The Tailgating Traditions of Jim’s Place in the Grove!
An Interview With Jim Stephens by Steve Vassallo
Enjoy the fourth 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! (Click the Ole Miss Tailgating logo below to see the menu and order!)
Jim “The General” Stephens puts his money where his heart is along with his time and energy. The General’s family history with Ole Miss dates back to the 1800’s.
HottyToddy.com: General, you have one of the larger tent operations in the Grove. When
did this commence?
The General: Approximately 20 years ago, we started off with a small table (no tent) and a few chairs. About seven people participated. “Jim’s Place in the
Grove” was born and has now grown to four tents; 40 chairs and 18 families. We offer a 55″ TV, two generators and a microwave to add to the atmosphere.
HottyToddy.com: Wow! Talk about growth.
The General: About 50-60 individuals are with us for each game.
HottyToddy.com: Could you provide us an inventory of those who are involved?
The General: Glenn and Tammy Stephens; Wesley and Paula Jones; Kelly Tipton;
Jim and Brenda McIntyre; Bear and Nichole Horne; Chad Kea; Royce White; Andy
and Debbie Prefontaine; Steve and Anita Bell; Andy Stuart; Drew Stuart; Rob
and Ginger Owen; Robert and Gina O’Connor; John and Kelley Kinney;
Nels and Susan Strickland; Jeff and Kelly Downing; Amy Vanderford;
and Jim and Elizabeth Stephens.
HottyToddy.com: Conducting an initiative of this magnitude is a tremendous undertaking. Why do you do it?
The General: Tailgating is one of the last few loves in life that I have left. I love the Grove, my University and all the fellowship and friendships made.
HottyToddy.com: You occasionally even miss a game because of your tent
responsibilities. This is quite a sacrifice.
The General: I take my responsibility of our tailgate experience very seriously. I want our families to have a great time and enjoy good food in a friendly and fun environment.
HottyToddy.com: Apparently this “hobby” is important to you. Why so?
The General: I love Ole Miss and the gameday excitement. This hobby is my
HottyToddy.com: Exactly where do you set up?
The General: Between Farley Hall and Lamar just on the edge (inside) the Grove. A 10 x 20 Navy blue tent facing Grove Loop has “Stephens” in large, white letters.
HottyToddy.com: You follow the Ole Miss Rebels more closely than most. Fast forward to this year’s Egg Bowl. How many wins will we have going in?
The General: Seven or eight. And we will retain the “Golden Egg Trophy” again this year. Trust me!
HottyToddy.com: What has been your fondest moment of Ole Miss football?
The General: Anytime we defeat Mississippi State or LSU. Those are all “great”
HottyToddy.com: Flipping the coin, what’s been your greatest disappointment?
The General: Anytime we lose to State and LSU, our biggest rivals.
HottyToddy.com: How many years (looking ahead) do you think you will continue in the Grove?
The General: Until the day I die. Then I will have a great seat in
“Rebel Heaven” to watch the games.
HottyToddy.com: Aside from Ole Miss football, what motivates the General?
The General: My family and many friends along with my faith in God.
HottyToddy.com: Your most favorite Ole Miss athlete ever?
The General: My grandfather, Hubert D. Stephens, Sr., played on the 1894 and 1895 Ole Miss football teams (having been born in 1875). His teams went 8-2
for that two year period. In 1894, Ole Miss played Alabama and LSU for the first time. We won both games! My grandfather played Guard as I like to believe he might have made the winning block in each game. He is my “Ole Miss hero.”
See our previous editions of Ole Miss Tailgating Traditions sponsored by Ole Miss Tailgating:
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 email@example.com or call him at 985-852-7745.