Tailgating is a time for fans to celebrate, and with that comes unforgettable moments one could only experience in the stadium parking lot. From season to season, die-hard fans gather to create new tailgating memories. We checked in with some of Denver’s loyal tailgaters to hear about their most memorable moments.
Jeff Johnson, a veteran tailgater crashing the lots since he was a boy, recollects 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,” Johnson describes. With a big smile on his face, Johnson says the stadium officials let them celebrate the victory much later than was typically allowed, making this home-game win especially sweet.
Shane Hergenreder A.K.A. The Mile High Jester, a tailgater boasting over 20 years in the business, says it’s all about the party when it comes to memories. Hergenreder recalls 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 Clark, a tailgater from Iowa who hasn’t missed a Broncos home game for the last seven years, has a unique tailgating memory to share. Clark explains 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.
Elizabeth Doyle has been tailgating for more than 10 years, partying it up with BarrelMan himself. With a laugh, she explains, “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 explains 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 adds. As one of Denver’s most infamous Broncos fans, one can imagine how this event would go down as unforgettable.
Jay “The HatMan” Hocking has been tailgating for over 20 years, sharing the tailgating spot with Doyle and also a close friend of the late BarrelMan. Hocking recalls 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.
It’s time to create some memories of your own, so come out to the parking lots for the next Broncos home game and celebrate with all the other tailgating legends.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Michelle Perez is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.