This fall Mainstreet Daily News will profile a group of Gator fans tailgating for each UF home game. These fans will claim the honor of Mainstreet’s TailGators of the Week.
Gainesville was buzzing with excitement as No. 11 UF hosted top-ranked Alabama Saturday. Both teams entered the contest 2-0 with the Gators winning their home-opener 35-14 over Florida Atlantic on Sept. 4 and defeating South Florida 42-20 on the road last Saturday.
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TailGators of the Week 2 vs. Alabama:
Aaron and Angie Lesher of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
How did you become a Gator fan?
“We’ve been coming for five years now,” Aaron said, adding both he and his wife are Rutgers University alumni. ““We have two daughters that are both attending right now.”
The oldest daughter is a fifth-year senior who is a computer science engineer who will graduate in December and the other daughter is a junior who is a biomedical engineering major.
What are your favorite Gator memories?
“For me personally, I get chills with the student involvement,” Angie said. “Everything from the marching band, the flag people, the cheerleaders, the chants, the stadium energy, the positive attitude, and supporting the military.”
“And the freedom, baby,” Aaron added.
The Leschers both agreed that this year’s season-opener against Florida Atlantic was their most memorable game.
“We played a nobody, but just the energy and the love of America it represented,” Angie said. “It was unbelievable.”
With COVID limiting fan attendance during the 2020 college football season, the Leschers said missing games last year was difficult.
Do you have special items or rituals you have for game day?
With music blaring from a set of speakers inside the rear doors, the Leshers have transformed an old van into their Gator tailgating vehicle.
“It’s called ‘midlife crisis’,” Angie joked.
Aaron said his daughter wanted to take a trip across America and he said she wasn’t going in her beat-up old car.
“So let’s get something that travels,” he said. “It has running water, a bathroom. So we took a trip in it and then I kind of usurped it.”