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If you are wondering why I decided to downsize the tailgate, the answer is "it's complicated."

Over the years the tailgate grew to become a major production involving multiple TV's, multiple shot machines and all kinds of cool amenities. As far as I know Psychogate was the only tailgate to ever have a live streaming webcam.

Eventually, there were two problems. Too much stuff and too many people. All the stuff had to be stored somewhere and then transported to and from the center of campus. I had an entire storage unit filled with tailgate gear and at first Storquest sponsored the tailgate so I got free storage. But since they couldn't measure how much business this was generating they ended the sponsorship (didn't help that the "Storquest Girls" were getting totally shitfaced at the tailgate and hooking up with tailgaters instead of doing their job). The loss of Storquest's support is the number one thing that led to this. If you're ever looking for storage, remember that.

Storage isn't a seasonal thing, that storage unit had to be paid for year-round. Plus I had to hire a crew to pick up all that gear (it required two pickup trucks), deliver it to campus and then take it back to storage. Storage and transportation cost thousands of dollars a year and that doesn't include the satellite service, alcohol, tailgate supplies, food, ice and replacing the TV's, tents and chairs that inevitably get damaged or disappear. But the biggest expense, by far, was the cost of storage.

To help cover all these expenses I started selling Sycowear T-shirts. Sycowear was very successful, and probably too successful. I was selling so many shirts it practically became a full time job and I just didn't have the time (or interest) to be running a T-shirt business out of my home. At the same time the size of the crowds at the tailgate was getting out of control which made it hard for the more "moderate" tailgaters to enjoy the experience. Too many drunks and too many moochers were spoiling the experience.

The next step in the evolution of the tailgate was to make it a members only party. I didn't like the idea of charging a membership fee or making it a private tailgate but that was the only way I could think of to control the size of the crowd and generate enough funds to cover my costs. This worked but I hated doing it and it left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths because what used to be free now cost money. No matter that it was less than $10 per tailgate which is ridiculously cheap for such a tailgate. Plus many people incorrectly assumed I was profiting from the membership fees (far from the truth). I guess these people thought I should just spend thousands of dollars out of my own pocket so they could come and get drunk at my tailgate. Plus USC didn't like the fact that I was charging a membership fee for the tailgate because they weren't getting a cut, so they made me stop.

I loved hosting the tailgate and providing a place that so many people considered their tailgate home. And I loved offering a safe zone for visiting fans to come and tailgate. But all the challenges were making it less and less fun for me, it started to feel like more of an obligation and less something that I looked forward to. So last season I announced that Psychogate was finished and that I would not be hosting the tailgate anymore.

Fast forward to this year and USC made it possible for me to reserve my tailgate spot. Previously I had to be on campus by 6am to ensure I got my usual spot. So because I don't have to deal with that headache anymore I've decided to host a drastically scaled down version of the tailgate. It's basically going to be me showing up with a pop up tent or two, a table or two, a cooler or two and some chairs. Where things go from there depends on who shows up and what else they bring.

Like my friend @OakMonster says, put up your tent pole and let everyone else build the tent around it. That's what I'm doing. Doesn't matter how big or small the tailgate is as long as it's full of good people who love USC and enjoy each other's company. The tailgate will be about USC and the Trojan Family and not all the other stuff. That's the way it started and that's what made it great. The people. Not the stuff.

Fight On!





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