Tailgaters take CFL fandom to the next level
Calgarians Lawrence Trochim and Bob Green have become staples in Stampeders tailgating. The two have been neighbors for nearly two decades and have established tailgating – a pregame ritual, occurring prior to a home game, where fans gather to support their team and enjoy food and drinks aplenty - as a tradition in each of their families.
The Trochim-Green tailgating party is comprised of three generations of football fans who routinely inhabit the parking lot at McMahon Stadium before every home game.
Having years of experience as well as a prestigious “Tailgater of the Game” award from the Stampeders organization under their belt, Trochim and Green have seemingly mastered the art of the tailgate.
“We have friends come from all over Alberta to join in on the fun,” Trochim said. “We have everything from chili and sausages to burgers and wings. Everyone takes turns bringing food and beverages and we have a great time.”
While football, food and drinks may be essentials to any good tailgate, it is the strong sense of community built within the party that keeps Trochim and Green coming back.
“Tailgating is a part of Stamps football. There are great people here and we have lots of fun sharing food and having a great time together,” Green added.
But tailgating is not exclusive to fans of the home team. When the Stampeders hosted their longtime rivals, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, at McMahon Stadium on Oct. 21, there were several tailgaters in Roughrider green taking part in the pre-game festivities. Just across the parking lot from Trochim and Green, Calgary resident, Pete Cameron and his friends had their own tailgate setup.
Although McMahon Stadium parking lot may be an optimal venue for tailgating in Calgary, for one reason or another some fans were simply unable to secure themselves a spot Friday.
Yet just across the street from McMahon Stadium a sizable crowd of about 15 exuberant football fans gathered around a collection of trucks. Loud music and smoke from a grill engulfed the assembly of fans from both teams as they did their best to create their own version of a tailgate.
Nicole Dickson headed the ensemble of CFL fans tailgating across the street from McMahon. Much like Trochim and Green, Dickson believes tailgating is all about community.
“Tailgating is about people coming together and bonding,” Dickson said. “It also allows us to befriend our enemies.”
Although a peaceful harmony seemed to exist between all fans at this particular Stampeders tailgate party, it was not without a healthy amount of competition and banter. Immediately after the Roughriders fans raised their team flag, Trochim and Green raised two of their own.
The Roughriders tailgaters were outnumbered by hometown fans about 3-1 on Friday, and while they could not match the Stampeders fans in numbers, they were certainly able to match them in banter step-for-step.
“We were expecting Burris (Calgary’s former starting QB) to join us out here since he has no business on the football field tonight,” Cameron quipped.
Trochim joked about the unique dynamic between the two teams’ supporters, “We all get along but there definitely is a friendly rivalry. Roughriders fans know how to tailgate but you can’t travel as far as they have and still tailgate as well as we do.”
- By Daniel Ball