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Tailgating at Florida-Miami game has a flavorful rivalry

By Julie McCombs, Photographer
Published on Saturday, September 7, 2013

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Albert and Alberta are the University of Florida mascots.

Albert and Alberta are the University of Florida mascots.



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Gator Gumbo is a favorite of University of Miami fans when tailgating before their game with rival University of Florida.

Gator Gumbo is a favorite of University of Miami fans when tailgating before their game with rival University of Florida.

The Florida Gators have a long and storied 106-year football history, that includes eight SEC championships, three national titles, and three Heisman winning quarterbacks. Their fans are loyal and traditions deep.

The Gator fans line up their tents and RVs like most tailgaters. Gator fans are camped out on the Plaza of the Americas, the North Lawn and along University Avenue.

The tailgaters fire up the grill and cook up most traditional foods. Wings, ribs, and alligator are most popular. Yes, alligator. I was shocked to find out that some of the fans eat their mascot before the game!

Gator fans celebrate the anticipation of the game with corn hole, a few toss around an orange and blue football. Others are engaged in the Two Bits Chant. This tradition will continue in The Swamp, the college section in the stadium, once the game begins.

The chant was named after George “Mr. Two Bits” Edmondson Jr. that rallied the crowd for decades before the game. Now the mascots Albert and Alberta take on the task. The Gator mascot, Albert, was introduced during the 1970s and in 1986 was joined by Alberta.

The only similarities between the Florida Gators and the University of Miami atmosphere are the weather. Walking through the Hurricane tailgaters is like walking through a dance club at South Beach. Dancing, music, and a younger crowd waving their hands in the air in the shape of a U greet you everywhere you turn.

Another favorite, which deems worthy with their opponent, is Gator Gumbo. I can understand this team eating a batch as they gear up to play the Gators.

The Hurricanes have had several tight rule restrictions on alcohol and a lot of parking issues that have landed them on the bottom of several favorite places tailgate lists. This doesn’t stop the fans and has sparked some new traditions.

Recently, before Miami's first home game, Al Golden decided to mix up things a little bit by inviting fans to come walk the Hurricanes into the stadium. This instant hit with fans allowed them to witness the team, cheerleaders, and the “Band of the Hour” form a parade from the bus to the stadium. This happens a couple of hours before the players run through the large helmet and smoke on the field, but the energy seem to stay with the fans, creating an exciting new tradition to be enjoyed by generations to come.

For the Gator Gumbo recipe, visit http://canestailgating.com/.

 

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