Zurich, Switzerland is only 5,000+ miles away from Boulder, Colorado—so why wouldn’t Matthew Conner be at every CU Buffs home game this season? Conner, who heads up the Superior Tailgating Club isn’t going to let an overseas employment opportunity stop him from pre-gaming for Colorado’s Pac-12 debut season.
The Superior Tailgating Group started in 2001, “with a leftover keg of beer, three hamburger patties and two buns.” Over the past 10 years it has grown into a tailgating mainstay (despite the Buffs’ on-the-field decline over that time). Their moniker isn’t as cocky as it seems—the group’s founders lived in the town of Superior, CO.
Conner and his crew bring their gear in a custom trailer that’s rigged with a beer tap on the side. Russian-style lamb kebabs are Conner’s specialty, and an annual late-season chili cook-off works great on a frigid morning in the Rockies. Since they get to every game at least four hours in advance, some of which start at 10 a.m. local time, Conner has been known to welcome the brisk mountain dawn with omelets, home fries and breakfast burritos.
One such morning of a 10 a.m. kickoff, the day after Thanksgiving in 2003, the Superior Tailgaters assembled at 4:30 in the morning, a mere three hours before sunrise. The only female who braved the eight inches of snow in the six-degree (yea, Fahrenheit!) darkness was Conner’s girlfriend at the time—she’s now Mrs. Matthew Conner, of course.
Though the Superior Tailgating Club is sorry to lose their traditional day-after-Thanksgiving matchup with rival Nebraska, they’re excited for the Buffs’ move from the Big 12 to the Pac-12. With so many students from California and with CU’s high academic standards, Conner feels like it’s a good fit for Buffs. Plus, the away-game road trip possibilities are a lot more enticing. As Conner put it, “Would you rather go to Manhattan, KS and Ames, IA; or Los Angeles and Phoenix?”
As great as the tailgating is in Boulder, Conner highly recommends first-time visitors get into Folsom Field early. “The most important thing if you’re going to a CU game is to get in there before kickoff to see the Buffaloes’ live mascot Ralphie run. The last couple years, since they [the team] have been so horrible, that’s been the best part of the game. Seeing a thousand-pound buffalo run around the stadium and what it does for the crowd is phenomenal.”
Conner and his ever-expanding gang have plenty of other tailgating glories about which they could boast, but they’re most proud of their charitable contributions. Every year when CU hosts rival Colorado State, they find a worthy cause for which to raise money. Last year they donated to former Colorado star Jeremy Bloom’s Wish of a Lifetime Program. This year, they’ll be supporting the Cancer Support Community in honor of a member of the Superior Tailgating family who succumbed to colon cancer in April.