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Utah tailgating brings its A game for national spotlight

Oct 28, 2023, 9:24 PM | Updated: Oct 30, 2023, 3:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — These are the kinds of Saturdays Ryan Lufkin looks forward to.

“I need a spoon,” he said as he looked over the pork he had just finished preparing from a full pig. “Our temperature was perfect.”

 He is one of the guys who runs the Utah Pig Bus, one of the more well-known tailgating spots for good food during Utah Utes home games.

(Mark Less, KSL TV)

A staple on campus

Their red bus has become a staple on the University of Utah campus for home football games.

Getting the pork just right, with all the fixings, is a big deal to him and his friends who help him put it all together.

“We always say we throw six great parties a year,” said Lufkin with a laugh. “We encourage people to make a day out of it. Come up, spend the day, eat great food, hang out with your friends. It’s not just the game, it’s like six extra holidays a year.”

This Saturday, though, almost felt like Christmas for Lufkin.

Not because of the colder temperatures, but because of the red-hot glare of ESPN College GameDay.

(Mark Less, KSL TV)

College GameDay experience

The national show picked Salt Lake City for its weekly stop on one of the most popular college football shows in the country.

“Shout out to Utah! Shout out to the Muss!” yelled Pat McAfee, one of the show hosts, to the Utah fans who had gathered for the live broadcast at President’s Circle on the University of Utah campus.

Many of those fans camped overnight to be a part of it all.

Even visiting Oregon fans were impressed with the energy of Utah fans.

“It just gets people excited about the game and just the atmosphere alone is just fantastic,” said Jim Sepulveda, an Oregon fan, who made the trip to Salt Lake City for the game.

The broadcast also put Utah in the middle of all the attention for college football this weekend.

Lufkin thinks having such a big program showcase Utah will only help with recruiting.

(Mark Less, KSL TV)

“It is such great exposure for us. Utah is kind of viewed as different kind of place, right? And we want people to understand football is such a big deal here,” said Lufkin. “The SEC is a big deal and the ACC is a big deal, and all those teams are a big deal, but we’re a big deal, too, and there is nothing more fun than College GameDay.”

It’s also why Lufkin wanted to make sure this tailgate party, with a national show broadcasting just a field goal attempt away from him, was one of his best tailgate parties ever.

“That is a masterpiece,” he said after tasting a chunk of meat. “This might be the best pig we’ve ever done.”

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Utah tailgating brings its A game for national spotlight