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Tailgate! Football, food, fun planned April 23 inside, near Huskie Stadium during ‘Showdown’

March 31, 2011
NIU football coach Dave Doeren leads drills at a recent spring practice.

NIU football coach Dave Doeren leads drills at a recent spring practice.

Northern Illinois fans are invited to enjoy a day of food, fun and Huskie football Saturday, April 23, at Huskie Stadium.

The action gets under way at noon on the west side of Huskie Stadium with the Fifth Annual Huskie Athletic Support Fund Tailgate Showdown, and continues inside the stadium beginning at 2 p.m. as new NIU head coach Dave Doeren concludes spring practices with the 2011 Spring Football Game.

The HASF Tailgate Showdown once will again feature fantastic and unique offerings from some of the top tailgating teams at Northern Illinois, as well as fare from several local restaurants.

For $15 (for adults) or $10 (children 14 and younger), fans can taste away, then vote for their favorites. Attendees can pay the entry fee at the door with cash the only form of payment accepted for entrance.

This year’s Tailgate Showdown also will include a silent auction with great items, NIU memorabilia and fan experiences up for bid to get every diehard Huskie prepared for the 2011 football season.

All proceeds from the Tailgate Showdown supports Northern Illinois student-athletes from all 17 NIU sports teams through the Huskie Athletic Support Fund, the primary direct support organization for NIU Athletics. The HASF annually distributes the money it raises directly into each program’s sport budget.

At approximately 2 p.m., the Northern Illinois football team will hit the field for the 2011 NIU Football Spring Game.

Admission to the last of NIU’s 15 spring football practices as well as parking for both the HASF Tailgate Showdown and the game, is free. Fans can park on the street or in the Convocation Center lots adjacent to the stadium.

There also will be a table on the west side of Huskie Stadium where NIU fans can renew or order 2011 football season tickets in time to make the priority deadline of April 30. Season tickets are on sale for just $99 for the general public or $88 for NIU faculty and staff, senior citizens, and NIU Alumni Association or Varsity Club members. Available seats will be marked in the stadium. Season ticket holders sit in that same great seat for all six 2011 home games in Huskie Stadium at a 33 percent discount off the single game price.

Northern Illinois fans are urged to order season tickets as soon as possible, and no later than April 30, in order to take advantage of the $15 discount on tickets to Soldier Field Showdown II available to all NIU full season ticket holders. On May 9, tickets to Soldier Field Showdown II, the game between Northern Illinois and Wisconsin in Chicago’s historic stadium, will go on sale to the general public and seat availability cannot be guaranteed. 

In addition to Huskie football, fans on campus can catch the NIU baseball, softball, women’s track and field and women’s tennis teams in action April 23.

The Huskie baseball team takes on Toledo at 1:05 p.m. at Ralph McKinzie Field, while softball alsp will meet the Rockets in a MAC match-up at 2 p.m. at Mary M. Bell Field. Women’s track and field plays host to the Huskie Invitational at the NIU Soccer & Track Complex with field events beginning at 10 a.m. and running events at 11 a.m.

Finally, the Northern Illinois women’s tennis team faces off against Bowling Green at 1 p.m. at the West Stadium Courts adjacent to McKinzie Field. All of the Northern Illinois spring sports action is free.

For more information on the HASF Tailgate Showdown or the NIU Spring Football game, contact the NIU Athletics External Office at (815) 753-1923. For more information on 2011 football tickets, including tickets to Soldier Field Showdown II, go to the special football tickets website at

More information on all Huskie athletics is available at