Between the open-air enclosures, the wide variety of animals and the cacophony of smells, tailgating at the Zou can seem like a day spent at the actual zoo. Much like traditional animal parks, the tailgaters who populate Mizzou’s more than 16 parking lots each have their own unique habitats, distinctive feeding practices and one-of-a-kind behavior patterns. We at Columbia Home are committed to conservation and preservation of Mizzou wildlife and the ecosystems they create, so in the interest of science, we’ve identified six common varieties of tailgaters you might see on any given Saturday at the Zou. Please note that though we encourage you to come out and visit, please don’t feed the animals (unless you’re serving Jayhawk; it’s their favorite).
These tailgaters like to roam the great outdoors searching far and wide for safe harbor before wandering off to their next destination. They’re usually an affable group, traveling in herds of three to five. They graze on whatever food is available, preferring to eat small bits at each stop on their sojourn through the vast expanse of the Zou. They are often thirsty but are not particular about their liquid refreshment. Offer them anything from a bloody Mary to a can of Busch, and they’ll accept happily.
Genus: Friendlious Freeloaderis
If the Blue Chips are toward the far end of the evolutionary spectrum, the Bro is closer to the beginning. Despite the moniker, the Bro can actually be male or female, a student or alumnae, a visiting fan or a hometown supporter. His face is painted to display maximum team spirit. His appetite for beer is Jurassic. And his call can be heard far and wide. “Let’s go, Tigers! (clap clap clap clap clap).” He’s a classic presence at any sporting event, and though he can be aggressively supportive of the team, you’ve got to love him. Because the Bro is not just a fan; he’s a super fan. He’s not just excited about the game; he’s super excited. And, more often than not, he’s not just drunk; he’s super drunk.
Genus: Agressiveous Spiritous; or alternatively, Gonna-Pukiuos Soonious
The Diehards are by far the oldest of the tailgating types, dating all the way back to the Faurot-azoic era. They’ve been tailgating in the same spot for generations and never, ever miss a game. The opposite of fair-weather fans, the diehards stayed true to the Missouri Tigers during the disastrous season of 1971 and were rewarded with the glory of 2013. Rain or shine, win or lose, nine months pregnant or newborn in tow, the diehards will be out there supporting the team. They’re often old school in terms of refreshments: brats and burgers, chips and dip, beer and soda. They know that tailgating fads will come and go, but being a Tiger lasts forever.
Genus: Truius Bluis
The high-tech tailgater is a nester by nature. Even out in the wild, he likes to have all the comforts of home. His tailgate is a menagerie of superior sound and visual acuity. Never mind that the stadium is just feet away; High-tech Guy has the game on his 50-inch plasma HDTV, complete with antireflective glass and mobile satellite feed. For those who prefer a little music during their tailgating experience, he has indoor/outdoor, water-resistant, wireless Bluetooth speakers with a range of 30 feet and a battery life of 16 hours. Fiercely protective, High Tech Guy stays with his nest while others go inside the stadium. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. His tech is his baby, and like a mama tiger watching her cub, he guards it with his life.
Genus: Technologicis Geekerous
The Blue Chips
The Blue Chips are slightly farther along the evolutionary continuum than most other species at the Zou. Rather than simply throwing out some nachos and Natty Light, the Blue Chips prefer a more civilized tailgating experience. They erect 20-foot tents with chandeliers, chefs in white coats and even full-service bars. And the food is anything but your typical tailgate fare. They have pewter chafing dishes filled with wild boar (if we’re playing Arkansas), broiled alligator (if we’re playing Florida) or Cornish game hen (if we are playing South Carolina). This select group has elevated tailgating to the next level, and are among the Zou’s most popular attractions.
Genus: Fancious Pantious
The Who Invited This Guy is a biological curiosity. He is ubiquitous, and yet no scientific evidence for his existence can be found. In other words, no one knows who he is or where he came from. And yet, he can always be found standing around your food table, eating your wings, drinking your beer and creeping out your guests. It takes a while for him to be identified because everyone assumes he’s there with someone else, but eventually the chatter starts. “Who is that guy?” “I don’t know. I thought you knew him.” He is a true scavenger, and not unlike his insect cousin the cockroach, he will likely survive another 49 million years. Or at least another 49 million seasons.
Genus: Randomicus Creeperis