COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — After nearly a century, a Buckeye game tradition is having its last hurrah.
The Roemer family has hosted a tailgate at every Ohio State University home game for more than 90 years. After four generations of pre-game cheer, Saturday’s rivalry game tailgate will be their last.
“My grandfather, he graduated from Ohio State sometime around 1930 and commenced hosting folks, friends, family, business colleges at the tailgates right around the time he graduated,” Wellington “Rocky” Roemer III said.
The tailgate soon became a family tradition — the role of tailgate host passed from Roemer III’s grandfather to his father, Wellington Roemer II, in the late 1960s. In 2006, Roemer II passed the torch to Roemer III. When it came time to turn the responsibility over to the next generation, Roemer III’s daughter MacLaren took the charge.
The Roemer family hails from Toledo — about a mile from the Michigan border.
“We like to say that we defend the northern border,” Roemer III said.
They’ve dutifully traveled down to Columbus for every home game. Over the years, the tailgate has gained notoriety among fans and players alike — including former quarterback J.T. Barrett.
But with Roemer III, as he said, with “plenty of birthday candles” on his cake, and his daughter entering her third year of law school, the family knew that like all good things, their signature tailgate must come to an end.
And what better way to end it, Roemer III said, than with the biggest Buckeyes game of the year.
“The game, it eclipses everything else. It eclipses every other Buckeye game,” Roemer III said. “It eclipses most everything in some of our minds.”
The Roemer family will be at Ohio Stadium bright and early Saturday, on the east side of the parking lot — the same spot they’ve been in for every other Buckeyes game.