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Your Guide to Texas Longhorns Tailgating

College football is back. For many that means a chance to catch their favorite team in action. For others, it’s an opportunity to get down and celebrate.

The two come together in tailgating – that long held practice of grilling, drinking, and eating in a game day parking lot. When the University of Texas Longhorns open their season against New Mexico State Saturday night, expect to see tailgaters by the drove.

Christopher Kluck, a founding member of Longhorn Tailgaters, suggests that it’s best to find an established tailgate to join rather than start your own.

“If you start your own tailgate, you're crazy,” Kluck says. “Go to someone else's tailgate and let them deal with the headache. If you insist on starting your own tailgate, do it for the right reasons because it's definitely a labor of love.”

The difficulty lies in the logistics. Finding a spot and paying for it are just the beginning. Tailgate organizers also consider tents, chairs, tables, and a generator.

According to the University of Texas tailgating policy, the price for a spot at an individual game is $55 and a season package is $300. Micaela Garcia-Baab, a Longhorns tailgating aficionado, notes many of the best tailgating spots go to former Longhorns players who have reserved their places years in advance.

Parking and traffic are the biggest obstacles on game day. If you want to avoid the stress – and don’t need your ride for tailgating – Capital Metro offers bus routes that can take you to Guadalupe and 23rd as well as Dean Keeton and San Jacinto. They also offer day passes for $1.

The University of Texas offers game day parking at a variety of locations for $20. Here's a map. However, Garcia-Baab notes attendees can park in private lots further away and take a pedicab.

Here are few other tips and tricks these tailgating experts offered:

  • Going into the game? “Try not to sit near the student section,” warns Garcia-Baab. “The sun sets last on them and you’ll be roasting for most, if not all, of the game.”
  • If you only can attend on game during the year, try to make it the Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma, Saturday, Oct. 12 in Dallas. “You don’t even need to go to the game to have an incredible time,” Garcia-Baab says.
  • Hosting your own tailgate? Get wristbands to keep track of who is in your group. “Many people just wander in off the street and assume that the food/drinks are open to anyone and just help themselves,” Kluck says.
  • Be prepared to pay: Kluck notes his group usually asks for $15 to $20 per tailgate attendee, which he says is about average for tailgating vendors.
  • Have fun: Garcia-Baab says her best tailgating experiences involve not having a plan. “Just take some friends and wander around,” she says. “Everyone is welcoming, as long as you’re in orange.”

UT Longhorns 2013 Home Schedule:

Sat. Aug. 31 vs. New Mexico State, 7 p.m. Sat. Sept. 14 vs Ole Miss, 7 p.m. Sat. Sept. 21 vs Kansas St., Kickoff TBD Sat. Nov. 2 vs Kansas, 2:30 p.m. Sat. Nov. 16 vs Oklahoma St., Kickoff TBD Thurs. Nov 28 vs Texas Tech, 6:30 p.m.

Roy is a second year journalism professional track graduate student at the University of Texas.
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