Thank you, Houston. Hello, Denver: The road to the Bing National Tailgating Championship

Our search to find the nation’s best tailgating team kicked off in Houston last Sunday. It was a parking lot battle of bean bags, brisket and bull-horns.

Houston’s own Bull’s Eye Tailgaters beat out the competition proving their mettle across four key categories: cooking, sports trivia, parking lot athletics and team spirit to take the prize. They will go on to compete in the Bing National Tailgate Championship outside Dallas/Fort Worth on February, 3rd.

The search continues. Over the next few months we will be holding regional events at the following stadiums. If you’re in the area, come check us out!

And if you can’t make it to the parking lot, check out to discover how Bing can help make better game-day decisions.

To get a first-hand report of Houston’s action and to hear what we can expect at the western regionals in Denver this Sunday, we caught up with National Tailgating Commissioner, Joe Cahn.

Joe Cahn, National Tailgating Commissioner:

Calling the first stop of the Bing National Tailgating Championship in Houston a rousing success would be an understatement. Culinary worlds collided resulting in food that was nothing short of incredible. From brisket to jalapeño sausage, oysters to pork tenderloin, I ended up- like I usually do- waddling away from the festivities satisfied.

The judges felt the same way. When one of my colleagues asked Steve McKinney (a judge and former Houston Texan) how he was doing, all he could say was: “full.” After a quick laugh, my guy followed up with, “but it was good, wasn’t it?” Steve replied with a smile and a nod.

I know the other judges had a great time as well, sampling the food and seeing the unique spirit in the parking lot at Reliant Stadium.

There was one thing that really stood out to me, though- the camaraderie between the teams. Yes, this is a competition and everyone wants to be the team to hoist the trophy that punches their ticket to the final round of the Bing National Tailgating Championship at the Super Bowl in Arlington, Texas near Dallas/Ft. Worth. But, all of the teams were rooting each other on — challenging one another to take their “A game” to an “A+ game.”

And players didn’t disappoint. I think it is best summed up from some of the email exchanges we had post-Houston.

From Jason Saldivar, the leader of the winners, the Bull’s Eye Tailgaters:

Our team was very excited and honored to be a part of this fantastic event which far exceeded our expectations. Our team truly had a great time hanging out with everyone. It was a blast.Our team would like to personally thank everyone with The Raging Bull Tailgaters, The Texan Brew Crew and The Texans Express for their support. We ALL represented Houston very well yesterday! With our (bull’s) eye squarely on Dallas now, our team will do our very best to come home with the trophy for all of us! “

From Raul Zepeda, the head of the Texans Brew Crew:

On the behalf of the Texan Brew Crew I would like to say “wow,” what a great way to showcase our tailgating atmosphere on the national stage. We had a great time hosting hundreds of fans and meeting our fellow tailgating comrades. All the teams competing are first class people and they all know how to party in the parking lot.  I personally made some great contacts and look forward to cheering on the Bull’s Eye team. Congratulations to team Bull’s Eye, go to Dallas and and bring that trophy home!”

From Glen “Sweet” Miller of the Raging Bull Tailgaters:

“It was an Awesome event, and The Raging Bulls were Pleased and Honored to be a part of it. Great getting to meet everyone and to hang out with some of Houston’s tailgating “Big Dogs,” is an honor. Best of luck to The Bull’s Eye Tailgaters on their quest to be the Best in Dallas, and best of luck and safe travels to the entire Bing National Tailgate Championship crew on the remainder of their tour.

One last thank you for all of those responsible for recognizing what a lot of us are doing in the parking lot week after week and for creating this amazing event.”

And, finally, from Hector Galvan, the main guy with the Texans Express Tailgaters:

“On behalf of the Texans Express, we all had a blast! Definitely an experience no one will forget. It was an honor to compete with the cream of the crop on Sunday, we met lots of new faces and great group of die-hard tailgaters. Everything was perfect: food, music,crowd etc; who could have asked for more? Everyone did a wonderful job, from the other teams: Bull’s Eye, Brew Crew and Raging Bull Tailgaters all the way to the staff who hosed the event. Sunday would have fallen short had it not be for the help of everyone. To the Bull’s Eye Tailgaters, you made us proud Sunday, make us champs in Dallas. Show the other cities how Houston does it! Good luck and best wishes!”

To me, that’s what makes the Bing National Tailgating Championship (and tailgating all over this great land of ours) so special. It’s not just about the food, it’s not just about the setup — it’s about that neighborhood that happens in the parking lot every weekend during football season.

We had a great start in Houston, and I’m looking forward to some Rocky Mountain hospitality and some fantastic tailgating as we make our way to Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver.

It’s time for me to break out the orange and blue — and I’ll see you down the road.

– Joe Cahn, National Commissioner of Tailgating

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