LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)
Tailgate. The nationwide football tradition that's goes strong right here in southwest Louisiana.
"It's one of the first things I did when I came out here 16 years ago and I haven't stopped" explained McNeese Football fan, Eric Zartler.
As he prepared for the first home game of the season, Zartler says tailgating is rooted deeply in the culture of southwest Louisiana.
"They say Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall" Zartler said. "Here in SWLA, its Winter, Spring, Summer and Football".
Hundreds others who gathered outside of Cowboy stadium on Saturday agree.
"It's just a great atmosphere" said fan Jason Hebert. "Kids come out and play, we come out and cook some good food and just have a great time" Hebert added.
Even those who are experiencing their first McNeese tailgate said it's something truly special.
"We're grilling and chilling and we're so excited about the McNeese Cowboys!" yelled Shelley Johnson, a first time tailgater with the Visitor's Bureau.
Grilling! Another southwest Louisiana staple that's overflowing at the tailgate.
"We're cooking Jambalaya for about 120 people and we're also doing a corn muck-shu" explained Hebert.
Not to be surpassed by the smell of sautéed onions and barbecued meat, McNeese pride came in all forms, from watches and arm bands, to earrings and braces!