This fall Mainstreet Daily News will profile a group of Gator fans tailgating for each UF home game, starting this weekend’s season-opener against Florida Atlantic University. These fans will claim the honor of Mainstreet’s TailGators of the Week.
Have someone you would like to nominate? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, on to the inaugural TailGators of the Week:
Jimmy and Laura Broach from Mt. Pleasant, S.C., with their son Jay, parents Jim and Carol Broach, friend Julia Galbally, and Paul Dechen from Orlando.
How did you become a Gator fan?
“This is our first Gator game,” Jimmy said. “We traveled here Thursday and our daughter (Madison) is a freshman at UF.”
“We are brand new,” Laura said. “Our daughter chose to go here for broadcast journalism. We’ve never been to any games or events here.”
When was your first Gator game?
For the Broach family, this is their first game. But for Dechen, whose daughter Lily is roommates with the Broach’s daughter, Madison, he has been a steady fan for 40 years and a season ticket holder for 30 years.
What are your favorite Gator memories?
Dechen has seen plenty of amazing moments over the past four decades.
“The game in 2006 against South Carolina where we blocked the field goal attempt that took us to the SEC Championship,” Dechen said. “And then when we beat Florida State in 1997 alternating (Doug) Johnson and Noah Brindise at quarterback every play. Had a great time during the (Tim) Tebow era and I’ve been to all the UF championship games.”
Do you have special items or rituals you have for game day?
Jimmy, a The Citadel University alumnus, redid his covered tailgating trailer from the Bulldogs’ colors to UF’s orange and blue, featuring wrapped pictures of past Gator highlights that includes former UF greats Steve Spurrier, Emmitt Smith, Tim Tebow and Danny Wuerffel.
“I redid my cooking trailer, but I still fly my Citadel flag,” Jimmy said, pointing up to his flag pole that features the UF flag on top with The Citadel flag just below.
Laura said the family will return for every home game this season and will keep their tailgating trailer at a storage unit in Gainesville.
“I’m excited,” she said. “I know nothing about (UF football), but I’m taking it all in.”