Students, parents celebrate Family Weekend by tailgating at Saturday's game

Saturday, September 17, 2011 | 8:16 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Charred pork, beer, laughter, long lines to the portable toilet — it’s tailgating season in Columbia.

On Saturday afternoon groups of tailgaters in yards and parking lots along Fifth Street and Providence Road played washers and tossed footballs while others grilled, talked and drank.

One man in a gray Missouri sweatshirt at the St. Thomas More Newman Center parking lot warned against mentioning the “R-word” — rain. The sky was overcast, and drops of water fell on tailgaters, but heavy showers never came before Saturday's football game between the Missouri Tigers and the Western Illinois Leathernecks.

At Memorial Stadium, tents and SUVs lined the parking lot as the afternoon wound down toward the night's game.

Lisa and Terry Bertholomey traveled from Pacific to see their daughter, Taylor, who started this fall at MU as a freshman. They were two of many parents who came to visit their children during the university's Family Weekend. MU has organized the weekend for 20 years, according to a previous Missourian report.

Lisa Bertholomey graduated from MU and met her husband while she was a student.  Terry Bertholomey said he and his wife used to attend MU basketball and football games together and went to Shakespeare’s and Deja Vu on dates.

“We like it, coming up here,” he said. “Brings back a lot of memories from when we were dating.”

Watching their daughter leave for college was emotional, but the adjustment has gone smoothly.

“She’s having a ball here,” Terry Bertholomey said. As for Taylor's mother: “She ain’t crying, is she?”

Kathy and Dennis Delmain of Villa Ridge shared the same tailgating tent with the Bertholomeys. They also came to visit their daughter, an MU freshman also named Taylor. The two couples have known each other since their daughters became friends in middle school.

The Delmains traveled to Columbia in a 1972 Chrysler Town and Country station wagon nicknamed the "Shaggin Wagon." Graffiti-like swirls cover the side panels, the back windows are tinted black, and the whole car has been painted over with what Lisa Bertholomey called a “Shrek green.”

Dennis Delmain took the two girls to prom and their high school graduation in the station wagon, and he said this was its first tailgate.

Saturday’s game was also the first tailgate party Dennis Delmain attended.

“I heard Mizzou is the place to tailgate, so I had to come here,” he said.

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