The Tailgating Traditions of the Looser Family of Jackson!
An Interview With Liza Looser by Steve Vassallo
Enjoy the first in our series of Tailgating Traditions articles sponsored by Ole Miss Tailgating where you can even order Raising Cane’s® and Chick-fil-A® for your Grove Tent!
HottyToddy.com: Liza, for those readers who do not know you, tell us a little about your background and the dynamic company of yours.
Liza: Rick and I own The Cirlot Agency, www.cirlot.com, an advertising agency that specializes in global brand development, integrated communications and business development. We position companies and their products to sell in markets throughout the world. Our offices are in Jackson, Mississippi, and Washington D.C.
HottyToddy.com: Your children graduated from Ole Miss. Are they the primary reason that your family has become a Grove member?
Liza: We fell in love with Ole Miss when our Agency was hired to handle national and international media for the 2008 Presidential Debate between Obama and McCain. Having the privilege of working on campus for about a year and a half before the debate made quite an impact on us. Fortunately, our children had friends who introduced them to Ole Miss. Our daughter, Regan, wouldn’t even look at another university. Tripp was accepted to Ole Miss and Alabama but after an interview with the Lott Leadership Institute, KA’s Hayseed recruitment weekend and a one-on-one visit with Dr. Robert Khayat, he chose Ole Miss! Alabama didn’t stand a chance.
HottyToddy.com: When did your tailgating ritual truly commence?
Liza: Our daughter’s freshman year of 2009 brought us together with friends who had children here, as well. Rusty and Carol Barnes, who both graduated from Ole Miss, asked if we wanted to tailgate together and it has grown from basically two couples to nine.
HottyToddy.com: Where do you set up each fall?
Liza: In the general area behind Ventress and Croft. SevenSouth does a GREAT job setting everything up before we arrive, so all we have to do is bring food then sit back and relax!
HottyToddy.com: Was there any adjustment for you and your husband becoming Ole Miss fans or did it just come naturally?
Liza: Rick was born and raised in Northport, Alabama, a small community next to Tuscaloosa. He graduated from Alabama and is currently an adjunct professor at the School of Communications at Alabama. His mother and sisters graduated from Alabama and his father graduated from Auburn. Just before our first football season in 2009, I will never forget his comment “I’ll tailgate, but if I want to see real football being played, I’ll go to Tuscaloosa.” Fast forward, we have been season ticket holders for 8 years. You should have seen his face during the last two Ole Miss/Alabama games. The first year was, “Wow! Oh well, they deserve to win once every 20 years. I’m glad our children finally got to experience a win against Bama,” to that blank stare ahead with pursed lips and shaking his head in disbelief after a Rebel win last year. But hands down, we wouldn’t want to trade it for any other place in the South. We definitely feel part of Ole Miss and the Oxford community.
HottyToddy.com: Tailgating is a great deal of work. Is it worth all the time and effort?
Liza: We have the best tailgating group ever! I’ve already mentioned Rusty and Carol Barnes, there is also Ricky and Tina Myers, Eugene and Lori Starks, Cliff and Angela Osbon, Doctors Rob McMurray and Miriam Shatley, Ben and Lisa Barrack, Mike and Melissa Naylor and Byron and Lissa Galloway. Each couple takes one game a year to host and then you’re done for the rest of football season, so it is actually quite easy.
HottyToddy.com: What do you enjoy most about the football weekends?
Liza: In one word, laughter. It is just great to catch up with the children of our group and their friends as well as one another. Everyone needs a low-stress outlet and ours is definitely Oxford, Mississippi throughout the year.
HottyToddy.com: Do you have a weekend home in Oxford or do you travel back to the Jackson metro following the games?
Liza: We were blessed to find a great second home in 2010 that is the perfect size for our family and plan to keep it for years to come.
HottyToddy.com: Because Ole Miss has now re-established itself as a national power, does this make the tailgating experience more enjoyable?
Liza: Last year we had clients fly in from Washington D.C., just to experience the Grove in person. ESPN Game Day and Katie Perry took everything to another level. There is now a certain cool factor and swagger that comes from being a Rebel.
HottyToddy.com: Do you ever find yourself competing with other tents in an attempt to showcase your best creativity?
Liza: Seriously, how can anyone compete with the Zebra Tent? We all have fun and try to have a signature dish or beverage for each game more than decorations. However, as an Ole Miss Reb we MUST decorate our tent just to be a good “citizen” so, of course, there are lights, flowers, candles and an occasional chandelier!
HottyToddy.com: What are your thoughts about the Ole Miss campus and Oxford?
Liza: The most beautiful campus in the world located in one of the best communities in the world.
HottyToddy.com: If Ole Miss officials would change just one thing about the tailgating rules and regulations, what would that be?
Liza: The creation of a golf cart only game day route might eliminate some congestion and traffic.
HottyToddy.com: About how many individuals are regulars at your tent and where are their home towns?
Liza: We have a total of nine couples, most live in the Reservior area in Brandon, Mississippi. We have lots of guest and cook enough food for about 50.
HottyToddy.com: Last but not least, will Ole Miss defeat Alabama three years in a row?
Liza: YES! Actually, I think Ole Miss is the good luck charm for Alabama. We beat them and they win the National Championship! It’s a win-win, especially for our family! HOTTY TODDY!
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.