Ambulance joins Husker vs Illinois pre-game tailgate

Hours before the game against Illinois on Saturday, a group of Husker fans gathered around an ambulance stretcher in Booster Lot 7, near 8th and S streets. But fear not — no one was injured; these fans simply were enjoying the game-day experience.

Rick Schroeder in his Big Red Meat Wagon

Rick Schroeder in his Big Red Meat Wagon.

The stretcher was part of Rick Schroeder’s Big Red Meat Wagon, an old ambulance converted to a party wagon for tailgating. Schroeder’s party was packed with people enjoying food and drink.

The Meat Wagon tailgate lives up to its name with smoked pork sliders with bbq sauce, chips with nacho cheese dip, bacon mac and cheese and a variety of alcoholic beverages.

When he was 5, Schroeder’s father brought him to his first tailgate. His love for the Husker experience grew. His favorite game-day traditions include the alumni band walking around and playing, the tunnel walk and standing on top of the Lot #1 parking garage to watch the band enter the stadium.

Schroeder purchased the retired ambulance 12 years ago at an auction for $1,200. Since then, he has worked to upgrade the party every year.

Rick Schroeder’s Big Red Meat Wagon

Rick Schroeder’s Big Red Meat Wagon in Booster Lot 7 before the Husker vs Illinois game.

Before owning the Big Red Meat Wagon, Schroeder would visit downtown bars on game day.

“I like this a little better,” he said. “It’s more personal, and you’re not just standing around in line with people you don’t know. These are all friends and family.”

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