Friday, August 12, 2022

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Cover Story

Grills gone wild!


Most Iowans love football. Many of us don’t even mind the brutal Iowa winters, because it means football season at last. So in lieu of this weekend’s Iowa vs. Iowa State matchup, we planned to tell the tales of tailgating follies — true stories from the fuzzy memories of those who either experienced or witnessed the intoxication, nudity, injuries and arrests.

We had a funny, interesting opening all written up for this story, and it was originally pretty good. Then Samantha Goudie went to the Iowa/Northern Illinois game, and the opening for this story became glorious. Thank you, Sam.

Police photo of Samantha Goudie. The officer’s face pretty much says it all.

Police photo of Samantha Goudie. The officer’s face pretty much says it all.

By now pretty much everyone has heard of “Vodka_samm” Goudie, the 22-year-old University of Iowa Liberal Arts major who hit her pre-game pre-funk a little harder than most on Aug. 31. Despite her small stature, Goudie has apparently been blessed with the constitution of a Russian dockworker. Nevertheless, when she made her way into Kinnick Stadium that fateful day to watch the Hawkeyes, she was what Iowa City’s finest later described as “unsteady on her feet.” Still, she managed to climb over a barrier and storm the field of play. Needless to say, though, catching up to Goudie to make an arrest wasn’t the most difficult of tasks for police who took her to jail and administered a breathalyzer test.

Registering at an astounding .341 blood-alcohol level, this was a test Miss Goudie passed only in the sense that she survived. With the infamy she received for having a BAC level that could double as a National League batting title, Goudie’s public intox charge is now the least of her worries. With the Twitter handle “Vodka_samm,” Goudie owned her new Internet celebrity status shamelessly, tweeting to the world: “Just went to jail #yolo,” “Blew a .341 in jail” and “I’m going to get .341 tattooed on me because its so epic.”

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At another point, Goudie tweeted that she was “just like every other college student,” the delusion of which should appall just about everyone. In fact, she may be the first of her kind to take partying to such a brain-cell annihilating level. But that doesn’t mean others don’t have stories of their own — tailgating tales of glory… or shame.


A bunch of scavengers

You know a story’s probably going to be good — or at least entertaining — when it begins with, “I guess everything was fine, until we brought out the fireworks.”

When game day rolls around, Brent Alsdale and his friends stake out their favorite spot and start setting up. In addition to the usual tailgating festivities, the gang puts together a couple of “special” games every year. One annual tradition is the scavenger hunt.

“We work through the summer to put together a list of things for each person to find,” he explained. “Then we all take off and spend the day alternating between drinking at the RV and checking things off the list. We’ve all got camera phones, so we have to get photographic proof of us doing each item.”

Sounds good and wholesome, but what kind of things are on the list?

“Some of it’s pretty mundane stuff: pictures with an opposing team’s fans, getting food from another tailgate party,” Alsdale said. “But some of it’s more…” he thinks a moment. “Creative.”

On last year’s list:

-Peeing on a squad car;

-Carrying the oldest person you can find on your back;

-Touching a sleeping man’s nose; and, of course…


They had 13 people participate while tailgating at a road matchup against TCU, and, surprisingly, three of them actually completed every task on the list (much to the Fort Worth Police Department’s chagrin). That’s when the trouble started.

“So we hadn’t really planned on what to do in the event of a tie-breaker,” Alsdale explained. “We tried just having someone judge which person’s pictures were the most creative or fun or whatever, but we couldn’t find anyone who we could all agree was an impartial enough judge. That’s when my friend Allan said, ‘Well, I’ve got bottle rockets in my car.’

“I don’t know how we thought a bottle rocket fight was going to settle on a winner. I think ‘who won’ just kind of took a back seat to ‘bottle rocket fight.’ ”

So it began, with the first flick to a short wick.

“People tailgating around us didn’t like that idea much,” he admitted. “I can’t blame them, with all the propane tanks around and such. If we — if any of us — were sober, that idea would have been vetoed in a second.”

It wasn’t long before “a whole slew of cops” showed up to put the kabosh on the plan.

“Allan got arrested because he got lippy with the cops. He wound up spending the night in jail on a drunken disorderly,” Alsdale recalled. “The rest of us had the good sense to quit while we were ahead and spent the rest of the pre-game quietly. But the TCU fans around us were pissed. We were kind of afraid. Two of my friends didn’t even want to risk walking past anyone to get into the stadium, so they wound up watching the game from the RV. We won’t do that again.”


Dance like no one’s watching

For some, the tailgating party starts before the tailgate comes into play, maybe even before the sun crests the horizon. Such was the case for Brock Fox during a 2002 Pro-Bowl game in Hawaii who admittedly “spent all morning getting wasted.”

“I was drunk to begin the day,” he confessed. “I went into the stadium — we had great seats: 40-yard line, 26th row. I drank around 12 beers before half-time. At half-time everyone went to get more beer. I stayed.”

Now, one might assume Fox stayed behind because he simply could not navigate the stadium steps, as the 12-pack in his gut had rendered him immobile, but Fox apparently disproved any such hypotheses.

“I proceeded to take my shirt off and dance in the aisle.” No offense to Fox, but he’s more of a defensive lineman and less of a wide receiver, if you get the drift, which is probably why: “They put me on the jumbo tron.”

“I didn’t know I was on the big screen till my friends came back and said, ‘nice moves,’ ” Fox said with a belly laugh. “Wasted at the pro bowl in Hawaii. Great memories.”


A bloody Mary meltdown

Could be worse. At least he actually got to see the game. That was not the case for admitted amateur drinker Alyssa Clausen whose first and last tailgating experience has since been dubbed a “bloody Mary meltdown.” Her boyfriend took her to Missouri for what was supposed to be a super sexy weekend of romance, but…

“I puked in the private suite bathroom then passed out on the couch outside the public bathroom — after I puked all over it — and then I passed out in the limo until the game was over…. all before the game even tried to start. Proud, proud moment,” she surmised.

Bloody Marys are not a drink you want to have come back up. Though it was a pitiful moment for Clausen, the real pity should be reserved for the stadium janitorial staff. Despite the points Clausen gets for humiliation, spending the entire time unconscious doesn’t quite qualify as tailgating.


A hero of sorts

The end result of bonging vodka at a tailgating party could be ugly — very ugly.

The end result of bonging vodka at a tailgating party could be ugly — very ugly.

ISU alum Drew Roberts, on the other hand, proves why being both present and awake can make for some fun post-college reflections. And again, vodka is the theme.

“One of my buddies decided to be a hero that day,” Roberts said recalling his college days at ISU. Roberts and his buddies graduated in 2008, and while they still tailgate, he admits, “it’s not quite to the extreme as it was back then.”

“He decided to be a hero and drink the most out of everybody. He started by drinking beer — lots and lots of beer — and then he mixed it with vodka,” Roberts said. “Then we started bonging beer, which led him to the idea to bong the rest of the bottle of vodka.”

By the time the paramedics arrived, the hero had fallen from his self-appointed pedestal. The cops could not revive him, so EMS came in to perform CPR.

“His BAC was so high, they were surprised he survived it,” Roberts laughed.



He who holds the key

Now here’s one to laugh about. Picture it. Your friend works for a company that sells farm machines and construction equipment, and one apparent perk of the job is to be the custodian of a special key that can start up almost anything.

“We saw this cop driving around on a golf cart,” began another ISU alum, Carl Rogers. “He said, ‘I wonder if this key will work on that golf cart?’ ”

You know where this story is going. Once the cart was left unattended, his buddies cheered as he slid into the driver’s seat, slipped the magic key into the ignition. “It worked,” Rogers chuckled.

“He went for a joy ride around all the cars in the parking lot until the cops ran him down. They made him park it and threatened to take him to jail. Well, we knew the cop, and my friend was pretty drunk, so he was like, ‘Yeah right, you’re not gonna do that.’ And he just stood there chomping down a big, old sausage the whole time all drunk.”

For a while there was a video on YouTube showing the entire incident, but out of respect for the cop they knew, they decided to take it down.

“Still, a few years ago some guy recognized him at another tailgating and said, ‘Hey, you’re the golf cart guy!’ ” Rogers said.


Better than being the ‘on fire guy’

It’s all smiles and fresh meat at tailgating celebrations until somebody catches on fire.

It’s all smiles and fresh meat at tailgating celebrations until somebody catches on fire.

When you find yourself on fire, the important thing to remember, kids, is: 1. Don’t panic, and 2. Stop, drop and roll. So that’s what this guy did.

“Every weekend my friend would buy a piece of paraphernalia from the opposing team and light it on fire,” said Kelly Schwartz. “This time, he accidently somehow caught himself on fire.”

Imagine, as he’s holding up a sacrificial Cornhuskers T-shirt before an audience of fellow fans, and he flicks the Zippo and begins the ritualistic burning of the big red “N,” the fickle fire in all its mutiny sparks a rogue flame toward Cy and takes the smartass ISU fan with it.

“He stopped, dropped and rolled, and everybody threw water on him.” Sure, Schwartz, “water.” Or was it beer? “It wasn’t that big of a deal,” she giggled. “He was only on fire for a little while.”


Hey, baseball fans are idiots, too

I suppose you’re right, Schwartz. After all, it’s only a T-shirt. It’s not like he accidently caught his truck on fire.

“One year I went tailgating at an Iowa Cubs game, and we put the grill in the bed of my boyfriend’s truck,” said London Cipale. “His friend was going to make food after the game, so he didn’t dump the coals out. But when we drove off, we looked back and everything in the bed was on fire.”

A fellow tailgater’s efforts to put the fire out using anti-freeze weren’t enough to save the truck from significant damages, Cipale said. “The bed liner melted. It’s completely ruined.

“And he ended up being too drunk to make food after the game.”


The lessons learned

DSC_9119 cjSo what does this tell us about tailgaters? Ultimately, not a hell of a lot. Obviously, these stories are not the typical tailgating experience. Most tailgaters have never consumed coma-inducing amounts of alcohol, had a fight using ill-advised explosives, painted a bathroom red or caught things — including themselves — on fire. But you’ve got to admit, their stories are just not as interesting as “Grills Gone Wild” tailgating tales of jails, injuries, follies and shame.

Even Iowa’s newest poster child for collegiate irresponsibility has quickly toned down her act: Two days after reveling in her position as “the world’s drunkest college student” and being reported on by The Des Moines Register,, The Guardian and now Cityview, Goudie disabled her Twitter account. “Vodka_samm” has since reappeared, but her tweets are now set to “private.”

As Goudie knows firsthand, there is such a thing as having too much fun, and there’s very little fun to be had in a jail cell or hospital. The lesson here, kids, is that whether you bleed black and gold or cardinal and gold, everybody bleeds. And everybody bleeds a lot more when their blood is significantly thinned by alcohol.

Be careful out there. CV

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