Colorado State Ag Day offers one of several unique tailgating experiences

It’s not often that a race between cockroaches, with their fear inducing antenna and exoskeletons, gets lumped in the same event as a mouth-watering feast.

It’s even rarer that both activities are held in the parking lot before a football game, but such is the case for the 31st annual Ag Day celebration. It’s a chance for students to participate in one form of alternative tailgating or another — from stuffing your face, to watching a cockroach race set up by the Gillette Entomology Club.

Ag Day offers a barbecue meal of beef, pork, lamb, beans, wheat and dairy products, green salad, watermelon and drinks.

“Everything served is produced in Colorado,” said Coleman Cornelius, director of communications for the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Ag Day is very much a reflection of the ‘locavore’ trend in which many of us want to eat locally grown food and know where our food is coming from.”

Since 2000, Ag Day ticket sales have raised more than $250,000 and funded about 150 scholarships for students in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Twenty students have received those scholarships this year, including graduate student Jennifer LaTour, who is studying agricultural extension education.

“We have a lot of people that are involved in agriculture around here,” LaTour said. “I think it’s a great way to give back to the community as well as the school.”

Stormy Havens, a junior equine science major, also received the $2,000 Ag Day Scholarship this year.

“Growing up living on a farm I have endured the agriculture lifestyle,” Havens said. “I think that it is extremely important to share that heritage with everyone.”

Freshman agricultural business major Patrick Halde also said Ag Day offered a good substitute for the traditional party culture of tailgating.

“It’s giving you the opportunity to mingle with business professionals and other industry leaders,” Halde said.

LaTour, Havens, Halde and others will be volunteering at Ag Day — setting up, serving food and beverages, and cleaning up after the event.

Other students at the game will be participating in unique versions of tailgating as well.

Senior biology major Cole Nelson and friends created a hot tub in a truck bed for the first home game and plan on doing it again — weather permitting, of course.

“We used a tarp in the bed of the truck so it wouldn’t leak,” Nelson said. “We got lots of hoots and hollers, we had a lot of fun.”

Civil engineering major Alex Adkisson drove a bus back from Las Vegas and converted it into a tailgating vehicle. He plans to add a bathroom, sleeping area, kitchen, surround sound system, solar panels and roof top deck.

“We also built another tailgater that is done called ‘The Cube’ that we take when we need a smaller, traveling tailgating machine,” Adkisson said.

The central part of Ag Day is the sumptuous feast, where attendees traditionally sit on straw bales under the Aggie “A.”

However, other activities abound, including live music provided by Fort Collins band Better Than Bacon, farm-themed fun for kids, a visit from the CSU Marching Band and student organization displays.

Cornelius said the most popular display is often the “cockroach race” set up by the Gillette Entomology Club.

Several administration officials will give remarks at Ag Day, including CSU President Tony Frank, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences Craig Beyrouty and Athletic Director Jack Graham.

Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed a proclamation designating Sept. 22 as CSU Ag Day.

“It’s a really good reminder that CSU started out as an agricultural school and many people are proud of that,” Cornelius said. “I would love to see more CSU students come to Ag Day for a great meal before the game and to appreciate the university’s roots.”

For more information, students are encouraged to visit www.csuagday.com or call (970)-491-6497.