Tailgating Traditions at the Mule Stable Get an Early Start


Photo by Meah Copeland

Kurt Sunderman flattens the burgers with two spatulas as he makes stack burgers. “I’ve had such a great time doing this,” Sunderman said. “I’ve met life-long friends and all these people are now my extended, and it’s just a lot of fun.”

  Kurt Sunderman, the father of right guard Dan Sunderman, has been tailgating throughout his entire life. On game days, Sunderman gets to his parking spot by 8:00 a.m. to start celebrating early.

  His crew always makes food during the celebration. They have cooked pizza, stack burgers, breakfast and barbeque. 

  “I think it’s important just to show support for the school — having a good time and meeting great people,” Sunderman said. “I’ve met life-long friends doing this, so that’s the best part.”

Devine Carter, the father of linebacker Tommy Carter, helps out with cooking the food. He grills hamburger buns, then puts them in the warmer to keep them hot and ready. (Photo by Meah Copeland)

Sunderman said everybody chips in to help, and they have different cooks depending on what they have.  

  Assistant Athletic Director Jeff Mason is tasked with putting the revenue together like the sponsors, alumni and advertising. 

  “I think most people do tailgating because of the atmosphere and people getting together for a game,” Mason said. “At tailgating, it would be a time to socialize whereas the game you focused on what’s happening. It’s a combination of both for the game days.”

  Mason said it’s always been a fun experience for game day, and he is lucky to have the city, school and other partners to help get ready for game days. 

  Redshirt sophomore Dan Sunderman plays for the Mules football team as part of the offense line. He said growing up, his family always enjoyed tailgating and spending time outside. Having his father go to away games is special to him.

  “My dad drops everything every weekend for three months a year to come to watch me play, and I cherish that because not everyone gets that love and support from their family,” Dan Sunderman said.