Of all the tour buses, jeeps, RVs and other assorted fan mobiles making their way into MetLife Stadium for every Giants game, only one can have the reputation for being the baddest. The vehicle that owns the road every game day, from the New Jersey Turnpike to the Garden State Parkway, is known as the Artie. It is the biggest, boldest and bluest RV, which never fails to make an entrance at least five hours before every Giants game.
A 1980 Chevrolet Sport Coach Motorhome, the Artie was sentimentally named for late, great, lifelong Giants fan Arthur Pra. At 26 feet and eight inches long and 10 feet and three inches high, the Artie serves as the official fan mobile of BigBlueTailgaters.com; a legendary friends and friends-of-friends tailgate party that has been setting lot L on fire for years. Currently situated in lot L next to the field house, Big Blue Tailgaters started out as a small, core group of enthusiastic fans who were out there no matter what the weather brought. But as word spread about their great-tasting, slow-cooked food, hot tunes, 80-inch projector screen and commanding presence of their rig, attendance at this raucous ode to Giants fandom continued to grow.
Artie the RV is currently decked out in Giants skinit decals from top to bottom, but this bad boy’s got a past. Purchased from Craigslist in 2009 for $1,500 by current owner John Bakalarczyk, the odometer reads over 85,000 miles. Artie features a 100-gallon fuel capacity and 100-gallon water capacity. Artie also boasts a 454 CID V-8 under the hood and a three-speed, automatic 475 turbo-hydro transmission. Sports coaches built in the 80s were considered to be innovative marvels of construction for that time period and built to last. Called the Sherman Tank of the open road, Artie’s 12,600-pound curb weight, bonded sidewall construction, steel girders, roll bars and full steel frames make this RV a pretty solid ride. Artie still has the original stove, microwave and fridge dating back to 1980, but a new air conditioning unit and improved audio system make it even more party friendly and comfortable. A shower, latrine, sofas, cozy swivel chairs and recliners complete the comfy picture.
Whether they’re tailgating inside the RV or out, Big Blue Tailgaters will be having a fine old time at this weekend’s post-Thanksgiving bash, with heated tents handling the inevitable fan spillover. In honor of turkey day and Big Blue’s push for a win against the Green Bay Packers, a mouthwatering, Thanksgiving/Wisconsin-themed meal will be served. The lineup includes deep-fried turkey sandwiches layered with stuffing and cranberry-mayo spread served up on crusty rye bread, three-cheese baked macaroni and cheese, Shaggy D’s legendary buffalo chicken cheese dip, decadent Wisconsin beer-cheddar soup and Big Blue Tailgaters’ famous wings with Don Dopiriak’s award-winning and soul-warming chili. Of course, there will be plenty of beer being passed around to toast Eli Manning’s throwing arm.
If you’re looking for a great tailgate party, stop by and throw a football around with this easy-going group and don’t forget to check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.