My group currently tailgates on the lawn at Littlejohn We have five “core” families that tailgate/park together plus regular invitees who come to our spots. These families are all Clemson graduates: the Walkers, the Purkersons, the Edwards, the Neals and the Summers. On any given Saturday, our spots average about 50 people and can balloon to 75+ people. We have three generations on a regular basis with kids, my generation and our parents.
Our set up generally includes seven or eight tents, carpets, flat screen TV and sound system, smokers/grill and most recently the Summers added a deluxe tailgate trailer that has multiple TVs.
We pride ourselves on being the first to arrive and among the last to leave. We joke that our kids have been raised from an early age to hold up over the course of a 12-hour day of tailgating. We have specific unwritten rules regarding start times: Noon games—leave Simpsonville at 6:45 a.m.; 3:30 games—9:30 departure; night games—10:30 a.m. departure.
We adopted “Orange Army” as our official name and bestow membership (and an official hat) only to those who share our passion for Clemson.
What makes our spot special in my opinion is the family atmosphere. We have kids from 2-15 years old. At Littlejohn, our kids can play and have the freedom to be a kid. My daughter, now 15, has attended almost every home game since she was born. Her passion equals mine. She insists on staying until the end of every game, no matter what the score. She is also the first one up on Saturday mornings and ready to go (even the 12 noon start times when we leave Simpsonville at 6:45). Other kids in our group are the same way. I am proudest of the fact that I know that I have passed on the orange blood to my daughter, and I know she will continue our traditions in Clemson.
I have not missed a home game since 1991, when I started at CU. The Purkersons and the Walkers (me and my wife) have tailgated together every year since I graduated in 1995.
—Shane Walker ’95