What you need to know about this year’s tailgates

Fernanda Leon, Staff Reporter

Now that football season is here students at the University of Texas at El Paso and Miner fans in general are starting to get ready for UTEP’s first home game. Along with supporting the UTEP football team, the tradition of tailgating is the most common form of socializing before a game.

Carlos Sanchez, senior Spanish major, said tailgating is about having a good time with friends and family.

“At the same time tailgating supports the college sports teams in a nice and family ori-ented environment,” Sanchez said.

Many of the rules and regulations have changed for this fall’s tailgating events in order to improve the safety of the tailgaters. Some spots inside campus have changed from regular tailgating, to picnic style tailgating.

A regulation that has been added is the prohibition of drones on university property for the safety of the public.

With the recent opening of the Centennial Plaza, people will be able to tailgate in the area, but it won’t be the usual tailgating experience.

“The use of Centennial Plaza and the new spaces changed from regular tailgating to picnic ‘soft’ tailgating style,” said Jorge Vazquez, executive director of the Office of Special Events at UTEP.

Vazquez said this means that the areas that are labeled as “soft tailgating” will not allow tents, chairs, grills and tables. Only blankets and picnic-style activities will be allowed in Centennial Plaza, geology lawn and areas around Old Main.

On the other hand, outer lots and parking spaces will allow regular tailgating activities.

During regular tailgating activities, glass containers, kegs, beer balls, beer funnels and other similar objects will not be permitted around campus.

In order to prevent unfortunate situations like a fight that occurred last year during a tailgating party before the game against Texas Tech on Sept. 6, the UTEP Police De-partment will take special measures.

“UTEP Police Department and other law enforcement agencies will be on site as they are every season to ensure the safety of our patrons as they partake in the football fes-tivities,” Vazquez said. “We want our fans to have an enjoyable experience in a safe environment.”

Students, faculty and staff members, as well as the general public, may begin tailgating at 8 a.m. in the outer lots. For inner campus tailgates, the public may begin arriving at 2 p.m.

“I’ve never experienced a problem, everything is always very calm,” said Diego Portillo, senior art major. “I’ve always seen police vigilance, but I’ve never seen a conflict.”

No ticket purchase for the game is required to tailgate at UTEP. Everyone is welcomed.

“Tailgating is free,“ Vasquez said. “Corporate or company parties should call the athletics department to make arrangements if they wish to use Kidd Field.”

Kidd Field is located next to the Sun Bowl Stadium. Tents are available for rent, with availability for groups of 50 or more people at a starting price of $425, which includes tables, chairs and optional catering.

Season and single game passes to tailgate at the Kidd Field are also available at different prices. The single game passes for adults are $20 and $5 for children and seasonal passes are $100 for adults and $25 for children. Each pass includes a meal, drinks and give-aways.

Free parking will be offered at lots S3, P1, P2 and P3–which also includes ADA parking–and P4. Shuttle services will be available for the south lots only.

For the safety of the public, UTEP tailgate events are enforced with different rules and regulations that will ensure an enjoyable football experience and, at the same time, help provide a great experience for all the Miner fans.

“There is no doubt that we all can be part of events like these and form a community where everyone can enjoy a good time without having to spend too much,” Sanchez said.

For more information, contact the UTEP Police Department, athletic department or the Office of Special Events or visit the website www.tailgate.utep.edu.

Fernanda Leon may be reached at the [email protected]