Photos by Hillary Ehlen
Team Makers Assistant Brandon Baumgartner is one of the many people behind the scenes who’s responsible for your tailgate going smoothly. While you’re out having fun in the West Lot, Baumgartner is busy organizing, managing and putting out the small fires that arise to ensure everyone is having a memorable tailgate. This former Division I baseball pitcher gives us a peek behind the curtain to see how NDSU’s tailgating reputation has become one of the best in the country.
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According to Baumgartner, the most common things people forget are garbage bags, cups and their reserved tailgating passes.
Have You Tried Bison Corral?
The Bison Corral is an area between Lot E and G on the south side of the tailgating lot outside of the Fargodome. Team Makers have set up tailgating space in the Corral to host parties for friends, families and businesses that want the tailgating experience without having a spot in the lot to tailgate.
The Bison Corral includes catering from SideStreet Pub and Grille, tents, tables and chairs all provided by NDSU Athletics. You can even get tickets to the game by reserving a tent for your group in the Bison Corral.
“We’ve had everything from a high school football team in there,” Team Makers Assistant Brandon Baumgartner said. “The nice thing is it’s basically for people who enjoy tailgating, and you literally don’t have to do anything. All you have to do is show up. We provide the food and get that all setup.”
Although the request deadline has passed for this season, you can still go to GoBison.com and bookmark the request page for next season.
Can you get Team Makers Executive Director Pat Simmers to grill for your group?
Brandon Baumgartner: “Unfortunately not. That’s what Simmers used to do. He used to sit in our big grill tent and grill food for everyone. Now, we have our own caterer. SideStreet Pub and Grille is our official caterer for that corral area.”
More Tailgating Spots?
NDSU Athletics was able to expand reserved tailgating this season by 279 more spots. But unfortunately, there are still the same amount of spots as last year for tailgating.
The issue that arises with fewer general admission spots is the idea that NDSU should be able to expand tailgating. It’s not that easy, said Baumgartner.
The tailgating lots around the Fargodome are owned by the city. And since it’s technically on the NDSU campus, the consumption of alcohol was voted on and passed for tailgaters.
The University owns the surrounding parking lots, such as Lot R next to the Shelly Ellig Indoor Track Facility. NDSU is a dry campus so no alcohol or tailgating is permitted. It’s out of NDSU Athletics’ hands when deciding to expand the area for tailgating.
NDSU, NDSU Athletics and law enforcement need to come to an agreement before moving forward and expanding tailgating onto campus properties.
When could you see tailgating start to expand into the other lots around campus?
Brandon Baumgartner: “My personal opinion, I think there’s going to be some progress in that area in the next few years.”
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Baumgartner suggests you get on the reserved tailgating waiting list if you aren’t already. It only takes one call to get on the list until a reserved spot becomes available.
Shutting Down 30 Minutes Until Kickoff
The tailgating lot shuts down 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
Baumgartner and NDSU Athletics recognize Bison fans would prefer to keep the party going through the game and even after the Bison win, but safety is their No. 1 priority.
“It’s a security thing because there are so many people that go into the game, and we don’t need people wandering around and digging through people’s buses,” Baumgartner said.
Do people really wander the lot after everyone’s left?
Brandon Baumgartner: “I’ve seen that before where people are trying to rifle through people’s buses who leave their stuff out while they’re inside for the game. The rule is more so a thing to help out those people that are tailgating, so that people who have the reserved spot, there won’t be people rummaging around at the same time.”