It Starts with a Tailgate
Our family’s tailgating tradition is a long standing tradition that started after years of going to UCF Football Games. The first tailgate occurred in 1998 (during the Daunte era) and it wasn’t quite the “event” that it is today. There were no grills, no tents, no brats, and no bocce ball! It consisted of a few chairs, a cooler, some snacks, and a football.
Each year it got Bigger, Longer, more Active, more Popular, more Creative, but most importantly more FUN!!!
The turning point that caused this upward spiral has to be the 1999 season opening home game against the Purdue Boilermakers. UCF’s first taste of “Big-Time” football in Orlando. We tailgated on the lake side 6 hours before the games started and we were the last people let in before closing the lot because it was full! A parking lot full 6 HOURS before a game- it was easy to see that UCF and tailgating go hand ‘n’ hand! We had improved that tailgate this time adding brats, a grill, and some tables.
Still going into the 2000 season we knew we needed another yet all too important piece of the tailgating picture (specially in Florida). TENTS! And it seems with each tailgate we added more tents. By year end you could call our tailgate “tent city” as we now have 4 tents! Speaking of years end the Ultimate Tailgate occurred on November 11, 2001. It began almost 7 hours before kickoff and had over 50 people, a record number at that time. Everyone had a blast as it was a wonderful success! We also added signs and tailgate awards to satisfy our creative appetite! After this tailgate we knew we had something special…we knew that this was going to become a longstanding family tradition.
A website is born
As all these tailgates and roadtrips started ramping up so did the age of the digital camera. And rather than send out an email full of pictures to our tailgate crew I decided to create a site on a free web host to post pictures and comments from our tailgates. It was much first venture into websites and I enjoyed it enough to where I decided to take it to the next level and purchase the domain ucftailgate.com in August of 2001. What started out with free web hosting with as little as 10MBs of storage to what I have now which is shared hosting services with over 300GB of storage. Back in the day when the web wasn’t as integrated into everyone’s life there were only a couple of UCF fan sites and I was happy that I was one of them. I made it a yearly tradition to refresh the site right before the football season, it became a ritual of getting ready for UCF football. Here are some of the looks of the site over the years.
UCFTailgate.com becomes UCFPride.com
In 2006 I decided that a name change was needed mainly because the site had become about much more than just UCF football tailgates, or just football itself. It seemed to neglect the other sports at UCF specifically basketball and that’s just not fair to Kirk. So I came up with the name UCFPride.com because the site is about me showing my pride in all things UCF. Who knows what the site will be in 10 years but I know it will continue to show the overwhelming pride I have for the Knights of the University of Central Florida. Meanwhile that little tailgate that started with just a few chairs and a cooler, it’s grown in 2005 we had over 100 people at a single tailgate.