The official 2012 App State Tailgate of the Year voting has begun. (Vote HERE) The polls will close on Wed Nov 7, when the winner will be announced.
So I thought this would be a great opportunity to interview Charles Haynes and ask him about what it takes to be a top-level tailgate. He runs Big C’s Tailgate and is pretty famous in the App State community. His tailgate has won multiple awards, including last year’s top prize. Not to mention he also runs the App State blog BigCTailgate.com.
“Big C’s Tailgate” Overall Awards:
2006 Tailgate of the Year
2011 Tailgate of the Year
5x Tailgate of the Game (Including this year’s Coastal Carolina game)
2012 Tailgate of the Year Finalist (Make sure to give him a vote)
So without further ado, let’s get to the interview:
Charles, what is it that separates your tailgate from the average Joe, and even other big time tailgates?
I think one of the best parts about our tailgate is how many Appalachian alums we have from different generations. We have graduates from the 70′s, up through the 2000′s and even some future graduates. Having so many people that have seen Appalachian grow helps everyone appreciate the school for different reasons. I also think we serve some of the best food you will find. From jumbalaya, to fried turkeys, baby back ribs, pork shoulder, shrimp & grits, etc. If you can think of it, we have probably cooked it.
Have you ever tailgated for an App event that wasn’t a football game?
Of course! Any time the opportunity arises to enjoy Appalachian sporting events with a little tailgating, we always try to take advantage. Behind football games, baseball can be really fun to tailgate for in the spring.
How many years have you been putting on this tailgate and how many people usually show up?
It started in college, and just grew from there. We had maybe a dozen people when I was a senior at App in 2002 and its gradually grown from there to as many as a hundred people for big games like Homecoming. We imagined how great it would be for the Raley Lot to be full of tailgaters so we started parking there, long before a Yosef donation was required to park there. It has been neat to see the excitement and atmosphere of tailgating grow in the past ten years.
Out of all of your tailgates, what game/event sticks out in your mind as the most memorable?
There are a lot of memorable tailgates. Halloween in 2008 was awesome for several reasons. Tailgating for a night game is always more fun, and combined with the holiday, it made for a great night. We had a projector and used a screen and brought out the Xbox while some people played Rock Band when it started getting dark. The Western Illinois playoff game also stands out in 2010. It snowed a good four inches before the noon kickoff, so that made for a very interesting tailgate. All of the national championship tailgates also hold a spot in heart. They were all special in their own way.
Besides the actual tailgate, you also run BigCTailgate.com an App State blog famous for its game previews. What kind of grade would you give this year’s football team? Do you think we have a chance to make a run in the playoffs if we get there?
If I had to give us a grade.. it would be a B-. There was a lot of coaching turnover and it can take some time for a staff to gel. It is amazing how one game, The Citadel loss, can have an impact on the season. If we won that game, I may feel totally different. This is a young but talented team, that has had some injuries that are hard to overcome at this level of football. If we make the playoffs, our success will depend entirely on our bracket and the matchups. If we end up 7-4, we will probably host a first round game, but that would mean travelling to a seed in the next round. At 8-3 we are probably travelling in the third round, but it might be a better matchup.
Do you have any high hopes for this year’s hoops squad?
I have extremely high hopes for the Womens’ team. I think they could possibly be better than they were last year, depending on the maturation of a couple of freshman. We got bigger inside and will allow us to matchup better with certain teams. We have plenty of veterans on the team and this is their last chance to get to the NCAA tournament. I think this is their year.
Oh, you meant the Mens’ team?!?!? Kidding aside. There are a lot of new faces on the team and it is going be rough the first couple of months before they figure each other out. There is enough talent on the team, but we will need some production from the bench and that is where there are a lot of unknowns. I think they can contend for SoCon Tourney first round bye because the North Division is very competitive. It is a team that will get better as the season goes on.
Thanks to Charles Haynes for taking some time out to do the interview! Don’t forget to VOTE for him as this year’s 2012 Tailgate of the Year!