Hundreds of eager fans filled the parking lots of the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl to support the return of football to CSU-Pueblo by grilling hot dogs, shish kebobs and anything else you could imagine and playing traditional tailgating games like the corn toss.
Attendance wasn’t strictly students either, as a large showing of alumni arrived to attend the official alumni tailgate party hosted by the CSU-Pueblo alumni association.
Starting at 4 p.m., two hours before the first official Thunderwolves game, the tailgate party had a $2 cover, which paid for beer, food and a chance to speak to alumni of the university that remember the thrill of college football and being a part of the team.
Director of Alumni Relations Christy Wulf was more than pleased with the turn-out, which surpassed the 200 person expectation limit.
“We’ve had a lot of really good alumni support for this,” Wulf said. “A lot of people showed up and came out to enjoy a rev-up pep rally.”
The proceeds went to the alumni association, which will use the money to help provide scholarships for students and help with the costs that have developed due to the increase in student enrollment, said Chelsea Wright, president of the CSU-Pueblo alumni association.
And things can only get better since reserve seating has been sold out. Tickets are now only available at the gate, Wulf said.
“There’s been a phenomenal showing of support for football, not just from CSU-Pueblo, but from the surrounding community as well,” Wulf said.
Ken Crowell, an officer on the alumni board, was in attendance and shared these optimistic words that sum up the feeling that was all but tangible in the air.
“I would have never thought that I would see football again on this campus. Thanks to the DeRoses, though, we got it back,” Crowell said. “It’s going to put CSU-Pueblo back on the map and give us what we’ve needed for a long time.”
The Alumni Association plans to host a tailgate party for every Thunderwolves game at CSU-Pueblo.