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Tailgating for high school football a well-known tradition in Winfield

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Winfield tailgating

Winfield-Elsberry football fans tailgate before the team’s season opener before Confluence Prep on Aug. 27. 

Winfield, Mo. - Late September’s air is normally heavy in Missouri, and just outside of the football field, future members of the varsity football team are throwing footballs around.

That’s something someone would likely see at every high school’s stadium.

However, at Winfield High School, where the Winfield-Elsberry co-op plays its games, there’s something people might not see much anymore at high school games: tailgating.

Pre-game festivities have been a tradition at Winfield High School for years, and Holli Seidel said that tradition has been passed down from football family to football family.

Seidel’s son, Jake Colbert, is a 2020 graduate who now plays at Illinois College.

“We’ve been tailgating since our kids were freshmen, but people have been tailgating here since long before we’ve been doing it,” said Seidel, who has been part of the Winfield tailgating tradition for six years. “(Those families) just passed the torch to us.

“This is what we do on Friday nights because we want to show our boys we support them. We’re all like family here.”

Teresa Roques has also been tailgating for six years, and said it’s a great community get-together. Roques first started to support her son, Matthew Bates, when he played for the Warriors.

Her daughter, Maddie, is currently a cheerleader.

“It’s parents getting together before the game,” she said. “We just like to talk.”

Regardless of past outcomes, parents always came out to tailgate and support their Warriors.

However, the fans in 2021 have even more of a reason to have fun during their tailgates with Winfield-Elsberry’s hot start. 

“Of course it’s more special,” Seidel said. “As parents, we would take them to practices and games.

“We used to feed them, but we don’t want them to get sick during the games now.”

Bates was attending his first tailgate since graduating in 2020. He remembered his parents’ tailgates during his playing days.

“I thought it was cool,” he said. “They were playing music and everything.

“I wasn’t embarrassed by it at all.”

One overwhelming question was asked during the tailgating. Why aren’t other schools in the area doing it?

“I think more schools should do it,” Roques said. “It’s about supporting your school.

“I’m surprised more schools don’t do it. I’m shocked.”

Bates agreed with his mother, saying schools with much larger fan bases and property could easily accomplish the task if they wanted to.

“I would think bigger schools could fill up a parking lot,” he said. “Timberland and Troy could fill up an area with parents and students.

“They’re missing out.”

Bates said he would almost certainly come to more tailgates as his work schedule allows.

“I’m sure I will,” he said. “I’ll probably start coming out to these more.”

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