There are certain things in life that can only be learned through trial and error.
Some are simple — like it hurts when one’s hand is exposed to an open flame. Others are more complex — like picking the right moment to kiss your date at the end of the night. And there are still others that fall into a grey area between ease and difficulty. The lesson that time teaches. For Mike Crowley, that lesson is how to throw the perfect tailgate, and it’s one he continues to learn from after each and every Hawkeye football season.
“I’ve been a season ticket holder since the ’80s and a fan nearly all my life,” says Crowley. “When you come out to one of our tailgates, whether you’re 4 years old or 84, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.”
After hosting nearly three decades of tailgates, Crowley has a pretty nice setup that could rival a small restaurant. Back in college the grocery list was easy: beer and meat. Period. As the years passed and Crowley was exposed more and more to the scene, he started picking up ideas from other tailgaters.
The Weber 200 gas grill, up to seven well-stocked coolers (“Nothing is worse than warm beers at a tailgate”), a tent with strong sides to block the wind, bags equipment, battery jumpstarter (“Lynyrd Skynyrd has been known to wear down the car”), proper tongs and folding chairs are a must. Unique to Crowley’s tailgate is a portable fire pit that comes in handy on those brisk Iowa City mornings.
“It takes me about an hour and a half to set up the tailgate, and depending on the game, we can get anywhere from eight to 50 people,” Crowley says.
Crowley makes it out to every home game plus a couple out-of-towners. Wisconsin is his favorite place to tailgate outside of Iowa City and a trip to Minneapolis is on the agenda this year.
Saturdays during football season are reserved for the Hawkeyes. It’s a day of football, food, friends and family.
“I’ve got the other six days of the week to work and eat healthy, but Saturday is a day off,” says Crowley. And with a basement that’s covered wall to wall in Hawkeye apparel, “I never have to lose the flavor of Iowa City even after I leave.”
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”