Tailgating at sporting events has been part of the sporting experience for as long as anyone can remember. It brings fans together to share more then just our teams records and stats. Timothy Shanley has used his love for tailgating to also unite his community and feed thousands.
How long have you been a fan?
Tim: Three words. “My whole life”. (But that’s too easy and 195 words shy of the required minimum!). So lets sit back and I hope you can enjoy my story as much as I enjoy telling it! April 15th 1960 @ 12:33 a.m. That’s the moment I was born a Bears fan. And I was raised no more than four miles from Soldier Field in a blue collar neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago. My father, a hard working Southside Irishman, owned a corner bar just 2 blocks from our house in the old neighborhood. He loved to entertain. He would always be the one to grill at all the family parties, no matter who’s house the party was at. And he was all about sports. He passed away when I was sixteen years old. I lost my dad to cancer. But while he was alive, he was a Chicago sports fanatic and I would always be at his side. It was the late 60’s, I was eight or nine years old. The Cubs with Ron Santo playing day baseball all summer long at Wrigley on WGN. Sunday nights in the winter is was Blackhawk Hockey with Bobby Hull scoring goals on WGN. And on Sunday afternoons in the fall, it was the Chicago Bears with future Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers wreaking havoc on both sides of the ball. And he loved the Bears more than them all. Obviously, through my fathers influence and passion, Bears Football was instilled in me. I grew up around it and it really resonated with me. I now have seven year old twin girls who have been raised Bears fans since they were born. We are carrying on so that they are sure to be the next generation of the Shanley Family to have Chicago Bears Football play a big role in their lives. We’re heading back to 1971 now. That’s when the Bears moved out of Wrigley and into Soldier Field. And that’s when I went to my first Bears game. I was an eleven year old kid hanging out with my dad at Soldier Field. Second row, fifty yard line sitting with my hero! I was hooked. I can still envision it like it was yesterday. All the sights and sounds of NFL Football! What I remember most about that sunny fall afternoon was how different it all seemed to be out there instead of at home. I was used to hearing the play by play and color announcers do their thing on TV. It seemed very strange, but little did I know back in 1971 as that eleven year old kid hanging out with his dad that I would become very accustomed to watching Bears football live at Soldier. In 1984 the streak started. That’s when I started to go to every home game. And since then I have been to over 250 Bears games. I’m not perfect though because I have missed a total of 7 home games…in the past 32 years. I have been through a stadium renovation that forced us to abandon our traditions and everything we knew through change, yet we still managed to stay the same. I have witnessed and felt the euphoria that goes along with winning 2 NFC Championship Games at Soldier and realizing that you are one victory away from being Super Bowl Champions. I have also witnessed and felt the numbing, gut wrenching pain of losing 2 NFC Championships at home and falling one victory short of reaching the Ultimate Game. Brutal cold and wind off the shores of Lake Michigan. Snow, rain , sleet, hail and sunshine. Winning seasons and dreadfully long lost seasons, I have been through it all. And in 2008 I decided to move 1000 miles from Chicago out to Austin Tx. to raise my family, and I have traveled back to Chicago for every home game since then as well. That is a 2000 mile trip each game, 16,000 miles for the season. Throw a couple playoff games in the mix and I am at approx. 134,000 miles of travel since 2008. It makes going back to Soldier for each game even more special. 32 years now. Those familiar sights and sounds. They fill the air just as they did back in 1971 on that sunny fall afternoon when I hung out with my dad as that eleven year old kid at Soldier Field. I miss that man. That’s why I do this. The connection runs that deep.
Why should you be selected winner?
Tim: This is a tough one right here. “This is pat your own back time”. But here’s the thing. We are all the same. We all have a story. Something in all of our respective sports genres affected us in such a manner that we feel this insatiable urge to go over the top. It starts out small, but if you do it right it gets bigger. Something clicks. We are never satisfied. We are all striving to reach higher goals and aspirations because we all believe that there isn’t anywhere to go but up. And quite honestly, it’s that exact inner drive and passion that leads me and has me already wondering how I can achieve being not only Best Tailgating Club, but also What A Fans NFL Fan Of The Year, and then on to the big boy, The Ultimate Sports Fan Award. Its not arrogance, its pure unadulterated blind passion that leads me to strongly feel this way. Without it, none of us would be here as a nominee. And we are all carrying a cause with us along the way. The hungry, the homeless, victims of crimes, or people that lose their homes to weather related tragedies. The list goes on and on. It amazes me all of the good things that the Superstars Of The Stands have done, and will continue to do not only in the U.S. but across the world through our passion for sport. And What A Fan has brought us all together! As I’m writing this, I am starting to realize the tough decisions that need to be made by the judges. How in the world do you make this decision? What is going to make the difference between being chosen or not between a group that is all exactly the same, yet just a little different? You need to be impressed. And I’m gonna give it my best shot. * ’84 Started a streak of missing only 7 home games. * ’08 Moved to Austin Tx. and fly home for every game…134,000 miles and counting * ’08 Charter Member/Tailgating Hall of Fame * ’09 – The Food Network filmed in Buffalo N.Y. Champion – Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri * ’10 The Food Network filmed in San Francisco Ca. Runner Up – Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri * ’12 Formed Da Bus’ charity known as Tailgating For Hunger * ’16 Chicago’s Best TV with Brittany Payton – Best Tailgating Fare * ’16 Chicago Bears- Inside The Bears TV filmed a segment about Da Bus on location * ’16 Chicago Bears @ Soldier Field – Inside The Bears TV Live bump at Soldier during a game in front of 62,000 fans complimenting Da Bus and its Crew on how we represent The Chicago Bears Football Club. * ’16 What A Fan Nominee Da Bus, is the Iconic tailgating machine that has been out on the blacktop at Soldier since 1990. Rumor has it that some of the Cops that live in my old Southside neighborhood won Da Bus in a card game in a junkyard. The owner lost a hand, and gave the keys and the title to an old 1974 school bus over to one of them. The boys took it home, splashed a coat of Navy blue paint on the old 1974, and rolled it out to Soldier as Da Bus. Ten years later, the old Crew was getting burnt out. They needed new energy, and they knew they had the right guy. So in 2000, they handed me the keys and the title. Just like that, the old ’74 former school bus once again was entering a new phase. In 2000, I was already in my in my 17th season. Probably missed 2 or 3 games during that span. Soldier was like a second home to me. I knew everyone, and tailgated out there with perfect strangers who are now lifelong friends. And I always stepped in to do the grilling. It was like I was being groomed out there for 17 seasons. Once I had Da Bus, I knew exactly what to do. So just like my father, I now had a way to grill and entertain. And it all happens just 4 miles from where I grew up and the corner bar that he owned. I was in my wheel house and already looking past my immediate friends and family. I wanted to reach out to everyone, everywhere and have anyone come out to Da Bus and have a great time. So I created the open door policy. Da Bus already had made a splash in Chicago over the ten years it was run by the original owner. It had an impeccable image and was steeped in tradition. And I wanted to lead the way in shedding that frat house, backward hat drunk by 9:00a.m. image that smashes our reputation out there on the blacktop. I wanted to have a family fun environment that was comfortable for children and adults alike. That’s the image that I was successful in portraying to the public, and something that I am very proud of. As soon as I rolled into Soldier with Da Bus, the cameras were there. Opening day, one of the local stations stopped over to interview me and I just remember the rush that I felt when that little red light lit up and camera started rolling. I was attracted to the camera like a bug to a porch light! And they liked me. They kept coming and I kept them entertained. In a natural progression, I was transforming into Timmy from Da Bus. The front man of the Crew from Da Bus. Da Bus exploded back onto the scene. People from all over, different groups of 3 or 4 started popping up. No one knew each other outside of Da Bus’ tailgate party, but you wouldn’t know it. People started to come from all around the league when their teams were in town as well. Everyone out there all getting along and enjoying their experience at Da Bus. I created the perfect game day experience in Chicago. And they came hungry. Real hungry. And there was no way Timmy from Da Bus was going to tarnish his rising reputation as a griller/entertainer by serving hot dogs, burgers and that yellowish store bought potato salad. It was not only time to sharpen the culinary skills, but come up with ways to entertain them by making the cooking line the focal point of the party. So my partner in Da Bus Robert Brombereck a.k.a. Da Bus Doctor decided he was going to design unique grills, grilling concepts and techniques for our recipes. We now had an arsenal of quirky grills pushing out huge amounts of great food for the huge crowds that were showing up. The word was starting to spread and our reputation was growing about our food and our unique style and presentation. Awards and accolades started coming our way. That’s when all of our grilling and entertaining antics garnered the attention of The Food Network. They sent us out to Buffalo N.Y. to compete in a new show called Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri. Da Bus hit the big time. An hour long program on National TV featuring Da Bus against a Crew of Bills fans. We came out on top by a slim margin and we were crowned The Food Network’s Tailgate Warrior Champions! They called us back the following year in 2010 to compete for another Tailgate Warrior Championship where unfortunately, Da Bus was the runner-up. We now were the big dogs on the block. I have the media now in my back pocket and I know I can use this to get the message out. We already went out and hand picked The Mercy Home or Boys and Girls in Chicago, and The Pacific Garden Mission for the homeless as the Charities we wanted to get behind. And we got behind them in a big way. Da Bus parlayed its exposure to include its Charity called Tailgating For Hunger which we will talk about 5 columns down from here. So there you have it. You asked me why I felt I deserved to be chosen, and I really didn’t even answer. I just tried to impress you and give myself a chance. And I hope that my passion and actions speak for themselves and can help lead me to be chosen!
What triggered your passion for sports?
Tim: By now, we all know it was my father. I am 56 years old now. He died 40 years ago, just a few short years after our first Bears game together in 1971. Stop and think how long ago that was. And I really didn’t see the comparison of what I do out there and how its geared out of respect to carry on his legacy, and to deal with the pain that is still in the forefront of my emotions even though we lost him so long ago. I put a tremendous amount of responsibility into what I do, and sometimes its not that easy. When early September hits I have to balance my business, my family, the 2000 mile 72 hour trip to Chicago 8 times, Da Bus, the menu, plans for any upcoming media, and Tailgating For Hunger…just to name a few. This is exactly what I was talking about earlier. The inner drive, passion and the need to push your limitations aside is the nature of the beast. It’s what makes us tick. Living in Austin makes the football game itself even more special. I get to see my friends and family. Chicago’s magnificent skyline pops up as we walk out of the McCormick Place tunnel during our game day trek to Soldier for kick-off. I have only missed that walk 7 times in 32 years. And there are many of those walks where I kind of tune out from all the conversation and excitement for a minute. I think about how long I have been doing this. How important it is to have my wife stand behind me and support my antics. How many changes I have been through, and just how much satisfaction this all brings me. But most of all, I have envisioned my father looking down at me above Soldier field and liking what he sees. Approaching Section 203 is always the same. High fivin’, finger pointin’ and smiling all the way there. I know some of them by name, but most are just familiar faces that all gather together on game day with one common goal, A Chicago Bears victory! Finally its time to watch Bears Football one thousand miles from home! You talk about a feeling of accomplishment and passion? Please try to put yourself in my Bears Nike shoes, and think about all that I have accomplished before our noon kickoff and making it to my seat! Bear Down from Da Bus!
How do you manage all the publicity you receive?
Tim: Well, when it comes to being attracted to the camera I have already compared myself like a bug to a porch light. Documentaries, local and National media, 2 one hour segments on The Food Network has kept me in front of the camera. I am a self proclaimed high tech casualty, so it’s lots of fun and a great challenge for me to put them together. I feel that video is a extremely powerful tool, especially now with social media and I have been very and careful and deliberate as to how Da Bus, Tailgating For Hunger and every detail that goes along with Timmy from Da Bus is thought out. The videos, pics and portrayals of Da Bus are all clean. You see massive grills, lots of food, smiling faces and children. This is a true representation of how Da Bus rolls. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than what’s a two minute video worth? If you can please check with Lowell, perhaps he can show you a parody I did in honor of my What A Fan nomination. Its a spin on The Blues Brothers which is easy to relate to due to being raised in that blue collar Southside Chicago neighborhood. Just like Jake and Elwood, we’re also on a mission…to help the kids at The Mercy Home for Boys and girls along with the homeless in the Pacific Garden Mission Instead of The Blues Mobile we have Da Bus with a top speed of 54 miles per hour. Throw in The Peter Gunn Theme as the soundtrack and you have the perfect parody!
Favorite sports moment?
Tim: It doesn’t snow much in Chicago during the football season but it sure did during that magical moment. The crowd was in a massive frenzy of wild celebration. It’s as if Papa Bear Halas somehow pulled some strings up there and the skies opened up and dropped a swirling snow on Soldier with just minutes to play. The ’85 NFC Championship at Soldier Field! The Rams have the ball down 17-0. Richard Dent sacks Dieter Brock from the Rams. Wilbur Marshall scoops up the ball and is lead into the southeast corner of the end zone by Otis Wilson and Refrigerator Perry! I was in the first row down there in the southeast corner hanging over the rail and I was whipped up into a euphoric frenzy! The Bears defense was no more than 10 yards away from me celebrating wildly as the snow kept coming down. We were headed to Super Bowl XX! A story book ending for one of the most dominate defenses in NFL history! The is giving me the chills all over again as I am re-living the moment! There was an old man who seemed to be in his 70’s standing next to me by himself. I could see he was just standing there soaking it all in as the euphoric frenzy was growing around us. I remember putting my arms around him. Bear Huggin” him if you will. I remember telling him that this one was for him. He waited his lifetime to see this and its finally here! “Don’t worry” I remember telling him, “We’ll have a lot more of these!” Well that was 31 years ago. We went back to the Super Bowl in ’06. And it snowed again as Urlacher held the George Halas Trophy which is awarded to the NFC Champions in ’06! We brought the trophy back home and were heading back to the Super Bowl. The city was once again all revved up and ready to take on the excitement and fervor that the Super Bowl brings, but it couldn’t match up to that ’85 squad. We lost to Payton Manning and the Colts, and we haven’t been back since. The ’85 Bears made such an impact on the city of Chicago as a whole. Those marauding Monsters of the Midway are still relevant to this day and their unique personalities have made them legendary figures that will last forever in the Chicago sports scene. That moment in the southeast corner of the end zone at Soldier in ’85 will stand the test of time as my greatest sports moment.
Who would you like to meet and why?
Tim: Who would I like to meet? Another great question, because I really don’t have an answer. I could say George S. Halas or Walter Payton. JFK or Lincoln. You get to pick one, no matter who it is. And after you go over your list, no matter who you pick, you’re still going to feel as if you missed out on something because of the option that you were given. I mean could you imagine Halas telling me a story about some train ride back from Lambeau after a Bears victory? Or JFK talking to me about my neighbor, Mayor Richard Daley and how his Democratic Machine in Chicago helped push him over the top in the Presidential election? How do you choose one? I am not taking the easy way out here. But I am picking my father. Yea, I know, I already knew him. He raised me into the man that I am. I was 16 years old when he died. I am 8 years older now than he was when he died. If I was to meet him now, I wonder if he would he still be 48 years old? Would I be talking to my father who would be younger than me? How much time would I get to spend with him? I would talk to him about his family. Talk to him about his wife and how she kept us together, raising 3 kids on her own, and did a great job. Tell him about his 4 grandkids and how they know of him, but never had the chance to meet him. I would let him know that everything I do is geared at filling the void of his early exit. Ask him if he’s proud of what he sees. Tell him I love him, that we all love him. And how would I be able to let him go…again? How could I stand there and just watch him kind of fade away, never knowing if I would ever see him again? It would be the most heart-breaking moment of my life to lose him again, but one of life’s greatest gifts to be able to be that close to him again, even if it only was for a few minutes.
What charities are you involved with?
Tim: Tailgating For Hunger. In 2010 our grilling antics and the fact that we have to do everything big, again came into play. Robert Brombereck a.k.a. Da Bus Doctor called to tell me our next big grilling adventure was to cook an entire cow! So we started designing a rotisserie that would spin an 800 pound cow. About 18 months and $70,000.00 later, we were ready. It takes 1 ton of charcoal, and about 16 hours to cook the cow. The cow is halved and mounted to the 2″ wide stainless steel silhouette that is hollow on the inside which allows circulated avocado oil that heats through the charcoal to help cook the cow from the inside. We have internal thermometers that we place in certain parts of the cow to get temperature read outs on to our computer system in those spots. We hired our own health inspector to follow our procedures every step of the way. We were now spinning 800 pound cows as smooth and easy as it is to cook for the crowds that show up at Da Bus! After processing, we yield approx. 500 pounds of beef. With our commercial slicers and shredders, we went to work. We used our commercial vacuum sealer to complete the mission and the deep freezer was fully stocked for the upcoming season! The Chicago Beef Sandwich is a well known staple. 1/4 pound of beef, rare, thinly sliced and dipped in au jus on French bread and topped with giardiniera. That got me to thinking that I was sitting on approx. 2000 Chicago Beef Sandwiches. And that’s when the light bulb went on! I was already knocking on the door of The Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago to see if Da Bus could start rolling in to help the kids out in any way. Maybe pulling up on campus, grilling hot dogs, serving chips and bottled water, things like that. But they kindly rejected me telling me that we really didn’t fit in. The Mercy Home Campus houses, protects and educates kids that were abandoned by parents with drug and alcohol issues. Tailgaters? That beer guzzling backward hat image that I have fought hard to relinquish out there turns around and knocks me out of the box. The challenge was on! It made me determined to have them accept us and realize that The Crew of Da Bus represents good clean family fun. That we have huge aspirations and capabilities to help out The Mercy Home. I was fighting for our reputation as well as accepting a challenge that I really didn’t have a chance to win. I would be back, but right now I still had 2000 beef sandwiches to give away. So I went to The Pacific Garden Mission that houses adults that are homeless and have issues of that sort. We were welcomed with open arms! We finally found a home our 2000 Chicago Beef Sandwiches! So I went to work. I decided that the Bears home opener would be the perfect weekend to kick off Tailgating For Hunger. I had already knew that Da Bus would be hosting a tailgate party live outside Fox Studios on the Friday morning prior to the opener. Live band, grills smoking, great food and fun outside the studio. We were going to be the focal point with numerous bumps and interviews. I went to the producers and explained to them that I am always doing the same thing out here and its time to change it up a little bit. So it was time to look beyond our own self promotion and give up those opportunities for a bigger cause. I took along the Pastor of The Pacific Garden Mission and some of his staff with us to be a big part of the show. I let them take the big segments that we were allotted to talk about his Mission. He spoke highly of us and how we came knocking on his door to help out. Da Bus and its Crew looked polished and professional. And that damn backward hat, beer guzzling, drunk by noon image was finally fading away in Da Bus’ rear view mirror. We spun another cow on The Bears opener right next to Da Bus in the 31st. Street Tailgating Lot. ESPN and local media popped up and I kept pushing Tailgating For Hunger. By the end of the day, Da Bus was able to feed 2000 homeless and hungry people at The Pacific Garden Mission. Tailgating For Hunger was on the map! So with all of that exposure and success, I was back knocking on The Mercy Home’s door beaming with confidence that Da Bus could now help out the kids. And I was turned away again! This time it wasn’t that we didn’t measure up to their standards, it was a whole other issue that I didn’t see coming. The Division of Children and Family Services. The big dog that oversees all when it comes to these types of charities. And the problem is that if the kids were served prepared food like this and one of them gets sick then the DCFS would pull their license for not following proper protocol. I was turned away, but still not giving up! So my next brainstorm was to go to the local packing houses and meat plants in Chicago and get them to donate fresh and/or frozen meat exclusively intended for The Mercy Home. I would then deliver all the product from the packing plant directly to The Mercy Home’s freezer. Da Bus would sort of be the middle man in this type of process, while making sure that everyone would get their due. And The Mercy Home finally agreed! After years of trying to just get the chance to help them, Da Bus was finally accepted. We started bringing in fresh beef and pork 500 pounds at a time. And 2016 opening day was approaching, it was TV time once again. This time we were live in another location with Da Bus while I had the spokesperson from the Mercy Home at Fox Studios. And Fox let us roll. We were live from Da Bus promoting Tailgating For Hunger and The Mercy Home one minute, and the next they were back at the studio talking to The Mercy Home rep. I had put together a two tiered promotion to get out the word. We looked even more polished and professional than ever before. We finally realized our dream and reached our goal to be accepted as a responsible, more than able unit that can help feed these two charities in Chicago in a very big way. We are now trying to negotiate with Kingsford Charcoal to sponsor Tailgating For Hunger for disaster relief across the Midwest. We can spin a cow and put out 500 pounds of beef every 16 hours or so. Once again 2000 sandwiches a day for those who could really use one.
How does your family feel about your dedication to sports?
Tim: When my wife and I lived 4 miles from Soldier, everything was seamless. Everything right there. I was out the door on Sunday morning at 5:30 a.m. and I was setting up by 6:00. Then I would be all cleaned up and home by early evening. She would venture out to Da Bus from time to time to hang out then take the ten minute ride home when she was done. We didn’t have kids yet, we were free and easy. Everything so close and convenient. Then in ’07 we decided to move to Austin Tx. We were pregnant with twin girls when we left, and they were born in April of ’08. That was 5 months prior to opening day at Soldier. And I was now living 1000 miles away. With blind passion leading the way, I figured 8 quick weekends a year is not a big deal to travel back and forth to Chicago. Arrive Friday morning, get Da Bus squared away. Saturday is all food shopping and prepping. Sunday after the game strip it down, then fly home early Monday morning. The plan was working smoothly, running on all cylinders. Well, at least that’s what I thought. But my wife had a completely different outlook on the whole scenario. It was too much, she said. Newborn twins, no real support system or help in Austin. We had only been there 5 months. The pressure started to build. For the first time in the nine seasons that I owned Da Bus, my back was against the wall. I didn’t know what to do. I knew that I couldn’t just throw in the towel and hand the keys over to someone else. Da Bus and all it stands for had become a reflection of who I was. So I struggled through the first three seasons, and it had taken its toll. I would be in Chicago. Timmy from Da Bus running at full speed.. Entertaining and smiling the whole way while being nervous and unhappy on the inside.. This was truly becoming a major issue in our household, and there wasn’t anything I could say to defend the whole scenario. As big as Da Bus is to me, I would be nothing without my family. I had no choice but to hang it all up and walk away. T hese truly were the dark days. Then one day when the twins were about 4 years old, they found my Tailgate Warriors video from The Food Network. We popped it in and they were blown away! Seeing their father on TV, all the cooking and grilling going on. They watched it over and over. Next thing you know, they are in the kitchen really wanting to help cook real food. No more playing around in the play kitchen. They started singing Bear Down Chicago Bears. They started watching The Food Network over cartoons on Saturday and Sunday mornings. We allowed a film crew from Chicago into our house that is doing a documentary on extreme Bears fans. They kind of filmed the family doing just regular every day stuff. It was nap time for the girls, and as they followed me into one of the girls rooms As I put her down, she asks for a drink of water. With my wife and the film crew all in her room, as if on cue she says “Daddy, can you put it in the Bears glass?’ And that was it. That little shining moment of unscripted innocence had single-handedly taken over the room. They were all shaking their heads in there. And when I turned to see how my wife was reacting toward all this, she was smiling and truly happy about something that means much to me. I think that was a defining moment for her. It all started to add up. She realized what this all meant to me, and how it had become a big part of our family. The stress that all this traveling brought to the table has been replaced with her standing behind me all the way. We settled in, met some new friends. We have a support system in place now to help out during those hectic 4 months and everything is now running on all cylinders. Now as I am running out the door here in Austin a t4;30 a.m. to catch that flight, it’s a great feeling knowing that we’re all in this together!
What’s the story behind your man cave?
Tim: Ha! I probably have one of the more unique Man Cave’s out there. Mine is a 1974 former school bus. It was relinquished to a junk yard and headed to the crusher back in 1990. Then it was won in a card game when the keys and title were handed over to a group of cops from the Southside of Chicago. It was this group of Bears fans who originally owned Da Bus and rolled it out to Soldier over 25 years ago, back in 1990. Once they burned out in 2000 they gave me the title and keys and just like that, I owned Da Bus. But it was in bad shape once again. It was deserted, left to be next to the railroad tracks. So I started it up, slapped another fresh coat of paint on it and cleaned it up. But I left it old school. Basically the same as it was before I owned it. I wanted to play off the tradition and the reputation that Da Bus had already earned. I am just holding the keys right now, and someone will get da Bus the same way I did. It’s as simple as that. I have had over 40 Bears players than span 7 decades of Chicago Bears Football board and sign what I like to call “The Rolling Tribute to the Chicago Bears”. Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka , Stan Jones and Dan Hampton have signed it, just to name a few. Da Bus’ top speed is 54 miles per hour. We average about 32 miles a year to and from Soldier. 32 miles…a year. Yet we traveled to Miami in ’06 in Da Bus. The engine briefly caught on fire on the Turnpike a few hours north of Miami, but we died it out and kept on goin’. And on the way home we were trapped on I 65 North for hours due to a blizzard that led to a hazmat spill. Once again, we came another unique idea to grill. We pulled out the Weber Grill, planted it in the middle of the right lane of the Interstate and grilled hot dogs. Lots of hot dogs. We branded them with our branding iron, wrapped ’em up, grabbed a bottle of mustard and proceeded to walk up and down the highway giving away hot dogs in return for a “Bear Down” Needless to say , we received a lot of “Bear Down” and left everyone that was stranded with us within a quarter mile or so with something to eat and a great story to tell. Da Bus has been to Buffalo N.Y. and San Francisco to film Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri. And it is recognized by The Chicago Bears Football Club. It has hosted over 200 tailgate parties. And it represents a Crew that stands behind it with loyalty and respect. And I get to bring it with me anywhere that I go. How’s that for a Man Cave?
How important is this award for you?
Tim: It is important because we are the very reason sports are striving. TV revenues are through the roof. Multi-million dollar athletes are treated like rock stars. Ticket prices are always on the rise. And there is a lot of disappointment, as a matter of fact we go through way more heartache and pain than we do joy and happiness. There’s only one winner. It’s the nature of the beast. If you don’t finish on top, then you’re back at it a few months later, and we are back in the seats hoping that this will be the year. People like us go to extreme measures to feel like we are a part of something bigger. You read my story. It’s a mix of feeling the overwhelming accomplishment of grasping brass rings, and also the feeling of personal heartache and pain. If there weren’t any awards out there for people like us, we would all still be going at it anyway. It’s not the awards that push us. It’s something more, much more. But if you’re going to give them out, we are all going to give it all we have to try to win it. Another award and accolade to add to the collection…another notch in the belt.
WHAT A FANtastic feeling it would be to win! The idea of being chosen by a group of your peers and people that understand what it is you do on a personal basis is very gratifying. It gives you a sense of being part of a group of people that all understand what it takes. And it kind of gives you the big dog status. Something that would look extremely impressive on Da Bus’ list of accomplishments as I head out down the road to help feed the people who need it the most. So, thank you for your time. I know I wrote way too much, but I had a story to tell and thanks for the opportunity to do that. It was fun to look back on my long road traveled and re-live emotions and memories! Good luck to each and every 2016 What A Fan nominee!