We started tailgating on a regular basis in 1996, and since the late 1990’s our group has been called the LOT 7 LOONIES. We tailgate on Cemetery Hill (formerly Lot 7) and our tailgating experience is all about the wonderful friends we have made throughout the years and enjoying our love of Clemson with so many great Clemson fans.
We began tailgating in Lot 7 (now Cemetery Hill Lot) 16 years ago with Christine and Richie Faenza and were soon joined by our Charleston friends, Beth and Wayne Williams and Larry and Kathy Bendt. We met Betty and Henry Gunter from Lexington in the lot and they soon became a part of the Loonies. The Loonies have joined forces with the “Cemetery Hill Tailgaters” (Matt and Andrea Jones, and Reggie, Tammy, Bradley, and Tesha Newton) and occupy spaces side-by-side.
The Lot 7 Loonies bring just about everything from home except the kitchen sink — a generator to run the TV, crock pots, iPod sound dock, lights, and fans to keep us cool on those hot September days. The Cemetery Hill Tailgaters (CHT) have a torpedo heater to keep us warm on cold days. Everyone is welcomed…..young and old. We’ve had parents, children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, and cousins attend games with us. Our newest regular tailgater is Finley Jones (son of Matt and Andrea) who enjoyed his first tailgate experience in 2012 at the age of 7 months. He’s actually a Cemetery Hill Tailgater, but we consider him an honorary Lot 7 Loonie.
We have had the excitement of being visited by Coach Danny Ford, Homer Jordan and Michael Dean Perry, thanks to our friend Reggie Newton who we believe knows everyone in Clemson. We are also fortunate to have the Rally Cats Coach, Katie Horton (soon to be Mrs. Katie Horton Noel), as one of our regulars and we’ve even shared a few tailgates with young Frank Howard III.
A special memory is the day the History Channel came to interview the Loonies for a segment on Southern traditions called ”You Think You Know Dixie.” They included a small clip of the Loonies doing one of our Lot Shot cheers.
Biggest memory for Beth, Christine, and Deborah is being in a full-page Hyundai advertisement in Sports Illustrated and on an ESPN commercial wearing their Tiger Paw scrubs, which they always wear to Homecoming, the USC game and Bowl games.
The Lot Shot: Deborah, Christine and Beth have poured shots for as many people who want to join in. They either go around the lot serving the shots or set them out in the middle of the lot on the little round “lot shot table”. Everyone waits patiently until as many as 50 Tiger fans are served and then everyone joins our cheerleader, Reggie Newton, who motivates the group with his cheer that always ends with the Cadence Count.
The Gas-Powered Blender: People in our lot have become accustomed to the sound of Richie’s gas-powered blender. Richie and Christine enjoy making daiquiris for Tiger fans in our lot and everyone certainly enjoys drinking them, especially at hot September games.
Shot Seven: At one tailgate many years ago, we decided to come up with a special shot and call it ”Shot 7.” Nan Aull (our lot neighbor) came up with the winner making a shot with seven ingredients. Nan makes them up for every game and is now called “Shot 7 Nan.”
Boiled Peanuts: You haven’t had a boiled peanut until you’ve had one of Henry Gunter’s boiled peanuts. When Henry or any of the Gunters come to a game they bring two huge pots of their boiled peanuts. The pot of peanuts is always on the front side of the tent where anyone in the lot can come and enjoy them.
The Big Grill: Our friends in the lot look forward to the two or three times each year that Tom pulls his BIG grill to the game. He’s grilled plenty of chicken, ribs, and has been known to grill over 90 pork chops to share with any and everyone. People just gravitate over to the grill to see what Tom’s cooking.
Check out the Loonies’ blog.