We’ve heard of tailgating groups with storied histories, but the STL Rams Tailgate group has a unique distinction—a tailgating crew that is older than their home team, by some 35 years, in fact. Jack Pleimann and Mick Finn were at the first-ever home game for the St. Louis Football Cardinals in 1960, and now, 24 years after the Cardinals left and 16 years since the Rams arrived, their legacy lives on. Pleimann’s sons, led by group leader Ron, have carried on what is now a 51-years-and-counting tradition.
Every game is an event, “A party before the party,” as Ron puts it. Local bands and DJs are regularly brought in to enhance the revelry—local blues/rock/soul band Daddy’s Cookin’ was tabbed for a Week 4 tailgating lot gig. The group’s menu depends on the opponent, and a special delicacy is always cooked up when the rival Arizona Cardinals (the team that once abandoned St. Louis) come to town. “One of our guys is a country boy and he likes to make turkey testicles,” says Ron. It’s a truly outstanding way for the Rams fans to show their contempt. Pregame shots include Ram Balls (blue curacao, coconut rum, peach schnapps, sweet and sour mix and Sprite) and, in honor of their young franchise quarterback, Bradford’s Brass Balls (orange liqueur, peach schnapps and pineapple juice).
For first-timers at the Edward Jones Dome, Ron suggests a trip to Laclede’s Landing, east of the stadium and along the Mississippi River. The Landing is a historic stretch of cobblestone streets and vintage architecture populated by restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and a short distance from the Gateway Arch.
But Pleimann, his brothers and his friends rarely have time to step away from their tailgating rituals. Co-founder Mick Finn passed away about two years ago, and he has been sorely missed at every home Rams game since. Jack Pleimann, now 71 years young, is one of the original tailgaters who still frequents the group, and he’s surely proud to see Ron and his other three sons keep the tradition alive.