Tailgaters perfectly exemplify what ‘Nebraska Nice’ is all about

Produced by Zach Penrice, NewsNetNebraska


Tailgating before a Husker football game is a tradition as old as the game itself. Thousands of eager fans arrive hours before kickoff every week just to get an early morning taste of Nebraska game day.

One family, however, doesn’t look for the closest spot to the stadium. Instead, they’ve found their own secluded tailgate spot, that’s been their home away from home for the past 20 years.

“We started in bars back around 1978, and then decided to have our own thing, so we started that in the mid-90s,” Husker fan Weldon Zeph said.

Zeph, his wife and three other couples meet in the Nebraska Administration parking lot on Q Street in front of the Alexander Building. The older couples have lived up to the Nebraska tradition of sticking together in all kinds of weather for their dear old Nebraska U.

“I remember one game when it was snowing so bad they had to scrape the snow off the field,” tailgater Bonnie Polzin said. “And there was one game when it was so cold, but (Alex) Henry kicked a long field goal to win the game. There’s been a lot of memories, but we’re still here every week.”

Tailgating is not unique to Nebraska. You can find a tailgate outside of any college football game in America, and most sporting events across the globe. But these tailgaters, the Lincoln natives who have barely missed a game since the 1970s, show exactly what makes a Husker football tailgate different.

“It’s just a good time with good friends and family,” Husker fan Sheri Wintz said. “We have that ‘Nebraska Nice’ where we welcome everyone, even opposing fans, with open arms, which you don’t get a lot of places.”

And it’s that ‘Nebraska Nice’idea that is spreading. The group of tailgaters was in Eugene, Oregon in early September for the Nebraska versus Oregon game and said they’ve never been treated more nicely at a road game. Maybe some of that ‘Nebraska Nice’ rubbed off on the Ducks when they were in Lincoln in 2016.

This small group of tailgaters perfectly represents what a Husker game day experience can be. It can be crazy and crowded, but the group has found their own secluded space. Next time you’re near the Alexander building, look for the red and black Nebraska tent. Odds are, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

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