We had a great time at the Tailgate at the Temple VA campus last Saturday.  The weather was picture perfect and the VA staff did a great job of putting together an excellent tailgate party.  There was a jazz band, ponies, a DJ, a raffle, fishing at the lake we were next to, and free massages (I'm not making that up).  So hat's off to Earl Waller, Latoya Skinner, Reggie Hardy and Quentin Kimble.  They are already talking about ways to make the tailgate bigger and better next year.  Here are a few notes on last Saturday:


1.  We needed each and every volunteer who came out.  I didn't count noses but I think there were about 20 of us.  A special shout out to Mark Morales and his crew, and Roger Koehler and his crew for making the drive up and back from Houston for the day.  I have done that before and it makes for a long (and rewarding) day.  And also to Ray Condron for hauling the TGWAH trailer up and back to Galveston - that is a long haul. 

2. The VA estimated we had a total of about 500 people attend this tailgate.  We served 600 meals and the food was all gone so it worked out.  To my surprise, most of the crowd seemed to make a beeline to the brisket meal.  Not that there is anything wrong with brisket (or chicken) but we usually see the steaks run out first.  But this time the steaks were the last meat entre left for some reason. 

3. Due to the very generous donations of Goya Foods, Arlan's Market, Mark Morales and others, we only spent $1,401.09 on the 600 meals served.  That is only $2.33 per meal out of pocket which is well below what we expected.  Goya donated beans for all 600 meals plus seasonings and olive oil, Arlan's made Mark a sweet deal on the 12 ounce ribeyes he grilled, and then Mark absorbed the cost of his entire 200 steak meals, which wasn't cheap.  So a big thank you to our great supporters and volunteers. 

4. Devin Bily smoked all 133 pounds of the brisket in advance which turned out great.  Roger and his friends trimmed and seasoned the brisket and worked out the transport for it.  So be sure you make a trip to the Backyard Grill in Cypress to show our thanks for Devin's generous help once again. 

5.  We had to replace the tires on the TGWAH cooking trailer (how did they last this long?) before making the trip to Temple, which cost about $200.  As mentioned above, we only spent $1,401 out of pocket on this tailgate for food, charcoal, clamshells, etc.  This leaves us $3,281.81 in the bank which is the healthiest we have been in a good while.  Before the recent donations came in, we were wondering if it was time to roll up TGWAH - it has been a great run since 2009.  But as long as we have volunteers and supporters and funding, I think we will ride this wave as far as it will go.  So along those lines- 

6. We are scheduled to take a tailgate party to Camp Hope in Houston on Veterans Day, Saturday November 11th.  Camp Hope serves veterans dealing with combat related ptsd, as well as their families.  The plan is to serve 150 steak meals for lunch that day.  If anyone has a connection for us to get 150 quality steaks at a good price, please let us know.  If we could pick any cut of meat, we would probably pick a large cut of boneless ribeye.  We will also need people to bake potatoes at home and bring them to Camp Hope and other help.  I'll send a separate email with details later. 

So thank you all for what you do.  We are going to call the Temple Tailgate a success, and now start to plan the trip to Camp Hope.


Ralph Wissel