9:15 a.m. UPDATED WITH VIDEO Emily Posts: Tailgaters know how to party at the Fiesta Bowl (See photo gallery)

January 9, 2007 

My shot of the Bottles family, who traveled from Boise to celebrate their grandpa's 70th birthday at the Fiesta Bowl.

EMILY SIMNITT / IDAHO STATESMAN

Click here to watch video of Fiesta Bowl tailgater Melissa Smith and her group rock out to the BSU fight song.

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I met Boise tailgater Melissa Smith in the University of Phoenix Stadium parking lot a couple of hours before the Broncos embarked on their now-famous Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma.

She kindly climbed out of the back of the truck where she'd been dancing since 9 a.m. to talk with me about getting to the stadium early enough in the day to get front-row tailgating position.

"I've been a fan forever," said Smith, a Boise State University student who traveled to Arizona with 15 other Bronco fans to "Amp It Up" in the parking lot and cheer on their team.

The group serenaded me and my video camera with the BSU fight song (you can watch that video at IdahoStatesman.com).

"Go, fight, BSU!"

It wasn't the first time I heard the song during my six days in Phoenix. It certainly wouldn't be the last.

As part of my duties as online reporter, I get to go out into the community, looking for interesting people doing interesting things.

Sure, there's plenty of that going on right here in Boise — and I plan to cover as much of that as I can in the coming months.

But when the opportunity came up to travel to the Fiesta Bowl to cover fan festivities, well, I couldn't really pass that up, could I?

The trip gave me the opportunity to meet people like Smith, and people like Jason Fenwick, who I encountered while waiting in line to use the conveniently blue-colored port-a-potties.

"I'm just amazed at how many Bronco fans there are out here," said Fenwick, who proclaimed his own fan status with the BSU logo on his sombrero.

Fenwick told me there was a little food and plenty of "liquid refreshment" at his tailgate party.

That, my friends, is tailgating done right.

And that's how Glen Smith and his crew did it, too.

Glen and his tailgating friends and family have been eating fried turkey and steak before BSU football games since 1987.

Some of the group of 14 (there are about 25 total regulars) that I met drove down to Arizona from Boise; others flew.

But they all washed down their fried chicken and hotdogs (turkey and steak substitutes, respectively) with plenty of beer.

"It's cool here how the fans have bonded," said Denise Lau, a member of the group. "Everyone is buddies in the airport and the hotels."

"We got lots of high fives at the block party," said Glen, about the New Year's Eve party he and about a billion other BSU fans attended in Tempe the previous night. (I was there, too, and I'm pretty sure the orange and blue outnumbered the red and white Oklahoma fans 15 to one.)

The pre-game parking lot community had plenty of family-friendly fare, too.

I met Nathan Kent, 9, and Connor Kent, 12, who had plenty of fun at the official tailgate party on the other side of the stadium.

They showed me the booty they'd won: a taco-shaped Fiesta Bowl hat; several orange headbands.

"We've gone to every booth," said dad Corey Kent. "It's kid heaven."

And BSU-fan heaven, too.

Emily Simnitt is the Idaho Statesman's online reporter. To offer story ideas or comments, contact her at esimnitt@idahostatesman.com or 377-6429. Check out her stories at IdahoStatesman.com/Simnitt.

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