Husker Christmas present starts 10-year tailgate tradition

By Lexie Heinle, NewsNetNebraska

Linda Alderson, center, tailgates with friends Cathy Morrissey, Lorri Briggs, Vanessa Teten and Sherrie Hanneman.

Linda Alderson, center, tailgates with friends Cathy Morrissey, Lorri Briggs, Vanessa Teten and Sherrie Hanneman.

Ten years ago for Christmas, Linda Alderson received one of the best gifts any Husker fan could ask for—a tailgating spot.

“I was excited, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is going to be a great thing for my friends and family to get together every year’,” Alderson said. “It was one of my best Christmas gifts.”

Her father, Richard, bought her the Lincoln Journal-Star tailgating spot next to where her aunt and uncle tailgated. Over the years, the tailgate varied from as many as seven stalls to as few as three. Alderson now tailgates with four friends she’s known since her University of Nebraska-Lincoln days in the early 1980s.

“It was funny because when we first started, we had a card table and a little itty bitty cooler of beer,” said friend Sherrie Hanneman. “That was all we had.”

Now the friends have a grill, TV and a couple tents. Each friend has an area of expertise. Hanneman’s nickname is the “grill sergeant,” while another friend crafts the tailgate playlist with songs like Rose Royce’s “Car Wash.” Alderson describes herself as the drink manager. Her specialty is a Bloody Mary with bacon and Zing Zang mix.

“Growing up in Nebraska, you become a Husker family,” Alderson said. Her favorite Husker memory dates back to her childhood in Grand Island. The Aldersons always watched the Nebraska vs. Oklahoma Thanksgiving games, either attending the home games or watching the away ones.

Husker hat

Richard Alderson’s Husker hat is present at every tailgate.

“It was a lot of family, a lot of food and a lot of people screaming at the TV,” Alderson said.

For Alderson, Husker games and family are intrinsically linked. Although her uncle and dad have died, she brings her dad’s Husker hat to every tailgate.

Alderson said she knows “the true blue Husker fan lingers around the tailgate.”

Friend Sherrie Hanneman talks about the legacy of Alderson’s Christmas present.

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