Family makes traveling the distance worth it for life-long Husker fan

Todd Balzer lounging in a lawn chair at his tailgate on 16th and Vine Streets.

Todd Balzer lounging in a lawn chair at his tailgate on 16th and Vine Streets.

By Nicole Rauner, NewsNetNebraska

Growing up, Todd Balzer, 52, didn’t go to Husker football games. Only three games appeared on his family television in Millard, Nebraska, and the rest of the season was spent near a radio.


But now, Balzer has a prime tailgating spot on 16th and Vine Streets, where family and friends gather. No matter if it’s listening to the game on the radio or partying at the new tailgate spot, being a Husker fan runs in the family.


“It was in your blood and that’s all you knew,” he said.


Balzer has lots of Husker memories. He remembers going to his first game in 1978 and watching Tom Osborne beat Oklahoma. He recalls college memories with friend Tom Tetrick, with whom he still tailgates. Balzer remembers a game in college where Tetrick¸his fraternity brother, wore only white shorts and red suspenders. Tetrick was later mocked for the funny tan line, and Balzer never lets him forget it.


Balzer didn’t let moving out of state get in the way of being a tailgating Husker fan. Even when he lived in Texas, he made the trip for home games. Balzer, a food broker who now lives in Castle Rock, Colorado, makes the seven-hour drive to Memorial Stadium every home game and drives even farther for at least one away game every season.


Because Balzer is a food broker, he’s in charge of bringing the grub to every game; he has the tailgating menu planned out at least a week in advance.


“I already know what we’re having for the Michigan State game,” he said.


For Balzer, tailgating – and being a Husker fan — is all about family and friends coming together.

“It’s your family. College football is more than just a game.”
Balzer recalls his favorite Husker game.

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