LSU tailgating diehards dreading the worst for college football season

Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 9:36 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - For those whose fall revolves around LSU Football, potentially losing the season or not going to games to tailgate would be devastating.

With the smell of barbecue in the air, the sounds of the Golden Band from Tigerland echoing off the buildings as members march in unison down Victory Hill, and the yells of fans over-served on their adult beverage of choice, it is all part of the game day experience at LSU.

“At LSU we didn’t invent tailgating we just perfected it,” said longtime Tiger fan Jay Weber.

The raucous hours leading up to kickoff have helped LSU earn recognition as one of the premier gameday experiences in the country.

All the pomp and circumstance is now in jeopardy as the coronavirus continues to ravage Louisiana.

“Think about it,” Brian Belzer said. “It’s like your favorite thing you like to do and then all of a sudden someone tells you, oh, well I’m sorry, but you’re not going to be able to do that anymore.”

Belzer and Weber are both part of a large tailgating group, Krewe of Old School. The group has partied outside the stadium for the last 23 years.

“We’ve got TVs, we’ve got huge sound system, we have multiple tents, we bring out what really is a commercial kitchen to set up and cook and we prepare everything fresh right here on the spot,” said the Krewe’s President, Hardin Wells.

The smells and the sounds that come from their tailgate, in their opinion, are savory enough to make even the most hardened SEC rival want to venture in and at least for a few hours, succumb to the pleasures of being a Tiger fan.

The Krewe of Old School cooks throughout the day. If the Krewe can’t tailgate outside of Tiger...
The Krewe of Old School cooks throughout the day. If the Krewe can’t tailgate outside of Tiger Stadium this year, they plan to tailgate at a members house.(Krewe of Old School)

“You’ll see them and they’ll stop and they’ll listen to the music and they’ll smell the food and they’ll see that everybody is having a good time and most of the time we invite them over,” said Scott Sonnier, another one of the Krewe’s members. “Come try the food, try whatever we’re cooking and a lot of times they’ll stay the whole day.”

The reality of that not happening is all too real now as universities across the country are canceling tailgating before football games, and a number of conferences have even postponed their seasons as they try to limit spread and exposure to COVID-19.

“Total denial,” Hardin said. “That’s like no tomorrow kind of thing for us.”

For the Krewe of Old School, they are optimistic football will still be played this year, who knows what it will look like though. So regardless if there are fans or not, Hardin said they are still planning on tailgating.

“We’ve even talked about regardless of football being played down the street that we’re still tailgating, just because we love tailgating so much.”

The season is scheduled to kickoff on September 5 against the University of Texas at San Antonio. As long as that game is played, The Krewe of Old School will be partying, somewhere.

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