The tailgate: an undercover Husker football tradition

  • Friends and family gather in the lot where the Goschs tailgate.

Story and photos by Julia Jackson, NewsNetNebraska

There’s something different about Nebraska Husker football tailgates in Lincoln, Nebraska. Sure, there are usually the homemade Runzas, hot wings, red Solo cups in abundance. There are also thousands of fans in their “Go Big Red” gear. But there’s more—things that can’t be seen through photos or video, something that’s only realized through the experience. Tradition.

Steve and Suzette Gosch set up their tailgate just northeast of the stadium in the lot next to the Harper-Schramm-Smith parking garage. The white, bar-top height tables wait for plates of sausage and egg casserole and Bruegger’s bagels to complement the cups of bloody marys and screwdrivers poured in the trunk of the Chevy Suburban during the next couple hours before the 11 a.m. kickoff. This scene is the same every Husker football Saturday.

Not unlike Nebraska football history, Husker tailgates mimic the same atmosphere of pride, tradition and excellence. For the Gosch family of Omaha, those traits are apparent.  For daughter, Rachael, this tailgate is something she’s known her entire life. “We’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, so 23 years, I guess,” Rachael said.

For the Gosch’s, the tailgate is half the fun. “My parents go to the first half of the game, but then they usually go back to Omaha. I think the tailgate is more entertaining for them,” Rachael said.

Halftime is another big part of the day for the Goschs as they find their way back to a tailgate, this time it has migrated to the front of Memorial Stadium to an area known as “the horseshoe.” “Before the game, one of us moves our car to the front of the stadium so we don’t have to go too far during halftime,” Rachael said.

The tradition of Husker tailgates may run even deeper than the tradition of Husker football, and the Gosch family is no exception to this seasonal ritual.

Listen to Rachael talk about her earliest Husker memory

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