Keep the smiles going with a safe tailgate (Credit, John DiTirro)

Safety is more than a position on the field; it’s your line of defense in the tailgate arena. At Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Bronco fans hit the lots to celebrate before the game and with that comes some responsibility. Whether you’re with a crowd or just a few, these simple safety tips will keep your tailgating experience out of the danger zone.


The main event at any tailgating party is food, and no matter what form it comes in, it is important to remember a few basics. Keep your hands, cooking area and cooking utensils clean. When handling meats, clean and prep them ahead of time keeping them in a cool, dry place until they make it to the grill. Wrap meats in butchers paper, plastic wrap or foil to ensure they remain clean. Condiments and side dishes should also be watched closely; and kept at a cool, regular temperature. If they have been sitting out for a while, cover them with plastic wrap and place them in a cooler for a few minutes. For hot items, be sure to eat them within the first 45 minutes of being heated or cooked, and do not allow them to sit for more than an hour to an hour and a half after being cooked. This will keep bacteria from forming. Wash your hands and utensils regularly when cooking, prepping and grilling to eliminate cross-contamination. Keep hand sanitizer and paper towels handy, or bring some buckets with warm water – one for washing and one for rinsing. This will keep your food and your friends safe from any bacteria or germs from the food or environment. Food safety is no joke, from restaurants to home meals and especially the tailgate lot.

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When the rivalry gets heated, tempers can flair, but that’s no excuse for violence. Along with many tailgating parties comes the presence of alcohol and its influence on our inhibitions can cause some trouble. Whether you’ve had a few or you are passionately against the opposing team, remember to keep the banter friendly. There is no place for fights or violent outbursts of any kind in the tailgate lot. Bronco fans and visiting team fans are equal at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and neither should be subject to harm of any kind. This is a place for fun and sportsmanship, and when the Broncos are hosting the game on their home turf, it’s especially important for their fans to represent them respectfully

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As mentioned before, alcohol can cause some trouble. Be sure to pace yourself and know your limits. Keep an eye on the others in your party and don’t be afraid to cut them off if they’ve had too much. Be sure to have water available when alcohol is present so that your pals can stay hydrated. If you are drinking, DON’T drive – find a designated driver to tote you home. If you are not much of a drinker and you know there will some boozing at the tailgating party, offer to be the designated driver. Some fans offer their DDs special incentives like gas money or general favoritism, so there are sometimes perks to being the responsible one. Avoid glass bottles, as they are not allowed at the stadium anyway and can be a dangerous hazard should someone feel too insulted.


Lock it up and keep valuables either at home or on you at all times. This is a simple one, but once you step into the stadium, you’re only line of defense against petty theft is thinking ahead and eliminating the motive. Sports Authority Field at Mile High is fairly safe stadium and all lots have guards watching for vandalism, but all the same, it is important to keep the valuables safe.

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Michelle Perez is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on