Early morning workouts, marching drills, and consistent practice are not just for the players on the field. This commitment to the band creates a bond between every member, and that bond still holds strong after graduation.
In 2002, a small group of former Tiger Band members started tailgating near the Indian Mounds on LSU's campus in order to find a way to connect to band alumni scattered across the nation. What started as a small gathering with 30 members and one tent has blossomed into a 100 person party equipped with all the tailgating essentials.
The Kroux de Spanky, as they like to be called, offers its members a chance to enjoy their favorite team while relaxing with their closest friends.
"We just wanted to find a way to communicate with all the former band members. It all just started with a couple of band members who graduated in '02 and wanted to find a way to keep up with each other since we didn't see each other in school anymore," Brandon Powell, one of the founding members and nicknamed "Spanky," said.
When the Kroux started tailgating three years ago, they had only a barbeque pit and a tent to mark their spot. Now, however, they have generators, a big screen television, and lights so they can party well into the night.
"In just a few years, it has really evolved into a big deal," Spanky said.
The Kroux consists mostly of Tiger Band alumni, but also has friends and family who just share their love for LSU football. The age of the tailgaters ranges from 15 to 67, but everybody still knows how to party.
"The purpose of all this is to drink, eat, listen to music, and enjoy Tiger football," Spanky said.
Many of the Kroux's tailgaters are parents of the former band members who just want to share in the experience with their sons and daughters.
"It's amazing to see a bunch of people pull this thing together and turn out a lot of food and a lot of fun for everybody. This is something parents can do with their kids," Spanky said.
Spanky and his friends are on LSU's campus every Saturday. They follow tailgating as strictly as most people go to church.
"It has almost become like a religion to us," Spanky said.
For their patrons, the Kroux offers a variety of food. They have all the traditional Louisiana foods, such as gumbo and jambalaya, but they also cook ribeyes, sausages, and even alligator omelets.
"It's always a surprise because we never know what we're going to have," Spanky said.
For their cooking and hospitality, the Kroux was named Tiger Tailgaters of the Week last year during the Troy State game.
With members spread as far as Iowa and Nebraska, the Kroux looked for way to be able to communicate with all of its members, and started their own website and message board.
Krouxdespanky.com gives the former band members a chance to read about scheduled events, recipe ideas, and has links to pictures. They also have a message board where members can sound off and discuss whatever is on their minds.
"Its just good people having a good time with each other," Spanky said.
When the Tigers hit the road to play an away game, the Kroux is usually right behind them. They try to make an appearance at every game LSU plays, whether in Baton Rouge or not.
"Usually the older members stay behind, but the younger guys always head out to road games," Spanky said.
Tailgating for LSU games is not the only method the Kroux has for staying in touch. When football season is over, Spanky and his friends host barbeques and cookouts so when next season rolls around, they will not have missed a beat.
The Kroux keeps a relaxed atmosphere, making sure they members have a good time and enjoy each other's company. They do not concern themselves with any rituals or traditions, but rather just want everyone to have fun.
"It may look like we know what we're doing, but we absolutely do not," Spanky said, "and that's the best type of tailgating around."
Kroux de Spanky
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