Stevens: If You Have a Rib To Spare, Enter Lobo Tailgate Challenge
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/28/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Sept. 27, 2010

Lobo Football Tailgate Challenge
1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Gate 8, North side of U-Stadium; next to KKOB/Budweiser booth
Saturday vs. UTEP: Barbeque Ribs.

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

When you show up to University Stadium to beat down the competition, it helps to have a game plan. Kaitlin Armstrong, the winner of the Sept. 18 Albertsons/Lobo Football Tailgate Challenge, had a four-pronged game plan.

Her strategy was to hit the cook-off judges from four directions. The plan obviously worked. She won.

"I didn't do so good the first week (Texas chili)," said Armstrong, a self-confessed, die-hard Lobo fan. "I thought up three different types of hamburgers to present a variety. I also learned from my first entry that presentation counts. I touched it up."

Actually, the Tailgate Challenge is judged 30 percent on the presentation of your tailgate area and 70 percent on how the grub tastes when it goes down. But Armstrong was talking about the presentation of her dish. She thought the judges would be influenced by a fancy look. So, she prettied up her burgers.

As for how her entry tasted, well, she had that pretty well covered, too. She tossed the famous Armstrong Triple Threat in front of the judges. She had a Lamburger with Tzatziki sauce; a traditional New Mexico green chili burger; and an Asian burger with pork, beef, ginger, chili sauce, garlic and soy sauce.


Cook-off Challenge
Saturday vs. UTEP has barbeque ribs on the parking lot menu

That last recipe sounds like it might work in this week's contest for ribs. If so, Armstrong isn't giving any hints about her "secret recipe." However, she does plan on entering the contest every week because she will be spending a lot of time in the parking lot at University Stadium.

"My dad and my uncle have been tailgating for about 10 years," she said. "I'm usually right there with them when I'm in town. They set up Friday night and spend the night. We are there all day Saturday, stay up late, spend the night again and then leave Sunday morning."

Armstrong said she moved back to Albuquerque this August after spending time in Alaska and Oklahoma. The Highland High graduate said she is "a little skeptical" about a Lobo win Saturday against the UTEP Miners because "UTEP is pretty good."

However, she does think she has a good chance to win the rib-cooking contest. Any tailgaters who think they can beat her need to show up between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the booth located next to the KKOB Budweiser Tailgate Show booth. That's at the North side of University Stadium near Gate 8.

The contest, sponsored by Albertsons, Pepsi and Route 66 Casino & Hotel, is free. The weekly winner gets a night's stay at Route 66, a $50 gift certificate to 66's Thunder Road Steakhouse, and a case of Pepsi.

The three runners-up each week get a Lobo Car Flag, a Lobo Car Magnet, a Lobo Tailgate Chair and a 12-pack of Pepsi. The first 20 contest entries get two tickets to a Lobo Olympic Sports event of their choice.

Here's the culinary order and challenges for the rest of the UNM home games: -- Oct. 2 vs. UTEP -- Ribs -- Oct. 23 vs. San Diego State -- brisket -- Nov. 6 vs. Wyoming -- green chili stew -- Nov. 27 vs. TCU -- chicken/turkey or any poultry.