In The Beginning
Technically, the name THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS didn't come to be until the end of the 2005 football season, even though the tailgating by some of the members of this group started that very first pre-season game on August 24, 2002. And that very first tailgate took place in the Blue Lot. Even though this is the case, we don't consider the Blue Lot to be our original home, because even from the beginning, the plan was to be located in the Yellow Lot. It was just that the circumstances that day had us in Blue.
In the beginning, the Yellow Lot was going to be the only parking lot at Reliant Park that didn't require a parking pass. The plan was to pay cash to park on a game by game basis. After the nightmare that was experienced with the parking setup that first game, the Texans decided to do away with that idea and for future games, the Yellow Lot would require a parking pass, just as the rest of the lots did. Well, our crew never purchased a season parking pass with our season tickets since we were going to do the cash only thing. So before the next game, less than a week later, since the Texans changed everything, we had to scramble to get parking passes to the Yellow Lot if we were going to be able to just park, nevermind tailgate. The passes went fast but we were lucky enough to land a couple for the season.
The Yellow Lot
And on Friday, August 30, 2002, what would eventually become THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS would tailgate in the Yellow Lot for the very first time, and we have been there ever since. To our surprise, when we entered the Yellow Lot that very first time, the parking attendants were directing us to park on the grass area. The Yellow Lot is the only parking lot at Reliant Park where there is such a grass area to park on and tailgate. So instead of partying on the hot asphalt like we did the week before, we had grass under our feet and thought it was the coolest thing ever. And we still do. There has only been 2 times since that we did not park on the grass. Once was a cold, rainy day in 2002 when we set up on the concrete just in front of the grass. The other was the pre-season opener in 2003 when they didn't allow anyone on the grass. I think an uproar by the fans lighting up customer service phone lines that next week may have had some affect because we were back on the grass the next game and have been there ever since.
For that first tailgate in the Yellow Lot on August 30, 2002, we didn't even have a canopy. And from the next tailgate on, we were a one canopy outfit for quite a while. You could recognize us by the 2 large wooden Texans bull logos that would hang from a chain across the front of the canopy with letters, painted in Texans colors, that spelled out TEXANS that hung on the chain between the logos. And you can still find that setup to this day. Some members in the early days used to have to park in the Orange Lot and walk over, past the Astrodome, past Reliant Stadium, past the practice bubble, to get to us in the Yellow Lot. Nowadays, we're a 4 canopy group and the core members all have Yellow Lot passes.
What's in a Name
No one knows what took so long, but towards the latter half of the 2005 season, talk began of what to call our tailgating group. We would be finishing up our 4th season and we didn't have a name yet. A couple of the names being thrown around were "Sit n Bull Tailgaters", and "The Bull Sitters". An executive decision was made to go with THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS because when people were asked what they thought of that name they would say, "that's bull!" So the name THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS was adopted and on Saturday, August 12, 2006, we tailgated for the first time under the banner of THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS.
Our tailgating group is relatively small and we keep things fairly simple. With some of the massive productions put on by some of the larger groups, some with corporate backing and such, THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS are just out there to have a good time. To us, time is of the essence, because from the time we set up camp until it's time to make the walk to the stadium, that only gives us a little over 3 hours to tailgate before the game. And we're there to relax and have fun, not work.
Our greatest claim to fame thus far, is being 1st runner-up in the HEB Tailgater of the Game contest on Thursday, December 13, 2007. This contest really isn't about who the best tailgaters are, rather who can doll up their camp with the most sponsor signage. And then it's only if the sponsors are in your lot that day. So if the sponsors are in the Orange Lot that day, every tailgater in the Yellow, Blue, Red, Green, Maroon and Purple Lots are not in the contest. Pretty cheesey way to go about it, especially when it's all about signage and not so much tailgating, but we were given an opportunity to partake despite not having any sponsor signage up in our camp. In the end, that's what kept us from winning because as anyone there that day would tell you, THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS put together one hell of a show considering we had absolutely no products, no signage, no anything that had to do with the sponsors of the contest. We, without a doubt, had more energy and creativeness than the group that was chosen over us, who did have all the sponsor banners displayed everywhere and were even backed up with corporate backing. The little guy doesn't stand a chance in this contest. But, we were happy with the opportunity to participate and had a tremendous amount of fun doing so.
More fame for us if you count the television appearances. At least 2 times, what would become THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS were on the local news. Both times were on ABC 13 locally. The first time was on September 22, 2002. The news crew came by and simply filmed us tailgating, and we made the cut. The 2nd time was a rainy day slopfest on September, 21, 2003, where they actually interviewed a couple of our members, and that made the airwaves with our names and all.
THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS do have a tradition or two that has developed over the years. One of our first traditions came about when someone left their worn out canopy in the parking lot. They didn't bother to fold it up or throw it in a dumpster, they just packed up their stuff and left the canopy sitting there. From a distance it looked like a good canopy. We noticed it and went over to check it out and it was indeed broken. So we decided to make sure there was no doubt for others that it was broken and commenced to breaking it into dozens of pieces. That started a tradition of giving people's broken canopies what we call, a proper burial. If your canopy has seen it's last day, bring it to THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS and we'll properly dispose of it for you. We've even had to take down a couple of our own.
Another tradition is being the very last ones to leave the Yellow Lot after the game. This doesn't happen EVERY time, but most of the time, the last car you'll see in the Yellow Lot after everyone has left, will belong to a THAT'S BULL TAILGATER. If we can't be the last in the whole Yellow Lot, we'll try to at least be the last on the grass area. But if it's the last game of the season, we will make every effort to be the last tailgaters to leave for the season.
When tailgating at a football game, it goes without saying that there will be food, and there will be BEER! There are several ways tailgating groups deal with their alcohol, from shotguns to shots, from mixed drink carousels to beer funnels, from jello to strawberries. Not to be left out, in 2008, THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS came up with their unique spin on the alcohol games. We call it the "Beer Olympics". This is where we conduct a blind taste test every game of all kinds of domestic, imported and/or specialty beers, micro-brews and such, and rate them thus determining the THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS "Beer of the Game". And at the end of the season, we take the top five rated Beer of the Game winners and have our "BEER OF THE YEAR" contest. That first season we taste-tested 47 different beers. 61 beers are tasted the following season.
In early 2007, shortly after the '06 football season, THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS went on-line. This website was created in February 2007 mainly to show off pictures of our adventures during the football season. It has grown little by little since then, and on July 15, 2007, the address for this website became thatsbulltailgaters.net. There's an interactive forum here where our members, or anyone for that matter, can shoot the bull when we're not tailgating. You can get game previews and reviews. Our photo gallery is probably the most popular stop. It contains pictures taken at our tailgates, and if you're not careful, you might find yourself on YouTube. We even take pictures of the food. You can find schedules and game stats and play-by-play to every single game the Texans have ever played. Find the current standings of the AFC South division and a link to the entire NFL standings. Find out the weather conditions for the upcoming game and tailgate and whether the roof will be open or closed. You can pinpoint the location of THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS when the Texans are home, and you can find out who else tailgates in the Yellow Lot. All this and more can be done at this here little ol website.
On July 4, 2009, THAT'S BULL TAILGATERS joined the popular social network site, FACEBOOK, in hopes of reaching out and connecting with more fans of tailgating, more fans of the Texans, more fans of football, and more fans of beer.
So that's a brief history of how we came about and what we do.