Boo there were only 4 cookies left and they're in my car right now. I just left them in there for my kids to eat for breakfast tomorrow morning. Thanks to everyone who showed up I think everybody had a good time. Big shout out to Ranucci for making it all come together with the awesome food. None of it would happen though if you folks didn't show up. Every single one of us took a chance at one point or another and ventured out and met internet people we had never met face to face. And CarolinaHuddle.com has given so many of us the opportunity to meet new people.
so ranucci tells me this morning we have 12 racks of ribs, a few hundred wings, and 75lb. of BBQ with our name on it as well as 200 turds. throw in several gallons of slaw, 5 gallons of baked beans, and a mess of boiled peanuts, plus a gallon of lima beans, bags of chips, and cookies....well, I think a lot of toilets are going to be punished tomorrow afternoon.
this tailgate is not for Toys for Tots. We need cash donations when you show up and eat. The parking spots will cost $120 alone. Racks of ribs are $10 each, bags of wings are $4/lb or whatever, BBQ, side items, plates, napkins, forks, propane gas, drinks, ice, chips, gasoline for truck, turds have bacon, cream cheese, etc in them. You get the picture, I could go on and on with expenses however small they all add up.
At the end of the day we get one of the best caterers in Charlotte to come and bring everything and put it all together for us. He'll start prepping some of the food the day before, has probably started shopping now for it, and will get up at 4am the day of to get everything else together and drive down at 5:30am to get started. At the end of the day Ranucci isn't particularly a Panthers fan so much as he grew up out of state.
And all people have to do is show up.
He's doing it all because he likes us and is one of us. He hasn't asked for any fee or anything for this but I raised $400 for him just to get started. He's going to do all this work and not really know how much he's going to get at the end of the day. Again it's not so much about the $$ for him but I'd like to see him get compensated for doing all this for us if possible. I would like for people to donate lots of $ when they come and eat and partake because it has created a great value for you to get to eat competition quality food which will blow away anything you could buy in the stadium.
So all donations will go to him. I'm pretty sure if you called him for a catering quote and asked for ribs, chicken, pork, etc on the menu it would be probably at least $10/person but probably more like $15.
One time at a draft party I think it was Raskle came down for it. He had barely met me and skew and a few others and we decided to bar hop to another bar I knew about 10 minutes away after the draft. When Skew and I got in my car and started driving with him in the backseat, I told him, "We're not really going to another bar....we're going to a field my grandfather owns right up here and we're going to chop you up into pieces after we tie you up to the pecan tree first."
Then I sat silent after that......this was back in the day when we all were considered weird for meeting people on the internet.
Ok...no....4am....just talked to the lot operator and I told him what we needed, spaces in the middle of the lot to accommodate a truck and trailer pull behind. We are good. Will talk to him again Friday or Saturday to firm up what end of the lot we'll be in. I'll be able to communicate this by Saturday exactly what part of the lot we'll be in. He said that if I get there @6am I'll probably be the first in the lot.
We used to put shrimp tails in the back of Zod's truck at tailgates. Me and Panthro would launch eggs at opposing fans on the street. Jase shops at the Food Lion by my house. My kids remember going to Buddha's birthday party. My wife used to think I was weird for meeting internet strangers off this website at various events, and now she has many friends off this site. Go To Girl baked my daughter a cake one year for her birthday. Several members have bought cars from me at my car lot. Seems like within the first two years of being on this site I had personally met well over 100 users. I met them in Seattle, Las Vegas, talked to one on the phone in Australia when I was there.
I've gone to NASCAR races with JBro, Squirrel, Scrum, cooter, Jrockets, and others whose names escape me. Met members in Cleveland for drinks before a game, went out with Cooter and Hawk one night in Charlotte and had a whole bar convinced he was an NHL player and had many, many times out drinking with tons of different members, and have many people on here I consider a good friends and people.
After what seems like too many years we finally have another home playoff game. Time to roll out for another Huddle Tailgate and for this one we're breaking out the good china. Starting out with a few generous sponsors (thank you AviationMX, Madhatter, and smittycam) were able to get gas money together for Ranucci to show up with his big rig cooker loaded with all kinds of goodies for anybody who shows up.
Ranucci (www.ranuccis.com) has been doing tailgates for the Huddle ever since he bought his first cooker. The story goes that after buying that first cooker, he contacted the Huddle about trying out a tailgate for free. Since it was the first one he had ever done and was doing it for free, then we had nothing to lose. If he screwed it up we couldn't complain. It was a huge success.
Since that time he has operated a restaurant and earned a full wall of trophies including two top 10 Memphis nationals finishes. Just recently at the Blues, Brews, and BBQ festival here in Charlotte he won a few trophies as well. So with that said this Sunday we'll be tailgating and it's open to anyone as long as you bring some cash to donate for his services and competition quality BBQ.
Here's the rest of the details:
Time? We will start this tailgate at 6am. There will be Bojangles biscuits available til they're done. Food will be done about noon as people will be filing into the stadium shortly after that.
What food? On the menu this week is Ranuccis award winning competition quality BBQ, Ribs, smoked wings, buffalo turds, boiled peanuts, baked beans, slaw, and chips. A myriad of non alcoholic sodas and waters will be available as well. IF YOU DRINK ALCOHOL YOU HAVE TO BRING YOUR OWN.
Where? Tailgating lot is in a large open lot that borders Church, 3rd, and Tryon streets. We'll have a big cooker on the premises.
What do I bring? Since we have everything covered, we really just need CASH. It costs a lot to get this put together with parking spots, food, gas, supplies, etc. You're getting competition quality BBQ, and ribs so please don't show up with $1 bills.
Who? Probably 50 people or so, most on the website but some who aren't but are associated with us.
Most nights back then there were only 3 registered users online after 2am.
In 2007 a French jagoff hacked the website, took it over for awhile, causing Zod to lose a nights sleep and subsequently ban everyone from France from new membership...a ban that lasts to this day.
In 2006 Sports Illustrated named The Huddle the #1 Panthers fan website.
Zod printed up a few thousand business cards and we used to hand them out to people on the streets in 2004 and in the stadium to get the name out and build up business.
At the end of the day, this website was simply a small business endeavor that panned out.
Zod has been basically a small independent man starting up a website that got me into OTA's and 6 weeks of training camp being able to get the same interviews as other major media sites.
Within 3 years of starting the website, I interviewed players and asked them if they had heard of the huddle and most said they were familiar with it.
At one point that media relationship cracked and I got thrown out of a Panthers practice. The Panthers were very nice and professional about how I got kicked out as well.
Several marriages have happened as a result of this website, and yes, hot chicks do post on message boards.
Many guys have scored with women on this website.
This website gets more website traffic than any other single radio or tv station's website in this market.
Every single year this website keeps growing. This website has constantly had to upgrade capacity.
Jerry Richardson once called Zod asking exactly where the Huddle Tailgate was so he could come out and sign autographs.
Huddle members have given over $20,000 and hundreds of bikes to Panthers toys for tots drive.
Saints fan has shipped hundreds of dollars of fresh seafood to Huddle tailgate before.
At the end of the day, most posters on here are good people and many people here have either been entertained, met good friends, or had good times on this website. Now there are radio ads, TV ads, etc for the site and it was all started just by a small business minded guy who really started it all just as a way to keep up with people from his house.
maybe some others can add things to this history that they can remember.
Ok I think there's enough money to do it now...there's some other people that show up that aren't on the website I know they'll chip in....details will follow on Monday but I know Ranucci will bring his 16 ft. cooking trailer and will be cooking the good stuff. If any of you came to that playoff tailgate last time (5 yrs. ago) you know what it was like. I need to firm up some of these $ commitments though.....will PM some of you that expressed interest.