Homecoming traditions

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Alejandro Aguirre | The Daily Wildcat The Vorholzer family in front of their tailgate RV, "Thunder".

Homecoming Week here at the University of Arizona is about coming home to traditions, gathering with old friends and celebrating the meaning of being a Wildcat. What better way to be welcomed home than by a good, old-fashioned tailgate?

The Vorholzer family in particular have been dedicated to UA football and tailgating for many years through three generations of Wildcats under their belts, with another on the way.

"We've always tailgated for all the football games," Terri Vorholzer, the mother and 1986 UA alumna, said. Terri graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in operations management in 1986. "We support the university."

According to Terri Vorholzer, the family has been participating in the tailgate tradition since her days of studying at the UA. She has been employed as the UA College of Medicine's department administrator for 30 years, and is now planning to retire next year.

Two of the Vorholzer daughters, Kristen and Courtney, have both attended the UA as well Kristen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies in 2011 and obtained a Master's in nursing in 2016, Courtney completed a Bachelor's degree in speech, language and hearing science in 2012, with a Master's in speech pathology from Washington State University in 2014. Rebecca Vorholzer, the youngest daughter, is currently a junior studying pre-elementary education at the College of Education.

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“We always have really good food, a great atmosphere. Everything is just so much fun, especially with my family,” Rebecca Vorholzer said.

The whole family commented on how they like to watch the parade come around the UA Mall during the tailgates. 

“I like when the alumni band comes around the tailgates and performs, and the cheerleaders come by. I think it makes it more personable,” Kristen Vorholzer said.

Their RV known by the name of “Thunder,” is covered both inside and out with UA-themed decor and colors to show school spirit.

According to Steve Vorholzer, Terri Vorholzer’s husband, there are three numbers that correspond to football players on the back of the RV: Jake Fischer (33), Paul Vassallo (41) and Lamont Hunley (50). The Vorholzers are also good friends with former UA football coach Tim Kish, who stopped by their RV during a previous Family Weekend to join in the festivities.

At every tailgate, there are tables on the outside covered with homemade food. Terri Vorholzer discussed how they like to make carne asada, rice and beans. She said that anyone that comes usually brings their own dishes to add to the table.

According to both Terri Vorholzer and Kristen Vorholzer, the family motto is “You can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning.”

"Anyone is always welcome to come by and join in the fun," Terri Vorholzer said.

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“The kids like hosting their friends. A lot of their friends are here without families and are here from out of town,” Terri Vorholzer said. “A lot of [Rebecca’s] friends didn’t have places to go for tailgate, so we always made food and they have dinner, they have drinks and go to the game.”

The whole family really enjoys just spending time together. They all get together very frequently, even outside of UA sports games.

When discussing favorite times to tailgate, Rebecca Vorholzer said it was during Homecoming.

“Homecoming is always a lot of fun because we have a lot of alumni stop by," Rebecca Vorholzer said. "My mom went to the UA and a lot of her friends from college come, and I get to meet new people.”

There’s always music, food, drinks and good family fun at the Vorholzer tailgate each weekend. They have season tickets and always make time to spend with one another in support of UA football.



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