Tailgating Champ crowned amid rain

Butler University held its inaugural “Tailgating Challenge” at last Saturday’s home football game versus Campbell.

“Our hope is that we can make football games a great student bonding experience by setting a special spot aside for students to enjoy a day full of activities that lead up to the football game in the afternoon,” Peter Xander, external operations intern for Butler University athletics, said.

For the tailgating contest, competitors were challenged to make the best chicken wings in order to be donned the “tailgating champion.”

The contest was open to all student organizations.

In drizzling rain and cold temperatures, the organizations battled in the Hinkle parking lot.

Xander said the weather put a damper on the event as some groups weren’t able to make it and others ran into problems along the way.

One group forgot their wings and another couldn’t get their grill to start, he said.

“All things considered, I thought it went OK,” Xander said.

Though seven groups had originally signed up to participate, he said they had three organizations submit wings for the judging.

Erin Jackson, a Butler softball player, was crowned “tailgating champion” with a buffalo style wing sauce on her wings.

Xander said the athletics department is hoping to put on another “Tailgating Challenge” for the final home game on Nov. 6.

He said the food item for competition is still being determined, but possibilities include chili or burgers.

The department’s hope is to create a football atmosphere similar to other Division I football programs in Indiana and Xander said it starts with tailgating.

“I think tailgating can become an event that students will really enjoy and look forward to,” he said.

Xander said he hopes the event will create a better pre-game atmosphere for players, too.

“People tend to think of homecoming as a game where people tailgate, but our hope is that we can spark an interest in tailgating for every game,” Xander said. “By doing this increases the overall experience of a Butler football game for our students and all Butler football fans.”

DIVISION III SPIRIT: Tailgating contest participants gather in the rainy weather to compete for the best chicken wings. The athletics department is trying to establish a Division I football atmosphere. (Photo by Caroline Johnson)

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