20 year tradition: the Nemecek tailgating experience
Story, photos and audio by Mekenzie Kerr, NewsNetNebraska
How it all started
Rain or shine, Bob and Ronell Nemecek of Lincoln will be carrying on their 20-some year tailgating experience behind Bessey Hall. Although the married duo are both graduates of Wayne State, they have “always been big Husker fans,” and their two sons were graduates of UNL.
Husker game days with the couple were originally spent watching the game at home with friends, until one day they decided they would set-up something of their own. After reserving their parking spot on the east side of the stadium, they felt it was time to start tailgating.
As dedicated tailgaters and Husker fans, the Nemeceks commuted from Kearney to Lincoln over the course of 10 years every home game. For the last 12 years they have lived in Lincoln and been able to skip the commute to tailgate.
While they love the game day tailgating atmosphere, the regular preparation keeps them busy. They both spend the week before gathering ingredients and things they’ll need, the night before is spent preparing and the day after is used to unpack and clean up.
Why they tailgate
Both Bob and Ronell forego the flat screen televisions and sound systems in order to focus on their favorite aspect of tailgating: the people, friends and family.. They each describe the groups of tailgaters on the eastside of Memorial Stadium akin to a community, sometimes saving each other’s spots for tailgating or sharing each other’s food. Bob is able to point to neighboring tailgate set-ups and name the people who host each, all individuals who are friends and fellow game day enthusiasts.
“In my cellphone I just have a guy as ‘Football Marv,’ and I don’t know his last name but we’ve tailgated together for the last twenty years and become close,” said B. Nemecek. “Those are the kind of relationships you make.”
Favorite tailgating memory
Throughout the last 20 years the Nemeceks have made a lot of memories, but Ronell’s favorite memory, by far, was when their son was on the UNL Marching Band team. During his college career, the pair fed their son’s fellow saxophone players, and by his senior year they fed all 28 saxophone players on the Marching Band.
The tailgating duo is looking forward to the rest of the season and do not plan on missing out on a single game.
“We’ll be tailgating for a long time,” said Nemecek. “I don’t see us quitting anytime soon, at least not until it’s not fun, which isn’t going to happen.”