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“Tailgate of the Year” Competition Aims to Find Best Tailgate at Penn State

Penn State Tailgate

Tailgate of the Year: The Search for College Football’s Best Tailgate is on a quest to find the most impressive Penn State tailgate. Started by recent Penn State grad Dan Levy, the competition is in its first year and will be piloted in Happy Valley before he hopes to take it national.

“Penn State is my alma mater, so I know first hand how incredible Penn State tailgates are,” Levy said. “I plan to take this competition to a national level, but I wanted to pilot it first. I figured what better place than a legendary tailgating school that I also went to and love. Plus, it gives me another excuse to go back for some games this fall.”

Fans enter simply by posting an Instagram video of their tailgate from any of the first four football games (Syracuse through Kent State), using #psutailgateoftheyear. Entries should also include an identifying hashtag to distinguish their video. Anyone can enter as long as at least one person at their tailgate is a Penn State student or alum.

The Tailgate of the Year website will bring in all videos with that hashtag from Instagram and embed them along with a vote button on a rolling basis. Fans can vote daily for their favorite tailgates through September 29th, at which point the six tailgates with the most votes become our finalists.

Tailgate of the Year representatives will scope out the finalists’ Homecoming tailgates to gather videos and photos and to learn about what makes their tailgates unique. An in-depth profile will be created on the website from October 14th through November 2nd fans can vote for one of the finalists once per day.

On November 2 at the Illinois game, the finalists (and any fans that want to tailgate and get free stuff) will be brought together for the grand finale – a live tailgating competition. Judges will also be on hand to rate the tailgates using four criteria — school spirit, participation, amenities, and creativity. All four major pieces — fan voting (40%), judge ratings (30%), cornhole tournament (15%), and cooking competition (15%) — will create an overall score for each tailgate and will determine the 2013 winner. The grand prize is a $1,500 tailgating package provided by the Student Book Store and a $1,000 donation to a charity of the winning tailgate’s choice.

“I actually initially came up with the idea for a client of mine and after they said their website didn’t have the capability to run this sort of competition, I stopped pursuing it as a possibility,” Levy said. “Then more recently I started doing some work with a company called College Battle that created a nationwide student band competition, and the idea came back to life. With some encouragement from friends and family, I decided to create Tailgate of the Year and make it its own unique brand. I’ve always loved tailgating and have always had friends who said their tailgates were better than the ones I’ve gone to. Well, this competition is about deciding whose tailgate really is the best.”

If you think your tailgate has what it takes, make sure to send in your videos for a shot at the $1,500!

About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]


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