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48 HOURS OF FOOTBALL: Tailgating more about atmosphere than game

Friday, October 28, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 8:33 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 28, 2011

Hour 19: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22

COLUMBIA — On Saturdays at Faurot Field, the excitement spans more than just the game. It is the experience, the atmosphere. The game sometimes is the icing on the tailgating cake.

Amy Zimmerman, Emily Sanders and Jill Duffy are three MU alumnae back together again outside Faurot Field, Lot A. It was a reunion of sorts for the three, as they meet up once a year every year with a few friends for a Tiger home football game. Sanders came from Little Rock, Ark., to meet up with “the girls” (as she calls them) for the experience. It is a spirited event that included no men, just the women and the children.

“This is our thing, you know,” Zimmerman exclaimed over the raucous noise from the children and friends. “The kids are just as excited as we are because it’s like a party experience for them.”

The girls have a spread that includes barbecue and chips and dip, but they added a little something new to conventional tailgate food.

“We have pumpkin muffins since Halloween is right around the corner,” Duffy said.

They didn't forget about alcohol.

“Tropical liqueurs,” Zimmerman said. “We gotta have our tropical liqueurs. It is a must on game day!”

Zimmerman, Sanders and Duffy got to the stadium about three hours before the 11 a.m. start of the game to tailgate.

“Tailgating is a necessity to every game,” Duffy said. “It’s just so much fun, and we are excited each time we get to do it because it gets the game day started off right.”

Once the game starts, the girls are packed up and ready to cheer the Tigers to victory.

“We're really hoping for a win today,” Zimmerman said.

Across the lot, a group of guys was also tailgating. Matt Williams had the grill fired up right outside his camper with his friends. His group had been there for about three hours. They didn’t have tickets to the game, but that didn't matter.

“It’s about the feel of the game but not so much what’s happening in it,” Williams said. “It’s a party of sorts.”

At halftime they were still going strong.

“Grab me a beer,” Williams’ friend said.

Stadium noise and a radio broadcast from Williams' camper kept the game in the background. Sure, they cared about what the Tigers did, but they were going to have a good time regardless.

“On a Saturday, what more can you ask for,” Williams said. “Good food, good beer, just kicking it at the stadium.”

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