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Tailgating, UCLA Style: Passing the Time

You’ve gotten to the game almost a half a day early, so you might want to know what your options are until game time.

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Ok, I know some of you are probably not looking for anything new to do while you tailgate. You have your food, your beverages, and your chair, and that’s all you need.

But some of us get a little more antsy and need some options for the six-hour lead up to game time. Here are some packable options and, of course, things to do on-site that will keep you busy until kickoff.

Let’s start with the obvious—the most common game I see played on the golf course and Lot H is always cornhole. My favorite set up is this one, not just for it’s appearance, but also for the fact that it’s getting 4.5 stars on Amazon after 33 reviews. It comes with bean bags and states that it is made from furniture quality wood with legs that fold under for storage. If you have a set but you need new bean bags, you can get those online as well (this set has all eight. I found other sets that only come with four, so you’d wind up spending a fortune on bean bags to outfit two teams). You can also get a bag to carry your game, and there are options for tailgating size and regulation size, depending on what you own. There are several options for this game out there, so be sure you read reviews. I saw some sets that fell apart after one use or didn’t come with bean bags.

Another popular option is the ladder toss game. This one is getting 4 stars after 124 reviews on Amazon, and is made from steel, not cheap PVC. It folds up for easy storage and transportation, and is easy enough for kids to play.

The ladder toss’s cooler cousin is this 3-in-1 game set, which is a ladder toss, but also a target toss and disc toss game set. It, too, folds up, but, obviously, has more options for game playing. It, too, is getting excellent reviews on Amazon, but the only drawback for this one (and the ladder toss) is that there is only one choice for colors.

I feel like you could make any of these games yourself, but there’s no way I’m getting out there in the heat right now to make anything for anybody. However, if you’re into that sort of thing, here is an instructional video from W. Walker Co. on how to make your own cornhole boards:

One other game I found that just looked like fun was this set of giant yard dice. You could play a massive game of Yahtzee or the biggest round of bunco you’ve ever seen in your life. Whatever you do with these, you’ll feel like Jack the Beanstalk in the Giant’s castle.

If you’ve exhausted your gaming options and you want to explore, here are some options on site at the Rose Bowl:

  • The Lot H Fan Zone is good for entertainment ranging from games to free food. The student store is there so you can get some shopping done and, if you’re there at the right time, you can also watch the team walk in. There are always a ton of booths with giveaways and contests, and here is where pregame autograph signings will take place if special guests are on hand at any particular game (both Cade McNown and Jonathan Ogden made appearances last year). There is usually some kind of obstacle course or bounce house for kids, and a ton of food options to choose from. If you opt for the Ralphs Pre-Game Tailgate tent, it is located here.
  • If you just want to get out of the heat for a few minutes, it’ll cost you $5.00 but it will be money well spent. You can go into the golf course clubhouse and watch TV for a minute, grab a snack (your $5 is good toward a purchase in the bar for food or drinks), or use their clean restrooms. The restroom thing is enough for me. The opposing team usually has their pregame event on the patio, but that doesn’t restrict Bruin fans from going in and using the facilities. I’ve also gone in without paying for my daughter, so depending on who’s working the door, kids may be free.
  • 90 minutes prior to game time, the stadium gates will open, so you can head in and check out your food options and even more fan gear booths. Just beware of the cannon that will fire 30 minutes prior to kickoff—it’s just a reminder to fans to get butts in seats!

Whatever you choose to do, your day will no doubt be amazing as long as it ends with watching football.

36 days until kick off.

Go Bruins!