A Fresh Tailgate Menu

Quick and tasty ideas for game day

Take your tailgating game to new heights this season with fresh dishes that are easy to make and serve, whether your tailgating tradition takes place at the game or at home.

Fast prep times and short ingredient lists make these recipes a cinch to prepare in advance and have ready to go as soon as you reach the parking lot or before guests arrive. The star ingredients are naturally hardwood-smoked sausages and seasoned deli meats from Eckrich, which offers a variety of smoked sausage flavors in traditional ropes and bun-length links as well as gluten-free deli meats such as Black Forest ham and oven-roasted turkey, all with just the right blend of seasonings for a rich, savory taste.

You can switch up the flavors of these recipes by subbing in different varieties of smoked sausage, such as replacing the original rope-style smoked sausage with Eckrich Jalapeno & Cheddar Links. The roll-ups are also easy to customize for guests using any type of deli meat, and they’re easy to enjoy on the go if you need a quick bite on the way to the stadium.

Tailgate Like a Pro

Try New Toppings

Smoked sausage and deli meats are easy to add to a bun for an instant meal, and there’s plenty of ways to dress your tailgate menu up or down based upon the preferences of your guests. Be sure to keep some basics on hand for those who prefer traditional preparation, but for the more adventurous types, try out these ideas for toppings that create a new dimension of flavor.

  • Grilled onion
  • Grilled peppers
  • Grilled, roasted or sauteed mushrooms
  • Spicy mustard
  • Flavored ketchup (think spicy, fruity or sweet)
  • Ethnic flavors like curry or marinara sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Roasted corn relish
  • Crumbled or shredded cheese
  • Bacon crumbles

Handy Hacks

  • Repurpose coffee filters as holders for your sandwiches. They’re easy to hold and help keep your favorite toppings contained.
  • Up-cycle an empty six-pack container into a convenient cookout caddy to hold napkins, condiments and utensils. Not only is it quick to grab and place on the table, but it helps keep napkins from blowing away in a breeze.
  • For kabobs, keep wooden skewers from charring by soaking them in water before threading on ingredients.
  • Prepare toppings the night before and arrange them in a disposable foil pan for a quick and easy DIY topping bar.

Million Dollar Moment

This season, Eckrich – the official smoked sausage and deli meat sponsor of the College Football Playoff – is once again hosting the Road to the National Championship sweepstakes. Fans around the country will have the chance to make a 20-yard throw for $1 million at some of the biggest college football games of the season, including the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta. Visit EckrichFootball.com for your chance to win.

Find more game-day recipes at Eckrich.com.

Grilled Sausage Skewer Sandwiches

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 1          regular size package Eckrich Smoked Sausage
  • 1          small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1          red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6          wooden skewers, 10 inches long
  • 1/2       cup Italian salad dressing, divided
  • 6          bolillo or sandwich rolls, split
  • 1          avocado, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/4       cup cilantro leaves
  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Cut sausage into 1/2-inch thick slices. Thread sausage, onion and bell peppers alternately onto skewers. Brush 1/4 cup salad dressing on skewered sausage and vegetables.
  3. Grill until sausage is golden brown and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes, turning once.
  4. Brush remaining salad dressing on rolls. Fill rolls with grilled sausage and vegetables. Divide avocado and cilantro onto each.

Tip: To broil sausage rather than grill, heat broiler to medium-high, follow the same skewer preparation instructions and broil about 10 minutes, or until sausage is golden brown and vegetables are crisp-tender.

Ham and Turkey Roll-ups

Cook time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

  • 4          ounces Eckrich Deli Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
  • 4          ounces Eckrich Deli Black Forest Ham
  • lettuce leaves
  • 2          tablespoons chunky guacamole
  • 1/4       cup chopped cucumbers
  • 1          tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2          slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. Layer turkey and ham slices. Layer lettuce, guacamole, cucumber, cheese and bacon crumbles. Roll meat and secure with toothpick.

Potato Salad with Smoked Sausage

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

  • 3/4       regular size package Eckrich Smoked Sausage, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 3          small red potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), cooked and quartered
  • 1          can (4 ounces) pitted ripe olives, drained and halved
  • 2          cups Italian dressing
  • 1          green onion, sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 2          teaspoons ground black pepper
  1. In large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in potatoes; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  2. Add olives, dressing, onions, garlic and pepper; mix lightly.

(Family Features)


5 Lessons for Everyday Athletes from an U.S. Olympian

U.S. Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva

U.S. Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva

Becoming an U.S. Olympic athlete requires an extraordinary combination of talent and perseverance, but there are lessons to be learned from these competitors that can help propel everyday athletes to reach the top of their game.

Among the 2016 Team USA roster, there were countless stories of triumph such as that of U.S. Olympic gymnast Danell Leyva, who was named an alternate for Team USA before stepping in for an injured teammate. Leyva ultimately competed and went on to bring home two silver medals in the parallel bars and horizontal bar individual events during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Leyva knows what it takes to build a champion: a lifetime of determination and training, countless competitions and years of fueling his body with the right foods and beverages, like milk, which is packed with nine essential nutrients, including 8 grams of natural protein in each 8-ounce serving.

Even if your own athletic aspirations keep you closer to home, adopting the right mindset will help propel you to new heights in your athletic endeavors.

Read these helpful tips from Leyva in our January / February Issue.

Crowd-Pleasing Game Day Grilling

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For millions of football fans, the grill is as important as the gridiron when enjoying a weekend of games. There’s nothing like team spirit, the anticipation of kickoff and the smell of a delicious pregame tailgate wafting through the stadium parking lot.

National barbecue expert Rocky Stubblefield of Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q offers tips and recipes for game day grilling that will have the whole crowd cheering.

Keep it simple

Stubblefield says anything that cooks fast on the grill is great for tailgating – burgers, hotdogs, chicken – and to bring on the flavor without having to pack a carload of ingredients, use sauces, rubs and marinades. Prepare as much food as you can ahead of time and have a checklist for the things you always need but are easy to forget, like napkins and tin foil.

Grilling tips

For perfectly shaped, evenly cooked burgers, make a thumbprint in the middle of each patty before grilling. Amp up the flavor by rubbing your burgers with Stubb’s Bar-B-Q rub before putting them on the grill – just like you would a brisket or ribs. No matter what you’re making, wait to put the sauce on until the very end of grilling to avoid charring and burning.

For dozens of easy, delicious tailgating recipes, visit stubbsbbq.com.

Toasted Pecan Burgers

  • 1          pound ground chuck
  • 1/4       cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4       cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1          tablespoon finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 3          tablespoons Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce
  • 2          tablespoons Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Spice Rub
  1. Mix together chuck, onion, pecans, bell pepper, sauce and rub. Shape into 4 patties.
  2. Prepare grill for direct cooking. When coals are ashed over in charcoal grill, spread them in bottom of grill so food can cook directly over coals.
  3. Grill burgers over direct, medium heat, first on one side then the other, 7-10 minutes, until they reach desired doneness. Medium burgers register an internal temperature of 160° F.
  4. Serve with your favorite burger toppings on toasted buns.

Smokey Stuffed Jalapenos with Bacon

  • 1/2       pound uncooked chorizo
  • 16        ounces cream cheese
  • 24        fresh jalapenos, halved and seeded
  • 24        slices bacon (about 2 pounds), halved
  • 1          cup Stubb’s Smokey Mesquite Bar-B-Q Sauce
  1. Heat skillet to medium heat and prepare grill for direct cooking.
  2. Remove chorizo casing and cook in skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Transfer cooked chorizo to paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.
  3. Mix cream cheese and chorizo.
  4. Stuff each jalapeno half with cream cheese mixture. Wrap with half strip of bacon and secure with toothpick.
  5. Place peppers on grill and cook 8-10 minutes, turning frequently. Baste peppers with sauce during last 2 minutes of cooking. (Family Features)

Teen InFluential Presents Don’t Fumble This Watch Party

It’s one of the biggest nights of the year. Of the 20 most viewed broadcasted events in the United States’ history, this event holds 19 of those places. It was the most watched broadcast of 2016 with over 110 million views.

Well, when it comes to the U.S., seemingly nothing can top the Super Bowl. The night of the Super Bowl, records say over half of the American population are gathered at their televisions cheering on their pick to win. It’s tradition by many to have Super Bowl watch parties. If you’re hosting one this year on February 5 for Super Bowl LI, here are some fun party tips to make sure you don’t fumble this season and that you score big with your guests.

Nicole Glenn, Editor of Teen InFluential shares a few ideas to make sure our Super Bowl party rocks, Don’t Fumble This Watch Party.


Touch Down in Houston for the Big Game

February is fast approaching, and with it the year’s largest football event. Fans will come from across the nation to experience the highly anticipated Sunday football game in Houston, Texas.

With mild weather, amazing city views, a walkable cultural district and delectable food, visitors will have plenty to keep them busy during their visit to the nation’s fourth largest city.

Check out the game (even if you don’t have a seat)

Snagged tickets to the big game? Make sure you check out the “know before you go” transportation details and plan accordingly. Once there, NRG Stadium will be ready, rain or shine. With pro football’s first retractable roof, the stadium is nearly as much of a spectacle as the game itself.

No tickets? No problem. There are some amazing events happening just outside of NRG, such as the Houston Touchdown Tour or LIVE Fan Festival in Discovery Green Park, which will feature concerts from various Texas artists over the course of nine days leading up to the event. Both events offer free admission and feature fun for everyone! Houston is also filled with restaurants, bars and breweries perfect for catching the game! Some local favorites include:

* Saint Arnold Brewing Company: As Texas’ oldest craft brewery, Saint Arnold is home to a passionate fan base of beer aficionados, along with people just looking for a fun place to hang out. You can take an official brewery tour or simply enjoy a pint while watching the game in the Beer Hall.

* 8th Wonder Brewery: Named for Houston’s infamous Astrodome, dubbed the eighth wonder of the world in 1965, 8th Wonder has taken over a “dome-like” warehouse in East downtown. The company explores various styles of beer from around the world, which you can try for yourself at the WonderWorld taproom.

* The Hay Merchant: Located in a remodeled building featuring worn brick from its original 1940′s structure, Hay Merchant offers a relaxed atmosphere complete with 80 types of beer on tap.

* West Alabama Ice House: Open since 1928, West Alabama Ice House means business. The cut and dry bar doesn’t serve food or liquor, only the usual beer standards plus Saint Arnold seasonal brews and a small wine selection.

* Pub Fiction: With a full selection of liquor, beer and wines and a heavy emphasis on sports with every inch of wall space filled by the latest HD screens, Pub Fiction is a great spot to catch the game. With a recently expanded patio, this spot will be an ideal accommodation for Houstonians and visitors alike come Feb. 5.

Explore the city

Paint the town your team colors! As the largest city in Texas, Houston is filled with so many entertaining things to do. Hit up Buffalo Bayou Park and “burp the bayou.” Built as part of a 1998 art project, you’re able to send a massive bubble to the water’s surface with the push of a small, red button. A great place to relax or take the kids and get a breath of fresh air, the park is also great to hike, canoe, bike and see bats under the bridge.

For the perfect photo opp to document your time in Houston, ride to the top of JP Morgan Chase Tower for an incredible view of the Houston skyline, snap a photo in front of the infamous biscuit paint wall or one of Houston’s many wall murals, and definitely make sure to visit Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, featuring a 64-foot waterfall.

Visit the renowned Space Center Houston, an educational complex and space museum with more than 400 space artifacts. The center serves as a nonprofit gateway to NASA Johnson Space Center and is Houston’s only Smithsonian Affiliate museum.

Midtown Houston is the heart of Houston night life. Grab drinks and dance the night away with friends at the many bars and clubs the city has to offer in celebration or defeat. Houston is also filled with an underground society of secret bars, such as Last Concert Café and 13 Celsius. Beware, as some of these hotspots are password protected.

Stroll through the cultural district. Houston’s Museum District is comprised of 19 museums located within approximately one and a half miles of downtown, making it the country’s fourth largest museum district. Ten of the 19 museums always feature free general admission, including the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston Center for Photography and DiverseWorks.

Eat everything

Save the wings for Sunday, and explore the diverse food scene throughout Houston. As part of the Gulf Coast region, Houston is well known for its Cajun food. Get a taste of Louisiana at Zydeco Louisiana Diner, Brennan’s of Houston and Bernadine’s.

Like any big city, Houston also hosts a variety of global cuisines, including French, Indian and Pakistani, Japanese and Italian. However, when in Texas you can’t miss the barbecue, tacos and Tex-Mex. Local favorites include Goode Company Barbeque, Gatlin’s BBQ, El Tiempo Cantina, Texas founded-Torchy’s Tacos, Cuchara, Hugo’s and The Original Ninfa’s.

Extend your stay

Spending a few extra days in the Lone Star State? There are a number of incredible destinations that are quick drive or flight from Houston. San Antonio, Austin and Dallas are all within a three and a half hour drive or 50 minute flight from Houston. If you’re looking for a shorter drive but want to feel further away from city life, head 45 minutes south to Galveston Island. This beautiful beach town has everything from luxurious resorts to cottage-style beach rentals. Visitors can take advantage of the deep sea fishing, a family-friendly pleasure pier, and of course, all the fresh Gulf seafood you can handle.

Whatever you do for the big game, be sure to make your game plan early! For more information about travel experiences in the Lone Star State, visit www.TravelTexas.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (BPT)

5 Tips to Score Big in Your Fantasy Football League This Season

More than 57 million people will play fantasy sports this year, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA). With fantasy football season underway, you need to make sure your game face is on and your line-up is set. If you have a team this season, or this is your first year playing, here are some tips for scoring a successful season: 

1. Don’t receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Whether you’re playing in a formalized league or one the office football aficionado threw together, it’s important to know and follow the rules of your league. Just like the real deal, fantasy football has rules and regulations. Run afoul of those rules in a formalized league and you might be invited to leave, or at the very least, not come back next year. Mess up in the office and you’ll have to hear about it until you retire. Realize people will play with varying levels of commitment and proficiency, but everyone wants to have fun — and rules help make that possible. 

2. Avoid fumbling your lineup. Once you have your lineup locked in for draft day, your player knowledge doesn’t stop there. Devote time each week to research your player’s strengths and weaknesses. You can rank players on many criteria, from last year’s performance to expert predictions of this year’s performance. Researching can help you get your best lineup each week to crush the competition. Whether you’re playing to win or just for fun, some preparation can help ensure you put together your dream team. 

3. Score savings with an audible. More than a third of fantasy sports players primarily use their phones to track scores, follow teams, make lineup changes and communicate with others about their fantasy sport, according to the FTSA. That’s a lot of phone usage on-the-go that can potentially cause high overage charges. Switching to a more affordable plan can make your fantasy football season more cost efficient. Just in time for kick-off, Straight Talk Wireless is launching Straight Talk Plus(TM), giving customers even more options to save on their wireless service. Available exclusively at Walmart, Straight Talk Plus lets you get the latest smart phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 for just about $1 a day. Just add our unlimited service plan with 5GB of high speed data (then 2G speeds) starting at just $45 per month to make sure you’re covered for all of those game-day lineup changes. Best of all, there is no contract on your smartphone or unlimited plan – letting customers cancel anytime with no activation fees or penalties. 

4. Tackle Traditions. Every fantasy football league is different. It’s much more than just strictly about winning. This is a game that brings friends, roommates and colleagues together to participate alongside their favorite players each week. With this, the collective personalities and traditions between leagues can vary. Whether you’re new to the league or the reining champ, make sure you double check the scoring system and are aware of your league’s traditions. 

5. Get caught up with sideline streaming. Remember, one does not simply pick a team and then stop paying attention. In fact, keeping track of how players on your team are performing in real life is what makes fantasy football exciting. Not everyone has time to watch every game their players are in, or even just the highlights. Consider downloading a fantasy football app for your smartphone to stream games, keep track of stats, scores, injuries and more. Straight Talk Wireless will help you have your data streaming needs covered.

Now you’re well on your way to a winning team and prepared for the season ahead. For more ways to save, visit www.StraightTalk.com.

This is a lease-to-own transaction – except in MN, NJ, WI, and WY where straight leases are offered. Well-qualified credit may be required to purchase. Smart Pay terms: Lease-to-own transaction for the Samsung Galaxy S7 total cost is $722.88 with 24 30-day payments plus any taxes and fees except in North Carolina where final payment may be more. No ownership until all payments made. May be able to exercise early purchase option. Retail cost of the Galaxy S7 is $599, subject to change. Customers may end lease and return phone at any time. Wireless service subject to Straight Talk Terms and Conditions. On the $45 Unlimited plan the first 5GB of data is at high speeds. After 5GB, speeds are reduced to 2G where streaming and audio may be affected. (BPT)

AUDIO INTERVIEW: NBA Pro Turned MedDevice Developer Jonathan Bender on Career Rebound

Photo courtesy of JB3 Innovations

Jonathan Bender

Jonathan Bender

After entering the NBA in 1999 as the number five overall draft pick, Jonathan Bender soon realized that a painful growth spurt he suffered during childhood was haunting him. Desperate to take pressure off his knees, he engineered his own apparatus using a few supplies he picked up at a drugstore. Through trial and error, he successfully created a series of bands running from his waist down to his Achilles tendon, all attached by a harness and stirrup. The prototype proved to resolve Jonathan’s persistent knee pain, which enabled him—after four years of forced retirement—to return to the league and resume playing.

Now fully developed, tested and available to the masses as the JBIT MedPro, this device complements medical rehabilitation, physical therapy and fitness regimens by providing relief of chronic joint pain. Jonathan himself continues to use it today to maintain full-body fitness.

Click HERE to listen to my interview with Bender in which we discuss his unique and inspirational story, which involves overcoming setbacks to achieve entrepreneurial greatness.


High School scholar (graduating class of 2017), perennial athlete and broadcast journalism aficionado turned Sports Watchdog, Mason Kern, spotlights newsworthy current events and happenings in the world of youth, college and pro sports as well as notable sports and fitness gadgets and gear. Mason also serves as a Teen Correspondent for XETV’s ‘San Diego Living’ program in his own branded monthly “Teen Watchdog with Mason Kern” segment (www.tinyurl.com/TTWVideos). Reach Mason online at www.TheSportsWatchdog.com, on Twitter @ASportsWatchdog, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SportsWatchdog and on LinkedIn at www.tinyurl.com/TTW-LinkedIn. 

Baseball Legends are Speaking up About Advanced Prostate Cancer – Here’s Why You Should Listen

Ken Griffey, Jr. and Ken Griffey, Sr.

It’s not uncommon for the sons and daughters of professional athletes to follow in their parents’ footsteps, but few athletes get the chance to actually play alongside their mom or dad. That’s why Sept. 14, 1990 marked a special day in baseball history. When the Mariners played against the Angels in Anaheim, Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. appeared in the same lineup and became the first father and son to hit back-to-back home runs during a major league game. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find the retired father and son duo are teaming up again – this time to take a swing against advanced prostate cancer.

Why the Griffeys are speaking up about advanced prostate cancer

Three-time All-Star Ken Griffey Sr. knows all too well the devastating effects of prostate cancer. After losing four uncles to the cancer, Griffey Sr. learned at a young age the importance of regular screenings. It wasn’t until his own diagnosis in 2006, however, that Griffey Sr. realized how difficult it could be to talk about prostate cancer with loved ones and doctors.

To address the stigma around prostate cancer and help men with advanced disease speak up about the symptoms they experience, Griffey Sr. and his son, Hall-of-Famer Ken Griffey Jr., joined Bayer’s educational program, Men Who Speak Up. The Griffeys understand the difference speaking up can make in prostate cancer, and have been traveling the country with Bayer to speak to media – and with patients, at community events hosted by patient advocacy groups – about the importance of men with advanced prostate cancer breaking the silence about symptoms that may signal their disease is progressing.

About advanced prostate cancer

Griffey Sr. describes himself as fortunate because his prostate cancer was caught early, but other men are not so lucky. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., and more than 26,000 American men will die from the disease just this year alone, according to the American Cancer Society. It’s crucial that men know the signs of advanced prostate cancer, such as fatigue or difficulty performing normal activities, and that they talk with their doctors immediately.

Finding your voice

Prostate cancer symptoms are serious, as they often do not emerge until the disease has advanced. When they do, it’s crucial to acknowledge them. If you’ve been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer or are experiencing symptoms, speak up. These five tips will help you prepare for an important conversation with your doctor.Prepare a list of questions you and your loved ones have about prostate cancer. Bring a pad and pen to jot down notes during the appointment.

  • Keep a journal of symptoms you’re experiencing, and make note of any changes between visits. Even small changes in symptoms or your day-to-day activity is important for your doctor to know.
  • Bring a loved one to your appointments for support.
  • Discuss your treatment plan each visit to ensure it’s still the best fit for your current condition.
  • Ask about any support groups or resources your doctor recommends.

Encourage others to break the silence on advanced prostate cancer

Men often don’t get the help they need when they need it, because they’re afraid to speak up about prostate cancer. Learn how you can stop the silence and instead raise awareness of advanced prostate cancer. Visit www.menwhospeakup.com to learn more.

Tackling a Touchdown Tailgate

Cost-effective tips from DIY experts

As fall settles in, the air gets crisper and the kids head back to school, many Americans eagerly anticipate one thing: football season.

Whether you’re a die-hard gridiron fan or prefer to enjoy the food and festivities from the sidelines, everyone can agree that a successful tailgate is key to any memorable game day get-together. According to a recent Bank of America survey, 34 percent of Americans plan to attend a professional or college football game or tailgate this fall, and 20 percent plan to host a tailgate or viewing party themselves.

Ben and Erin Napier prepare for a tailgate.

Ben and Erin Napier prepare for a tailgate.

While many love planning out meals, decorations and activities for friends and family, the costs can easily add up and make hosting feel like an underdog game. So how can fans plan a tailgate that stays on budget and impresses any crowd – home or away?

Home design and DIY experts Ben and Erin Napier teamed with Bank of America to provide these cost-savvy tips for pulling off a memorable tailgate that fits the bill for every fan on game day.

Get in the Competitive Spirit

Whether you’re grilling outside the stadium or spending halftime hanging out in your backyard, Ben recommends laying out a variety of games for guests to enjoy.

“We take college football season very seriously,” Ben said. “For some friendly, competitive fun before kickoff and during halftime, create a larger-than-life wood-block game.”

Follow these simple steps:

1. Sand down wooden four-by-fours.

2. Cut into 48 pieces, each eighteen 18 inches long.

3. Stack pieces into a tower.

4. Take turns pulling pieces to see who knocks the tower over first.

For added flair and personalization, Erin suggests painting the wooden blocks your team colors.

Bring the Stadium to Your Living Room

If you missed out on tickets or your home team is on the road, you can still make your home feel like a day at the stadium.

“During tailgates at home, we try to make our friends feel like they’re actually at the game and having as much fun as possible,” Ben said.

Decorating your home with the team’s colors – such as creating DIY wall art with framed jerseys – is a simple, cost-efficient way to capture the tailgate essence.

Ben suggests setting up a big screen TV on the deck or outdoor living area with speakers to mimic the feeling of watching a game outside in the stands. For inexpensive, comfy seating that will help welcome guests and add another pop of team spirit, try purchasing throw pillows in your team’s colors from a wholesale club or superstore, but make sure to weatherproof them first using fabric protection spray.

“We also like to play recordings of our college band before kickoff if we can’t be at the pep rally in person,” Erin said.

Create a Tailgating Space that Stands Out

One of the best parts of tailgating at the stadium is being surrounded by fellow fans. Try sprucing up your car or tent to create an inviting space that showcases your team pride.

Ben recommends investing in a large, custom-designed vinyl or fabric banner for your tent. Not only can they be affordable to produce and last for many seasons, but they stand out in a crowd.

“Because the banner’s durable, you can use it every year,” Ben said. “Its unique design makes it easy to find after we walk around the tailgate to meet fellow fans.”

Even when your tailgate screams “Go Team,” it’s important to make everybody – even the opposing team’s fans – feel welcome.

“Experiencing a big game may be a once in a lifetime experience for them,” Erin said. “Football fans should be all about hospitality, even toward the rival team’s visitors.”

Defeat Your Budget

“Planning for a busy football season doesn’t need to be a ‘loss’ for your budget,” Ben said. “Turning to a credit card that rewards you for everyday purchases is one of the easiest ways to ‘win’ this season.”

Because tailgating throughout the entire football season requires many trips to the grocery store – often buying in bulk – using a card like the BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card lets you earn 2 percent cash back at wholesale clubs and grocery stores. And 3 percent cash back when gassing up for away games – on up to $2,500 in grocery/wholesale club/gas quarterly spend. You also earn 1 percent back on all other purchases.

For more information, visit bankofamerica.com/creditcard.

Develop a Game Plan Before Cooking

When preparing meals for a large group, planning ahead and using simple recipes are key.

“We like to plan our meals ahead so that by the time our friends arrive and the game starts, we’re pretty much done in the kitchen,” Ben Napier said.

A simple, versatile marinade helps keep flavors fresh throughout the football season while avoiding additional costs.

“For our tailgates, we prefer to stick to the classics,” Ben said. “When we aren’t grilling hot dogs or burgers, we make a big pot of chili in our slow cooker – letting it simmer for a few hours before serving when the game starts. If we’re tailgating at the stadium, we’ll even throw the chili together in a cast iron pot straight on the grill.”

Do-It-All Marinade

3          parts olive oil

2          parts soy sauce

1          part Worcestershire sauce

1          part balsamic vinegar

lemon juice

Dijon mustard


garlic powder

In small bowl, combine all ingredients then place in re-sealable plastic bag.

Drizzle marinade over chicken and let stand in refrigerator about 4 hours prior to grilling.

AUDIO INTERVIEW: Former NBA Pro John Salmons on ‘The Power of the Pivot’ and Other Success Strategies

By Mason Kern

John Salmons (Photography Courtesy of John Salmons Enterprises)

John Salmons (Photography Courtesy of John Salmons Enterprises)

NBA fans will surely know the name John Salmons, who played opposite Derrick Rose for several seasons with the Chicago Bulls where he averaged 18 points a game. Salmons also played with the 76ers, Bucks, Kings and Raptors before finally wrapping up his pro career in 2015 with the Pelicans. He ranks in the top 10% of all time scorers in the history of the NBA and ABA, which is an extraordinary achievement unto itself.

Today, Salmons is the CEO of John Salmons Enterprise, which is a holding company for his diverse array of business interests that includes franchises, film development & production, fashion, real estate and angel investments, and several exploratory concepts in the comic book, entrepreneur and artist development space. He’s an outstanding example of a professional athlete who isn’t resting on the laurels of his athletic endeavors, and is instead thinking outside-the-box to facilitate longer-term prosperity in his life beyond.

Click HERE to listen to my insightful interview with Salmons, in which we discuss his success philosophies and strategies like “The Power of the Pivot,” his “3D Growth Model,” social engineering and much more.

Mason Kern

Mason Kern

High School scholar (graduating class of 2017), perennial athlete and broadcast journalism aficionado turned Sports Watchdog, Mason Kern, spotlights newsworthy current events and happenings in the world of youth, college and pro sports as well as notable sports and fitness gadgets and gear. Mason also serves as a Teen Correspondent for XETV’s ‘San Diego Living’ program in his own branded monthly “Teen Watchdog with Mason Kern” segment (www.tinyurl.com/TTWVideos). Reach Mason online at www.TheSportsWatchdog.com, on Twitter @ASportsWatchdog, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SportsWatchdog and on LinkedIn at www.tinyurl.com/TTW-LinkedIn.