Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ralph Wilson Stadium - Fowling comes to Buffalo

This year, for our annual family weekend retreat, I decided it was time to introduce a few new wrinkles to our tailgate agenda. Along with our first attempt at cooking up the ever popular beer can chicken, as the self-appointed commissioner of fowling, I decided I needed to bring the game Western New York. So gathering up the traditional cast of characters, we met at my parents house on Saturday morning, loaded into the rented RV, and were on our way to the parking lot at Ralph Wilson Stadium by noon. Arriving on Saturday has it's perks including getting a jump on gameday preparations and libations, but unfortunately due to the weather, we were restricted to staying in the RV for most of the afternoon. Scattered showers and cold temperatures kept us from our traditional Saturday tailgate activities, but with plenty of movies, meal prep, and willing participants in the lost art of conversation, there was still plenty to do (if that were to fail us, we still had plenty of beer).

Sunday morning came quickly and the weather had turned in our favor. With sunny skies, and warmer temperatures, we setup the fowling lanes allowing for exhibition tournament play throughout the day. surprisingly enough the game was incredibly popular. several strangers approached us during each fowling frame asking if they could try the game as well and before we knew it the fowling lanes were full and we were enjoying our ice cold beverages of choice from the sidelines. All in all a very successful introduction.

Later in the morning, I needed to stop in on Kenny "Pinto Ron" Johnson, the guy that cooks all of his meals on his 1983 Ford Pinto. When it comes to creative tailgating, Kenny blazes the trail for all others to follow. Using household items and tools in uncommon food preparatory practices has become his trademark. Old ironing boards serve as tables and cutting boards, a garden rake to cook hamburgers, the file cabinet pizza oven, even an old hub cap to cook sausage in. these are Kenny implements of mass destruction. The ketchup opening ceremony is one that's not to be missed. At 11:30 Kenny emerges through the crowd with a naked hamburger. when he asks for some ketchup, he's sprayed from head to toe by condiment snipers perched on the roof of his truck. so that's Buffalo, if you're a Questor, be sure to make this one of your first stops.

Stadium #4 - Bank of America Stadium

Week 7 took me to Bank of America Stadium to revisit stadium 4 onthe Quest for 31. My best friend, Jermain, has lived in the Charlotte area for years and my brother, Erik, recently moved his family out that way, so we may make Charlotte and annual stop on the Quest. Along with the family connections, the other attractive aspect of a return trip to Bank of America Stadium is the tailgating. With Lots scattered throughout the city, sometimes it can be difficult to zero in on the tailgating hotspots, but there are several areas that are worth hitting. I always like to stop in on Coach Dan Ortel and folks at PantherFanz.net. They consistently provide, great food, local beer, and they're always entertaining. With characters like Joe the Cedar Street Seeer, Patrick, Mad Mike, James, and Barbecue Pit boss Clay workin' the spits, visitors will appreciate the southern hospitality. But Premiere tailgating in Charlotte doesn't just stop there, Hall of Famers, Pantherman and Catman host a great tailgate along with the Tailgate Resuce Crew who have an awesome custom Tailgate Cruiser. Outfitted with dual beer taps, a rockin' paint job and a fire-rescuse pole inside their vehicle, the Tailgate Rescue Crew is in a very enviable as one of the top spots for Panther fans to take in the pregame libations.

My Buffalo Bills happened to be in town this weekend, so dressed in my Quest for 31 jersey, and flanked by legions of Bills fans, we watched a very mediocre performance that ended in a rare Bills win. For that I am truly grateful.