Washburn tailgating tradition lives on

Dylan McManis

The first Washburn football game of the season was Sept. 1, but before the game even began the fans were already cheering for the Ichabods.

Tailgating is a classic tradition in most outdoor sports. For Washburn football, tailgating is a celebration of the team and its fans. In front of Yager Stadium, before every home football game, dozens of tents and tables are set up with food by students and alumni.

Organizations like Bodsquad do things like hand out free hotdogs and put on face paint to show school spirit.

The Alumni Association sets up a tent for its members, supplying free food and alcohol for those that have paid their yearly dues.

The sororities and fraternities of Washburn also have their own tents as they get ready to march down the side of the stadium with their letters in tow.

Ryan Yowell, sophomore member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity on campus, joined his fellow fraternity members at the tailgate while they grilled burgers.

“I’m enjoying the beautiful weather, eating some food and setting up a tailgate with my fraternity,” Yowell said. “We get together and throw a football around while we wait for the game to start, it’s a great time.”

Being a division two school, Washburn football doesn’t have the reputation of teams like Kansas University or Kansas State. But Washburn fans don’t seem to mind.

“For a [division two] school, I feel like the turnout is pretty cool; we actually have a buffet going on over here so I feel like [Washburn is] doing a pretty good job sponsoring it,” said Yowell. “Our team’s pretty great as well, so I’m excited to see how the game goes.”

Getting the word out about how to support the Ichabods matters the most to these tailgaters.

“Football is the biggest sport we have at this school,” Yowell said. “We do our best as a fraternity as well; we spread the word, make sure the young guys are coming out. It’s important that freshmen start coming out early to get to know people and get involved.”

But members of Greek Life aren’t the only ones who love the tailgate. For new and returning students, the football season is something to look forward to.

“It’s my first time at a Washburn game and my first time tailgating,” said Elizabeth Dennison, freshman graphic design major.

Elizabeth is the target audience of the tailgate, a freshman without any particular activities or affiliations just yet.

“A part of me doesn’t really like [football]. But a part of me really wanted to try it and get involved ever since high school. I’m excited to get a new experience. Even if I say I don’t, I do. I know when the ball gets to the other side then someone’s got a goal, but that’s about all I know about football.”

Overall, tailgating is a Washburn tradition that brings together all kinds of organizations, students and alumni. Together, they can prepare to cheer on the Ichabods in their big games.

The Ichabods won the game 38-19. You can read more about the game and the Washburn football team in the sports section here at the Washburn Review.