Tailgate Traditions: Two Husker families at different stages

  • Nothing says tailgating like a good, old-fashioned game of corn hole.

By Seth Olson, NewsNetNebraska

Some Nebraska football fans like the Koley family have tailgating traditions that have been around for years. Other Husker fans like the Vermeer family are just now establishing traditions.

On one extreme sits the Koley family with their vibrant atmosphere, smoked BBQ, a game of corn hole, some loud but mellow Journey music (Faithfully) and an exotic red Husker football bus.

The Koley family and friends discuss the age of the bus as Faithfully by Journey plays in the background.

One of Tom and Kathy Koley’s kids, Creighton Koley, is a 6-0, 180-pound defensive back from Omaha for the Huskers. Because the redshirt freshman Creighton is on the team, the large convoy of nearly 30 Koley family and friends come together week after week at a student commuter lot just northeast of Memorial Stadium to have a good time and enjoy each other’s company before the game.

“The Koley family makes it here every week,” cousin Keegan Koley said. “It is a fun get together for family and friends.”

What makes it more exciting is the Koley family bus, which is a family mini-bus that fits 10 people and has tables, a flat screen TV and numerous Husker football pictures glazed over the outside of the bus. The family has had the bright, red-colored bus for a little over a decade, but even before the family bus was around, the Koley’s would be at every game.

When they got the bus, the family brought it to Creighton’s high school football games where Creighton starred at Skutt Catholic. Now, the Koley family, along with their friends, can all enjoy each other’s company with the bus.

“They come back for every game, but Tom used to come back tailgating with the bus before his son even played here,” a Koley family friend Andrew said. “They recently put a new motor in the bus, but I only know that because I gave it to them.”

Meanwhile, a family much newer to Husker tailgating, the Vermeer family is still developing traditions. Typically, the adults stand around and joke with each other while drinking and eating Valentino’s pizza, while Joline Vermeer’s son Ryan and her two nephews play football in the grass together.

“We don’t have any traditions yet, but we hope to have some soon,” Joline Vermeer said. “We probably tailgate at two or three games per year, but my favorite time to tailgate is 11; the earlier the better for me.”

Just like how Husker fans can come in all shapes and sizes, they also come with different tailgating traditions. At the end of the day, all Nebraska tailgaters have one thing in common: their love for Husker football.

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