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Bill Hubbs - Jaguars Season Parking Interview

Bill Hubbs is what you might called a “Tailgate Artiste”. As a Jaguars Season Ticket holder since the beginning, Bill’s been honing his craft for years. He gets 9 opportunities a year to perfect his technique right here at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds with his Eating the Competition tailgate, and we all reap the benefits. We spoke with Bill about the idea behind Eating the Competition, where you can find him on game days, and how you can follow his top tips to create your own tailgate.

How long have you been a Jaguars season ticket holder?

I’ve been a ticket holder since ’95. In about 2012, I gave my tickets up to go in with my wife. She had 2 seats, and lo and behold before we started dating we didn’t know, but we actually sat just one section apart from each other.

Oh wow! Ok.

So I gave back the 4 seats I had, to go in with the 2 she had.

So you’ve been there since the beginning then?

Oh yeah, I was there for the very first game. Sat in the South End zone, 7 rows up.

That’s awesome! How long have you been parking at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds?

I’ve been there now 5 years.

Now you have a pretty unique game day tailgate. Can you briefly explain what separates your tailgates from a standard tailgate?

One of the things we’ve been doing for a longtime now is, we research the visiting teams. Certain foods, drinks, desserts…and we make a menu based on the visiting team. When we’re done preparing it, we talk with and invite over other Jaguars fans for what we call “Eating the Competition”.

Eating the Competition? That’s great! When you’re preparing foods based on the opponents, how far in advance do you start working on your game day menu?

The night we get home from the game we’ve just attended, we start working on the next menu. It takes all 7 days.

Are you watching for the schedule release each year trying to see who the opponents are going to be?

Oh yeah! That way we can see what things we need to do more research on. Some teams we’ve played numerous times, so it’s just a matter of going back and looking at our menus to see what we were going to make, but decided to opt for something different for that one game.

We put it on our calendar, when their calendar comes out.

You’ve been this for a few years now, so far what’s your favorite Eating the Competition menu item you’ve prepared in the last few years?

There are really 2. One is when we played Seattle, there was a seafood pasta. That consisted of angel hair pasta, crab meat, lobster, shrimp, and scallops. The seafood was prepared in a garlic-butter sauce, and then it was layered like a lasagna. Pasta, seafood, pasta, seafood, etc. It’s warmed over a low flame, and just melt a little butter on it.

The other one, I had to laugh because I was looking for something for Indianapolis. The favorite for Indy was a bologna sandwich.

A bologna sandwich? Coach Marrone would be happy with that, wouldn’t he?

That’s it! I told people we’re gonna eat the competition, and wish the coach a good game.

I’m sure he would appreciate that! Now, if someone wanted to become an expert tailgater such as yourself, do you have a couple tips for those that want to get into heavy tailgating?

I would say to definitely make sure you do a checklist. The last thing you wanna do is get down to the tailgate and realize you don’t have enough gas for your grill or charcoal. Do a pregame check, just like the Jaguars do.

I usually load my vehicle up with the table and chairs the night before, so the next morning I’m not scrambling to remember to put something in my vehicle.

How early do you get to the Jacksonville Fairgrounds on game day? Are you here right at 9:00 AM when we open?

We’re usually there ten minutes until 9:00 AM. We’re usually one of the first few cars through the gate.

So you’re on Tom Coughlin time each week? LOL

Oh Yeah! It’s better to be 5 minutes early, than 5 minutes late. LOL

Each year the Jaguars play the Colts, Texans, and Titans, so how do you work out those menus? Do you try and change up the offerings since the Jaguars play those team annually?

We change up the menu each time. One year we’ll do one thing, switch it up the next time, and a few years later we might go back.

The Texans are great because I can do steak, or what we call our Texas-Size Hamburger. It’s actually a 2 pound hamburger with a giant brioche bun. You slice it like it’s a pizza, and everyone gets a slice of it.

Oh, wow! Now, the Kansas City Chiefs are the first Road team to visit Jacksonville in 2019. Can you give us a sneak peek at Week One’s menu?

It’s definitely gonna be Kansas City BBQ. We’ll do a brisket and maybe a brisket grilled-cheese sandwich, and grill the whole thing until it’s lightly toasted.

This year, in addition to the Chiefs, the Saints and Jets are coming to Jacksonville. Which game day menu are you most excited to cook and serve this season?

Definitely the Saints. I like to have a creole-type menu. My niece is a Saints fan, so I can make a crawfish etouffee or something like that, and rub it in her face that she’s not going to get any of it. LOL.

She’s a Saints fan and I’m not, so I’m going to eat her competition.

If Jags fans want to partake in Eating the Competition, where can Jags fans find your tailgate each week?

We’re usually by the on the backside of the Fairgrounds, near the Exhibition Hall.

So this is the 25th year of Jaguars football, what’s your fondest memory of a Jaguars game you’ve attended?

It would have to be 1996, when they [Atlanta Falcons] missed the field goal. I was sitting next to a lady I didn’t even know. She asked me if she could hold my hand because she couldn’t even watch. As soon as the kick was missed, I thought she was going to break my hand. LOL.

Where were you sitting in the stadium for the game?

We were in the lower bowl. I played soccer in high school and kicked field goals. As soon as he struck the ball I said, “He missed that.” You could see it hooked completely to the left.

I won’t ask you to predict their record, but do you have a bold prediction for the Jaguars for this year?

For some reason I’m thinking 10-6.

Ah, so you do have a schedule prediction. Is 10-6 good enough to get them into the playoffs?

I think so. 10-6 should be good enough to get them into the playoffs this year. You’ve got a team like Tennessee that always seem like they’re gonna do well, and then they don’t. Houston for some reason I don’t think is going to be as good as they were last year. Indianapolis is the one I’m really worried about.

I’m appreciate your time today, Bill. Thanks again!

Thank you!

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Bill McNeal / Digital Media Coordinator

As the Digital Media Coordinator, Bill's responsibilities are all things digital [of course] here at the Jacksonville Fair. That includes social media, web, video, and all online ticket sales. Bill works closely with Vice President of Marketing Gayle Hart to ensure our customers know about all of their favorite events at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds, as well as the annual Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair held here each fall since 1955.

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