Our first tailgate back in 2010 was an experiment of sorts.
We were really just interested in seeing if our readers were real, actual humans and the invitation to the inaugural Eat Too, Brutus was a plea to them to find us in the RV lots prior to the hotly-anticipated Miami game.
We had some food and a couple of kegs tucked into the back of a bus. The web site picked up 382,389 page views that month, 11W's all-time busiest to that point - and getting our readers together seemed important for retention and building the culture. A couple dozen of you ended up stopping by to say hello and we shared a few laughs.
It would be the last time we threw a tailgate for just ourselves and you guys, as we have continued to do it annually - but as a vehicle that uses our reach to raise money for charities that need it. Last month Elevenwarriors.com clocked just shy of eight million page views.
That reach is a lot bigger now, and it was reflected in this year's tailgate.
This year 11W readers donated over $12,000 at the Eleven Dubgate.
Saturday over 500 of you came to the Eleven Dubgate V, donating your hard-earned cash (and credit) to benefit DownSyndrome Achieves at the door. It's money that will go toward Down Syndrome research, advocacy and education; it's one of the most underfunded and under-researched conditions in all of medicine. Once again, both the weather and the Buckeyes cooperated to put a capstone on an excellent day.
Last year your generosity funded the purchase of the first ever BioBank for DownSyndrome research, which now sits at Nationwide Childrens. This year you donated over $12,000 at our tailgate.
We want to be speechless - but we don't have that luxury: We have too many people to acknowledge and thank.
Silent Auction Winners
The handsome hardcover Script Ohio: 110 Years of the Ohio State University Marching Band book donated by TBDBITL was won by Tim Yee.
The new Taylor Made putter was won by Bob Harrison.
The Eleven Warriors hat collection was won by Ike Steinacker.
The OHIO drum cap autographed by the entire current marching band was won by Mark Weitzel. The STATE drum cap - same beautiful donors - was won by Jay Koch.
The ESPN banner signed by numerous ESPN personalities and donated by Robert Smith (yes, that Robert Smith) was won by Brian Lee.
Congratulations, winners - and thank you, donors.
Without Whom THIS WOULD BE REALLY HARD OR IMPOSSIBLE
Last week we compared attending the Dubgate with going to the Michigan/Minnesota game. A big part of the reason the Dubgate dominates is because
Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke are destroying Michigan football our sponsors complete the value proposition that comes with your donation.
|ELEVEN DUBGATE V||MICHIGAN TICKETS|
|RETAIL PRICE||$40 donation (suggested)||$75 if you're a sucker|
|BENEFITS||DownSyndrome Achieves||University of Michigan|
|BOTTOMLESS BEER TRUCK||Yes||No.|
|BATHROOM LINES||Minimal||>30 minutes to pee|
|WATCH FOOTBALL GAMES?||Multiple TV screens/games||Michigan game only|
|IS IT FUN?||It's going to be so fun.||No.|
First off, our friends at City Barbecue who for the fourth year were the Dubgate's title sponsor. They donated nearly 100 lbs of delicious brisket and pork, sauce, cornbread and staff to serve it up properly. Their generosity is a big reason why the Dubgate is able to deliver more money to the actual charity. They are beautiful people with an exceptional product - and they are wonderful to work with every year.
Kevin Hampton, the proprietor of SchmooGate and Michael Gutter helped procure our location behind the VC and worked with the proper agencies to secure the event insurance and nail down the little things: Did you notice how clean the Dubgate was, despite hundreds of beer cups and plates? Did you wait very long to pee? Did you watch, like six different football games at an outdoor tailgate? That's because of Schmoo and Gutter. They're awesome.
Steve Shoemaker from Columbus Distributing brought the beer truck and procured our liquor license. All of the Yuengling-branded swag that the hostesses dished out to everybody also came from him. "Golden God" probably isn't a strong enough compliment.
And speaking of the Eleven Dubgate Hostesses, thank you to Alisha Hanks, Katelyn Anderson, Rachel Ross, Christie Barker and Kasie Boles who not only brought a lot of energy and additional organization to our tailgate - they raised a whole bunch of money selling 11W bracelets and photos with the TBDBITL hat that all ended up in the charity jar. They also brought Joey Sexton to deejay the afternoon, and he graciously donated his time and skills.
Outfit/Good was on-site printing up Dubgate t-shirts that sent more money to DSA. We've never had fresher gear and their products are top-quality.
Courtney's Sweet Occasions donated dozens of Buckeye cupcakes. There were no survivors. We never found the boxes they came in and just assume they were eaten too.
Patrick West and Buffalo Wild Wings brought even more tasty food as kickoff drew near. The Madison Collins Stephens Agency of Newark, OH insured the Dubgate - and kicked in a nice donation to DSA for good measure.
Yes, thank you Buckeye moms and dads for swinging by. We admire and share your pride in what your boys do for Ohio State.
When 11W readers show up and turn the Dubgate into a bacony potluck, we all win.
Thank you to all of the volunteers and people behind the scenes: Nick Wax (the bourbon whisperer) Lori Shoemaker, Marc Lewis, Melanie Morgan, Kelly Morgan, Wendi Calhoun, Rob Warner, Brian Stoflinsky, David Milheim, Christine Milheim, Doug Kessler, Mark Weitzel, Dan Overmyer, Cara Cloyd, Elaine Pierce, Lito Ramirez, Jesse Kline, David DeWalt and Lynne DeWalt.
And finally, thank you to everyone who stopped by and donated. We hope you had as much fun as we did, and we also hope you found enormous value in return for your generosity.
We'll see you next fall for Eleven Dubgate VI...unless we see you again first.
[cliffhanger music] [stay tuned for details]