Nathan Grimm (On Twitter, @Nate_Grimm)

While the games may start at noon – or in next Sunday’s case, 3 p.m. – gameday starts much earlier for many Rams fans. Football tailgating has become an American pastime, an institution as steadfast as the sport itself. In St. Louis it takes on a bit of a different form from other football cities, but the fans are no less excited to get down to the Edward Jones Dome a few hours before kickoff to get the day started right.

Rams fans come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Maybe the most recognizable of these fans is Ram Man. Ram Man has been a staple before and during Rams games since the team came to St. Louis. He is as his name suggests – half ram, half man. Well, maybe more than half man. Mostly man, a little bit ram. Moving on.

Another notable tailgater is Rampage, the Rams mascot. Rampage is often found wandering around pregame parties trying to get Rams fans hyped up for the game. He’s a hit with the children.

There are plenty of other interesting people and groups to find at the tailgates. The only way to find them is to go out and be a part of the experience.

The two main areas for Rams tailgaters are the parking lot north of the Dome and the park across Broadway. The Rams official tailgate is in the park. The tailgate often has live music, games and food, and is generally more family-friendly.

North of the Dome is the closest to a true “tailgate” as you’ll find in St. Louis. With parking spread out throughout downtown, the tailgates are also spread out across the area. The lot north of the Dome captures that tailgating feel, with plenty of food and adult beverages being consumed.

For this Sunday, the Rams are holding a special season kick-off party at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Kirkwood to mingle with other fans and watch the Rams-Lions game. Rams alumni and cheerleaders will also be at the event, which is free to attend. The party starts at 11:30 a.m.

And by things, I mean food. I’m partial to chicken wings, but much like the people, the food at tailgates ranges from the standard to the extreme. In Baltimore, it’s rumored they cook raven before every game. (Why eat your own team’s mascot? Shouldn’t they be eating bengals? Or, you know, steel?) These fans prefer turkey unmentionables when the Arizona Cardinals are in town. At a tailgate, almost anything is fair game. Just so long as it’s wrapped in bacon.

Whatever you do and wherever you go, the most important part is you have fun. Sundays: they’re not just for football anymore.


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