Tailgate party is becoming a tradition for Bruin fans

By Pat Sunderland

From pancakes to lamb fajitas to barbecue, the Cedaredge FFA Chapter knows how to turn out huge quantities of tasty food. The students enhanced Homecoming festivities with a tailgate party featuring lamb and beef from Homestead Meats, slowroasted pork, Mountain Fresh corn, apples from Fritchman orchards, beans, dinner rolls and ice cream. Large canopies provided by the Delta County Livestock Association were erected on the north side of the football field; beneath were tables and sawhorses borrowed from the Delta County Fairgrounds. Cropworx provided the straw and hay bales to add western flair of the "Taste of Agriculture" tailgate party.

Les Mergelman generously furnished cast iron pots and pans, as well as a charcoal grill. Ears of corn rolled off the cooker built by Hank Diamond.

The tailgate party typically serves between 150 and 200 -- a number that doesn't faze chapter members who served lamb fajitas at the Hotchkiss sheep dog trials and barbecue at a recent Club 20 gathering.

Katie Greenwood, now in her 10th year as FFA adviser at Cedaredge High School, and her husband Jared said CSU's Ag Day inspired them to recreate -- on a smaller scale -- a tailgate party featuring locally-grown products.

"This is at least our seventh tailgate party," Katie said as she called out tasks to chapter members. The chapter also built a float for the Homecoming parade, and shored up the canopies that had been blown down the night before. "It's been a full day!" Greenwood commented.

While FFA members were lining up for the parade in downtown Cedaredge Friday afternoon, Jared was getting the meat on the grill. This guy knows the secret to tender, flavorful meat; he's also the grill master for the barbecue sponsored annually by the Delta County Livestock Association at the Delta County Fair.

Proceeds from the tailgate party help fund trips to regional and national FFA seminars and conventions. Another fundraiser takes place during AppleFest, this one sponsored by the Cedaredge FFA Alumni to raise money for scholarships for graduating seniors. The alumni will be serving pancakes Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7-8, from 7 to 10:30 a.m. at the Masonic Hall in downtown Cedaredge.