After a season of fine-tuning the equipment that makes your tailgate sing in harmony, the last experience any tailgate host wants to deal with is taking half of the next season to get all that equipment back into working order. Like athletes, tailgate gear needs to be kept in shape in the offseason so it is ready to go once the regular season begins.
One important component for the first game of the year is having everything you need to properly tailgate. If you are missing something, gear is broken, or the equipment is strewn across the house, the first game can be a battle and a letdown when the tailgate party does not run as smoothly as envisioned.
One way to remedy missing or misplaced gear is to keep all tailgate gear in one location in the offseason. If equipment has a designated location in the offseason, it will all be at that spot when game one arrives and tailgate season emerges from its winter den. If there is a lot of gear or you constantly forget equipment, create a checklist of all your gear. Just like Santa Claus, check your list twice to make sure your tailgate can treat all the naughty and nice.
Knowing which gear is not working at its full capacity is important so that it can be replaced, if necessary, in the offseason. Do not expect the broken equipment to magically repair itself in the offseason and work next season. Unlike human athletes, rest will not heal the broken gear. Neglect only leads to a disappointing tailgating party with frozen shish kebabs and sad, empty stomachs.
If equipment needs to be replaced, the offseason is the perfect opportunity to make those purchases especially if you have a limited budget. By buying gear in the offseason, the expense can be dispersed so that the burden is not experienced all at once.
Gear that will be used next season should be thoroughly cleaned. Use the correct cleaning agents for your gear and let it dry before retiring it to the offseason. Gas grills should be tested for leaks. Rub soapy water on gas lines. Bubbles represent that there is a leak, and the line should be replaced.
Drip areas under the burners should be cleaned to eliminate unintended fires. Burners on the grill should be seated and attached properly to the grill. The ends of burner tubes should be inspected for spider nests. The smell of propane attracts spiders and unused grills are a perfect location for them to nest. Gear should be inspected for rust. Screws, nuts, and bolts should be tightly fastened. Handles should be secure, and vents should open and close correctly. Tailgate gear should also be checked and tested again prior to the regular season.
Tailgating is a pre-game celebration. When gear is properly maintained in the offseason, every pre-game celebration can kick off each game day right.
Source: americantailgaterassociation.org – by Jodie Blankenship