MU 65,” for the year he graduated from Missouri. He has several Missouri decals on the truck. A small sign he set on top of his truck before his tailgate says “This is Tiger Country.”

Stokes takes the sign a bit more literally than other fans. For his tailgate, he placed 18 Tiger stuffed animals on his truck and on the table next to it.

“I’m just a big Mizzou fan,” he said.

Stokes makes the four-and-a-half hour drive to Columbia for every home game and also goes to select away games.

His truck is popular with passing children.

“They come by and want to have their picture taken,” he said.

  • Late last season, Kevin Reichert and seven of his friends purchased a Dodge Midas recreational vehicle to expand their tailgate at Missouri football games. The RV was equipped with a rack on top, designed to transport goods.

Reichert and his friends found a different use for the top of the RV. They added railings. Saturday, some members of the group spent time before the game tailgating on the top of the RV.

“You just can’t beat it,” Reichert said. “You can see everything. You can see the game if you want to.”

  • Terrence Cukierski, a Bowling Green fan from Perrsyburg, Ohio, tailgated outside the RV of friends Doug and Jana Miller. The RV looks like a hardcore Bowling Green tailgate. A flagpole next to the vehicle has a Bowling Green flag on it. But it also has a flag for the group’s second-favorite school, Ohio State, below the Bowling Green flag.

“We’re all Ohio State fans,” Cukierski said, estimating that he goes to about 10 Bowling Green games a year and one or two Ohio State games.


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