Hi Toby fans! Sorry for the delay in getting up some more posts, our blogger got sick upon returning from Miami and hasn’t been up to snuff lately. If you haven’t already checked out the pictures from the tailgate on Facebook, you can find them here.
As we gathered up our gear and headed out from the hotel we spotted a huge dualie sporting a VT flag pulling out of the hotel’s parking lot. Little did we know how much entertainment they’d be providing that day! The parking lots at Sun Life Stadium opened at 11am, so naturally we arrived at 10. After all, we’d driven for six days to be here. When we arrived, we found the VT truck had beaten us there by five minutes, earning the right to be first into the lot. As we waited outside the stadium, a group of Miami locals who tailgate at the Orange Bowl every year pulled into line behind us. They told us that they initially weren’t sure who they were going to root for, but after seeing Toby they immediately decided to pull for Stanford! We ended up with an excellent position in the first row of vehicles by the Fan Zone and the fire lane. With Eric’s rental car and the parents of one of the Stanford players parked on either side of Toby, we effectively had three spots to use for our tailgate.
Thanks to the help of Brian’s parents, Erin, Eric, Khalil, Joe and Nelly, we quickly had Toby unpacked and ready to rock and roll. With the canopy set up and flags flying, it wasn’t long before we started to attract interest. We had a stroke of luck when the families of some of the Stanford players set up their tailgate in the next row over from us, and it wasn’t long before they were coming by to check out Toby. During the course of the day, we met members of the Sherman, Whalen and Wilkerson families, among others. It was great to see how enthusiastic they were about Toby and our tailgating endeavors, especially Grandma Whalen (of the 4th-generation Stanford student Griff Whalen), class of ’57!
It also wasn’t long before Brian and Wade found themselves doing their first TV interview of the day. In total, three local TV stations interviewed us, but we have yet to hear if any of the footage aired. If you saw us on TV in the Miami area, please let us know! As the day progressed, we were excited to see some of our tailgating regulars, including the Mahlers, the Dingsdales and many more. Of course, many of the people coming by were Toby first-timers, having heard about our project in various ways. The Stanford Alumni Association tailgate had sold out, leaving many people looking for alternatives – and Toby was more than happy to help them out. Our crowd just got bigger and bigger as the afternoon wore on.
Our friends in the VT dualie were having a very good afternoon as well. They’d brought some moonshine down from Virginia and were enjoying a great deal of it. The most entertaining one of the bunch was Johnny Bevard, the owner of said dualie. Johnny certainly appeared to be the primary consumer of the moonshine, and in the early afternoon he had one of his buddies shave his hair into a mohawk so that he could paint “VT” on the sides of his head, which complimented the “Let’s Go Hokies” across his chest.
The Stanford Band, among Toby’s favorite fans, were able to make a Toby stop around 5pm despite a bus breakdown of some kind which delayed them on their way to the stadium. The Toby crew wants to thank Ben, Tim, Garrett, the Dollies and every member of the LSJUMB for their continued support of Toby’s tailgates! They’ve been kind enough to play at our Oregon, U$C, Arizona, Oregon State and Orange Bowl tailgates and it is a privilege to have them. Their performance in Miami attracted a huge crowd, many of whom stuck around to check out Toby.
Shortly after the Band’s visit, our friend Glenn Garvin (TV critic for the Miami Herald and the author of this excellent SAA blog post about Toby) stopped by to say hi. He was closely followed by Michelle Kaufman, another Herald writer, who interviewed Wade and Brian for a while and included us in her front-page article about fans at the Orange Bowl. We also introduced her to our new friend Johnny, whose interview was full-on hysterical. Nelly got it on video, and we’ll try to get the clip online with a link ASAP. It’s must-watch YouTube for sure.
As dinner time approached, our tailgate exploded with activity. Brian had the grill on full blast and was churning out hot dogs, burgers and sausages at a prodigious rate while Wade collected money and handed out wristbands. We easily had a crowd of 50+ people from about 5:30 to 7pm. Finally we’d cooked our last burgers and finished off the hot dogs and sausages as well – though surprisingly, we had a harder time getting rid of all the beer, and a number of cases survived the day sadly intact. With all our friends helping out, cleaning up was a breeze and we headed in to the stadium in time to catch the Band’s hilarious field show and their attempt to take their talents to South Beach. Finishing the night off with one of the best games in Stanford Football history capped off an unbelievable road trip and Toby’s debut season with a bang.