UMD Homecoming Tailgate Rounds up Crowds

DULUTH, Minn. — Crowds started setting up on the UMD campus around 9 am Friday morning to help kick off the homecoming game. After missing it last year because of a canceled season, the celebrations and tailgating Friday feels a little more like a family reunion.

Football is not just a game for these fans but a perfect excuse to come together and enjoy festivities.

“Every single time I come to a  football game it’s a different experience but it’s always a good one and on top of that, it’s homecoming, so i expect the energy to be literally immaculate, like it’s going to be so much fun. like i am pumped for it. as always, roll dogs,” Jake Garfield, a UMD Junior, said.

In some cases it’s the perfect social event too. For Matt Sullivan, father of bulldogs running back Wade Sullivan, this an annual event he never skips.

“We’ve never missed a game, the atmosphere up here is tremendous for UMD football, we just enjoy coming up every year and getting to know other parents and stuff,” Matt Sullivan said.

And as a bulldog parent there on Saturday, watching the team come through the tailgate to Malosky Stadium, it’s hard to feel anything but proud.

“Wade is just a great leader just a great young man, I couldn’t be more proud of him and what he’s done here at UMD. He’s got one more year of eligibility because of the COVID year so we’ll see how it goes,” Sullivan said.

Not only does UMD football bring those together for games, it also helped introduce one alumni to someone special, which he remembers on this homecoming.

“My wife and I met here at UMD, so I mean playing football here was a huge part of our relationship, and it just brings back a lot of good memories coming here,” Ben Helmer, former tight end for the Bulldogs , graduating in 2012, said. 

With tailgates serving as a tradition for alumni and others, current bulldogs plan on coming back to Duluth when their time as a student runs out too.

“A hundred percent, actually my roommates and I have already talked about making the trip up here every homecoming and just quite frankly enjoying everything that UMD has to offer,” Garfield said.

According to Ben Helmer, it’s a great way to celebrate the whole bulldog experience, “this is a great experience, a great place to play football, but most importantly, a great place to go to school. there’s a lot of great people that work here every day, and put a lot of effort into help these guys play, and you know it was a great experience for me, I hope that other people get the opportunity to do that as well”.

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