Now THIS is a Penn State Fan

September 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm 1 comment

DSC_3317 sm HummerYesterday morning, about five hours before the kickoff of the Akron game, I stepped outside my house to pick up my morning paper—just in time to see an unbelievably over-the-top, Penn State-themed Hummer pass by and head on up my street. I got only a quick glimpse, but I remember it was decked out in blue-and-white from front to back, top to bottom, with a sizable JoePa bobblehead figurine on the roof.

Before this season is over, I vowed, I’m gonna find that vehicle and get a photo of it.

Well, I didn’t have to wait too long. As it happens, I was headed out of town at game time—to Pittsburgh for a cookout at my sister’s—and I drove by the stadium on my way. It occurred to me to scan the tailgating fields for the Hummer, and sure enough, as I drove along Park Avenue Extension, I spotted it, right along the northeast edge of the stadium.

The blue-haired ventriloquist-type mannequin is new this year.

I pulled up to one of the cops who were keeping traffic from turning onto Porter Road, and asked if by any chance he would let me pull onto Porter and turn my four-way flashers on long enough to run over and get a picture of the Hummer. He thought about it, and to my shock, he said OK.

So I got a few photos, and I chatted briefly with the tailgaters who were guarding the whole Hummer operation—which, I discovered, includes not only the Hummer itself but a blue-haired mannequin, a lucky Penn State rock, and assorted other touches.

The guy turns out to have a whole Web site devoted to this project, and it’s been going on for a number of years—in fact he won the “Most Penn State Spirit” award in the Homecoming Tailgate Competition in 2003, 2004, and 2005. So you may well have seen his tailgate setup before.

DSC_3320 sm Paterno figurineOn the Web site, the guy behind the operation hints at his real identity, though as far as I can tell he doesn’t come right out and say who he is. But it doesn’t take too much Web sleuthing to figure it out: He says he is a mechanical engineering grad, was an Alumni Fellow in 2001, and is a past president of the Berks Campus Alumni Society. Looking at the list of 2001 Alumni Fellows, there were five engineering grads in that group, but only one from Berks: Paul Frankhouser ’65.

One of the nice things about Frankhouser’s tailgate and his Web site is his emphasis on welcoming the fans of visiting teams. His site talks about a “code of honor” and even includes a few letters from visiting-team fans who appreciated how well they were treated when they stopped by his tailgate.

If you want to visit the tailgate, he’s even got a map on his Web site showing you exactly where to find him. I need to stop by again myself—sometime when I don’t have the four-way flashers on and can spend a little time.

Tina Hay, editor

Entry filed under: Alumni Association. Tags: , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Buzzing the Stadium « The Penn Stater  |  September 12, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    […] yet—it had been diverted to an emergency in DuBois. So I hung around a while, went over to visit Paul Frankhouser’s famous tailgate, and strolled some of the other tailgates. The alumni […]

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