Forget football. Tailgating is a sport unto itself. The
camaraderie, the show of sportsmanship, the booze -- for any red-blooded American, they're all rites of passage, eagerly awaited each and every August.
Say what you will about the Miami Dolphins, but Fins fans are no slouches when it comes to this hallowed parking lot pastime. But does Miami match up against Green Bay? New York City? Detroit?
Tailgate32 is on its way to the MIA to find out.
Spearheaded by brothers John and Mike Trupiano, Tailgate32 is a quest to experience American tailgating at its finest, in each and every NFL franchise city, all in one season. The guys are bringing the cameras, their giant RV, and their love of the game to Sun Life Stadium on Sunday, September 23, to watch what happens when the Dolphins meet their bitter rivals, the Jets.
In each city, the Tailgate32 guys experience the local culture, check out the food and nightlife, and hit up an NFL tailgate and game. Then, they chronicle their experience in a five or six minute, professionally produced video, released online.
The concept for their project was born between the Trupiano brothers. Both avid football fans, they tossed around the idea of hitting up every NFL stadium as a sibling road trip, and the concept eventually morphed into its current incarnation: a tailgate documentary series of sorts. Their journey, all aboard a 42-foot RV, will cover 25,000 miles when complete.
"We decided we wanted to do something to document our experiences on the road and what it's like to be a fan in the different cities with their different traditions. We love tailgating, but we wanted to get at the root of why that is -- why do people come together? There was something richer there that we wanted to explore," says John.
The brothers (who both previously ran software companies) are funding the enterprise themselves, and they serve as co-producers. They have four staffers on hand as part of their on-the-road team, including a cinematographer, an editor, and two others to help with logistics. Currently they're in talks with media companies and potential sponsors, but for now John says he's proud of the work they're doing in their own right.
So far the duo has partaken in tailgating madness in New York, Cleveland, Baltimore, Green Bay, Jacksonville and Atlanta. Already, they say their experiences have been majorly memorable.
"I'm loving the reception we're getting from fans in every city," John says. "We had some parking issues at the Atlanta game and we appealed to the folks around us and they all went to bat for us. Everybody for whatever reason welcomed us into that their community even though we just showed up that morning. Tailgating itself is so much fun, it's kind of like, what's yours is mine and what's mine is yours. You can show up empty-handed and they'll give you beer, something to eat, a tent to sit under."
John says fans in every city thus far have been incredibly hospitable, but he was particularly impressed with the reception they received in Jacksonville, in part thanks to a lot of Twitter traction. In Cleveland, they were blown away by the city's 24-hour tailgaters, who set up an entire day before the game and partied all night long. In Green Bay, the mayor gave them a private tour of the city. Each city brings new surprises.
...So let's not disappoint them with our show of Miami-style hospitality, huh folks?
"Tailgating in one city or region really is like a microcosm of what being in that city is like," John offers.
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We can't wait to see what Fins' fans have in store.
Tailgate32 will be parked at Sun Life Stadium on September 23 when the Dolphins meet the Jets. While their exact spot can't be specified in advance, their 42-foot branded RV will be hard to miss. They'll have free food and booze, and if you're the ultimate tailgater, they want to talk to you, so pay 'em a visit. You can also follow the duo on Twitter and Facebook, and you can find all their videos on their website.