THE GAMECOCK NATION TAILGATING EVENT

USC home games always see the Gamecock Nation faithful, gathered together to share food, fun, fellowship and football. This week's game day was certainly no exception. By 7:30 am the Sheriff's lot was set upon by the leaders of this group as they began their early morning preparations. Bethelcock, SilverDolphins, Oger, uscboy, Oceangrace and others had the tents set up and the food cookin' at the crack of dawn...

Breakfast fare included shrimp and grits, eggs with sausage, biscuits, and fresh fruit. Of course, the pickled okra and Fighting Cock were prominently displayed and available for the initiation of all newcomers. There was even a centerpiece this time! A gorgeous pumpkin, hand carved with the USC Gamecock. This has become a Halloween tradition at the masterful hands of our own uscboy. Oceangrace and uscboy also had the media center up and running complete with two televisions and the satellite dish. Fans gathered to fill their plates, listen to Rooster on the radio and prime themselves for the upcoming game with the dreaded Viles from Tennessee.

Rooster's first appearance was from the top of the Williams-Brice stadium. While he was in the press box preparing for a long day of sports coverage, he did manage to listen to his show via cellphone. This week's show was particularly important to Rooster as the featured guest was none other than Vol fanatic, John Perry ... Rooster's Dad. The two men exchanged opinions, and a few barbs, as they prepared for the annual Perry bragging rights competition. Gamecock faithful are reminded that Rooster's radio broadcast can be heard each week 2 ½ hours before kickoff on WVOC 560 AM. Tune in to get the latest game day information, Rooster's predictions and a variety of on-air guests.

Shortly after the broadcast, Rooster dropped by the Nation's tailgate ... he wasn't alone! As promised, Mr. Ryan Brewer was in the house! Ryan has long since been considered the most beloved Gamecock of all-time. As #21, this stud endured himself to Gamecock fans particularly during his Outback Bowl performances. Ryan received the traditional Gamecock Nation initiation, posed for photos with the group, took pictures with individual fans and then signed autographs on a printed collage prepared by Oceangrace. Ryan is no stranger to grid iron pressure and he easily discussed the day's game with those in attendance. While Ryan is originally from Ohio, he has fallen in love with the University of South Carolina, the Gamecocks, the state and one of our own Carolina Girls whom he plans to wed in January. Ryan has started his own business in the Palmetto state and plans to live his non-college life amongst us. Ryan signed each photograph with his signature line "No Regrets". This is a phrase that has become synonymous with Ryan and often references his decision to play at the University, though it has become his mantra for living out his life. Ryan, we at the Gamecock Nation were honored to have you with us this week and sincerely hope you'll drop by again sometime. Best of luck to you and your bride-to-be.

We also had another very special guest with us this week. For those of you that were on the boards during the baseball College World Series, you may remember one Cal State fan that joined us on many occasions. His poster handle was/is Auxierre. The fans from Cal State were incredible and cheered the Gamecocks on when we weren't playing against them. Many of us were taken with their class and comraderie. Discussions often revolved around the difference between the mentality of sports fans from the West and those from the South. Gacock invited Auxierre to join us for a USC home game if he really wanted to experience true Southern rabid football frenzy at the Willie Brice. Auxierre took him up on his offer and chose the USC-UT game. Nice choice! Needless to say, the pre-game environment was all that had been promised and then some. He too, was initiated! We are consistent!

Now here's where I'll get myself in trouble and I know it. I'm sure this list is incomplete so I apologize in advance. However, the Gamecock Nation posters in attendance included Bethelcock, Oceangrace, uscboy, SilverDolphin, Oger, Yancey, gacock, Gamecockfan1969, woodencock (just one of him, really), Nacockfan, GarnetThunder, 2Cocky (and guest), Bethelcock,Jr. jaxcock, scotthood, dtmw3, Cocky2001, Lil Biddy, gamecocksfan, GAMECOCKNATION, ititaintswayin, Rooster, roosterssis, and others. Now for those of you I've left off.....I'M SORRY. I told the guys to get a sign in sheet going so I'd have a point of reference. I was extremely nervous about the game and knew I didn't fully have my wits about me. Which is, after all, not unusual!

I'd just like to say, that hanging out with this group of fans is absolutely one of the highlights of attending a USC home football game. Win or lose on the field, these fans are the absolute best, hardcore, plastic waving, rabid, diehard, obsessive/compulsive folks you could ever hope to associate yourself with. They can be found in the back corner of the Sheriff's lot each and every home game and all Gamecock fans are welcome. There is always plenty of food and beverage so just drop by and join them.

The mood after the game was a bit somber. However, the party must go on ... and it did. Hotdogs and hamburgers were thrown on the grill and folks gathered around the televisions to watch the rest of the Florida-Georgia game. There's not much point in rehashing the UT game and the final score. Speaking of re"hash"ing...these Gamecock fans immediately began planning their final football tailgate. Next week's special...barbeque...and I for one, certainly hope that is something served on the football field as well as at the tailgate! USC takes on Arkansas as Gamecocks celebrate Senior Day. You are encouraged to join us and get out there and support this 2004 Gamecock squad.

Thanks Gamecock Nation for a great time! You guys rock!

GO COCKS!

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