DENVER - SEPTEMBER 14: The parking lots start to fill and fans tailgate prior to the game as the San Diego Chargers face the Denver Broncos during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 14, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)(Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Where there’s football, there’s probably tailgating. We all know that tailgating is an opportunity for fans to celebrate their team. And with this comes unforgettable moments one could only experience in a stadium parking lot with hundreds or thousands of your closest friends.
From city to city and season to season, die-hard fans gather to relive tailgating memories and create new ones. Denver is known for its rabid fans and hearty tailgaters. It takes dedication to party in a parking lot at the foot of the Rocky Mountain in a blizzard. Tailgate Fan checked in with some of Denver’s loyal tailgaters to hear about their most memorable moments.
Jeff is a veteran tailgater who has been crashing the lots since he was a boy. He recounted his favorite memory. “Last year, the Broncos-Steelers playoff game was probably the most fun I’ve ever had tailgating because it continued up until about 10 o’clock at night on the south side of the stadium. It was a big party. There was live music and lots of drunken shenanigans going on.” With a big smile on his face, Johnson said that the stadium officials let them celebrate the victory much later than was typically allowed, making this home game win especially sweet.
Photo Credit: Michelle Perez
Shane Hergenreder A.K.A. The Mile High Jester
Shane, who boasts over 20 years in “the business,” thinks that it’s all about the party when it comes to memories. Hergenreder recalled one memory in particular: “We were playing the Patriots. We were both undefeated at 6-0 and we ended up beating them. It was actually at the old stadium. There was lots of crazy fun in the parking lot.” A victory like that is sure to bring out the party in any Broncos fan.
Ron is a tailgater from Iowa who hasn’t missed a Broncos home game for the last seven years. Clark explained how the playoffs last year became so unforgettable, “It was memorable to me because I had to go the bathroom real bad, so I waited until overtime and I walked into the bathroom and there were three people smoking. The cops came in, they wouldn’t let us in or out; and the game ended while I was standing in the bathroom.” At least he can laugh about it now.
Photo Credit: Michelle Perez
Elizabeth has been tailgating for more than 10 years, partying it up with BarrelMan himself. With a laugh, she explained, “It’s not particularly tailgating but the most memorable moment was BarrelMan’s wedding. He didn’t wear the barrel; he wore an orange and blue tuxedo.” Elizabeth explained that this was memorable because she was close to Tim “The BarrelMan” McKernan; and now resides in his designated tailgating spot in Lot C. It was a great ceremony, she added. Since BarrelMan is one of Denver’s most infamous Broncos fans, one can imagine how this event would go down as unforgettable.
Jay “The HatMan” Hocking
Jay, also a close friend of the late BarrelMan, has been tailgating for over 20 years, sharing the tailgating spot with Doyle. Hocking recalled his favorite tailgating memory: “We were all the way at the end of the parking lot and BarrelMan was with us. It was a Raiders night game and it was a complete blizzard — you couldn’t see one end of the parking lot to the other and we had a blast! It was fun.” One couldn’t imagine having too much fun in a frigid blizzard, but leave it to Broncos fans to find a way to stay warm and celebrate a rival win.