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Wendy Reuer, Published September 09 2012

Fans bring the backyard to the parking lot with tailgating games

A mélange of open grills along the Fargodome parking lots outside a home Bison game give tailgaters a scrumptious spectrum of eats and drinks.

Once game-goers indulge in all the tailgating treats they can take in, there is usually plenty of time left before the main event. To fill that void, and give tailgaters a way to work off an impending food coma, nearly every slot that has a grill has a game.

Senior Associate Athletic Director Troy Goergen said popular tailgating games are generally simple backyard games.

“So there’s a natural correlation between what you would play at an average family reunion or get-together and what you play at tailgating,” Goergen said.

A pass through tailgating territory shows traditional games such as ladder golf, catch, beanbag toss and karaoke round the list as the top choices of tailgating games for Bison fans.

Ladder golf

NDSU alumni Darren Neff and Sam Wilke said ladder golf has many names and a number of variations.

A game seen by passers-by is generally noted by the two “ladder-looking” rungs. A player tosses a ring, a rope or other object onto the ladder and hopes to score based on the rung it lands. The closer a player gets to the highest-point rung, the higher the score climbs.

“It’s kind of like horseshoes, but it’s not,” Neff said.

Wilke said each rung is a different point, and tailgaters score their own games differently. The bottom may be three points, while the top is one point or vice versa, he said.

Neff said their team plays to 15 to find a winner.

“It’s just a part of tailgating,” Wilke said. “It’s good fun.”


Before the green and gold take the turf, a game of catch can be seen among young and old throughout the tailgating scene. While some toss a pigskin back and forth, others make do with plain rubber or foam balls. Regardless of age, sex or talent, it’s a favorite time-passer for tailgaters.

Beanbag toss

This game isn’t hard, but it adds a degree of difficulty to the average game of catch. The usually wood targets are littered throughout the tailgating area, with points given for landing inside the target or close to it.

At Sept. 1’s first Bison home game, a set of Lidgerwood, N.D., teachers squared off against former students in a heated battle of beanbag toss. While the students were the veteran players of the game, it was the teachers who won out.


While a number of tailgating stands have long included a small karaoke setup, Thunder Alley, on the west side of the Fargodome, takes the sing-along to another level with a professional setup from West Fargo’s Divas and Rockstars.

At the first home game, the West Fargo bar hosted karaoke at Thunder Alley’s main stage.

At the Sept. 22 game, the band Fat Daddies will be taking over the stage.

The Thunder Alley midway was christened this year with a new paved lot of 1,000 parking spots, a stage with a DJ, food and clothing vendors and kids’ game area.

Goergen said the debut of Thunder Alley has been well received.

“It’s definitely going to catch on as we go on throughout the year,” Goergen said. “I think it will only get bigger, so we’ll be adding more as the year goes on.”

Goergen said Games Galore Kid Zone at Thunder Alley was a hit with the kiddos and will likely become a fast favorite of tailgating young.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530