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Tailgate of the Year: The Final Six

Only six finalists remain in Penn State’s inaugural Tailgate of the Year competition. The stakes are high: The winner will receive $1,500 in merchandise from The Student Book Store, a new grill, and a $1,000 donation to a charity of choice. The six lucky finalists are scrambling to snag as many votes as possible in the next week and a half in hopes of winning Penn State’s Tailgate of the Year.

You can vote for your favorite tailgate HERE once every 24 hours up until November 2. Here’s an introduction to the top six finalists.

Finalist #1: Come Early, Be Loud, Stay Late

Finalist #1’s charity of choice is the Pulmonary Fibrosis foundation. Their top qualities as a tailgate — and the reasons that they think they should win this competition — boil down to “good food, our amenities, our spirit, and our welcoming environment.” Rain or shine (or snow, or hail), they’re dedicated football fans and attend every game. Some of Come Early, Be Loud, Stay Late’s traditions include “being the first ones in the parking lot, Bloody Mary’s while waiting in the line to the parking lot, women of the tailgate sing ‘I Am Woman,’ and our men wear Lager Boy aprons.” They sound like a good time, don’t they?

Finalist #2: Paternoville Alumni

Finalist #2 is donating its $1,000 to Penn State senior Kayla Nakonechni, a 2013 THON dancer who was diagnosed with brain cancer a few months ago. From party buses, to Buffalo Ficken (chicken) dip, to replicas of the Beaver Stadium tunnel gates, this tailgate screams Penn State spirit, and the fact that they’re all recent graduates makes this option even better. The “Michigan Still Sucks” clock is a nice touch as well.

Finalist #3: Someday is Today

Finalist #3 is donating to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to aid the fight against bone and blood cancer. Someday is Today began with the core group of a third-generation Italian family, but tons of friends, coworkers, and alumni make the tailgate what it is today. This group may not always make it to the stadium, but you can still hear them loud and clear from the parking lots, loving the Lions. This tailgate is easy to spot: They are always sporting an Italian flag, 6-foot Jenga, and playing “The Joust.” (For those unfamiliar, it’s like an out-of-water game of Chicken except instead of knocking each other over, the first pair to finish both drinks wins.)

Finalist #4: PSU Tailgreats

Finalist #4 is donating to Centre County Women’s Resource Center in effort to help women and children who have been victims of abuse. PSU Tailgreats started their tailgate in 1998, and think that they should win because they stand for what Penn State stands for: unity, tradition, and generations sharing the spirit of Penn State and kindness. They also like to keep things fresh every game, so they have different themes for each tailgate, like Mexican Fiestas, ’50s night, and Luaus. One of their favorite tailgating events is the Soup Cook-Off. Each tailgate member brings a crockpot of soup and winner gets bragging rights!

Finalist #5: TBS (Tailgate Broadcast System)

Finalist #5 is donating to THON and crediting the independent organization Atlas — but that’s not all. TBS will match the Tailgate of the Year’s $1,000 charity donation to double the amount for THON, so they’ll actually be donating $2,000 if they win the competition. TBS boasts their own dance floor, made by members of the tailgate, which they bring to every game. They also keep up the tradition of guarding their sacred cowbell at the end of the season. TBS has been tailgating since 1984, and they believe they should win based on their dedication to, love of, and support for each other, the football team, and Penn State altogether.

Finalist #6: Cool Bus Tailgate

Last but not least, Finalist #6 is donating to Small Steps in Speech, a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving children the chance to better express themselves, in honor of Sargeant Marc J. Small, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009. Cool Bus Tailgate started off with a small local running group, but has since expanded to locals, grad students, and young professionals. They bring the party to the every home game with themed weekly food competitions and, of course, with their cool bus.

About the Author

Megan Swiatkowski

I'm a South Jersey girl with a passion for news!

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