Step inside the ultimate tailgate oasis
Yesterday we brought you inside Bonnie Nichols' camper, a do-it-yourself party ride complete with red racing stripes, a Cardinals-themed bathroom and exactly one television.
As far as tailgate vehicles go, Bill Rieckhoff's Varsity Motor Coach is pretty much the exact opposite of that.
We're talking 40 feet and 400 horsepower of parking lot entertainment -- plush couches, a full-size fridge, ice machine ... the works. Bonnie loaded up a cooler with beers before the game. Bill pours his cold ones straight from one of several built-in taps. Like Bonnie, Bill has a TV mounted on the side of his ride. But he also has nine other TVs installed on and in the vehicle.
The bathroom -- where one of those TVs is located -- is the size of a small New York studio, and I can report that the toilet is free of any rival logos.
As owner of the company that builds these mobile pregame oases, Rieckhoff has surveyed the tailgate scene before many a marquee sporting event -- Super Bowls, Daytona 500s, major college football games, etc. But the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native was more than a little impressed by Friday's turnout at Busch Stadium.
"I don't know that there are any fans that are more passionate than St. Louis Cardinals fans," he said. "They're wearing the gear, they're really enthused about the team and the way they're behaving. Milwaukee is a very excellent venue for fans and tailgating and we've done some Phillies action and some Twins games. Yeah, it's all good. But St. Louis, I think they might have the best fans in the country."
-- Ian Kay / MLB.com