The majority of Seattle’s Hawk One Team has been tailgating for more than 15 years. This Seahawks tailgating crew has about 12 main members in all, but its “founding fathers” are a core group of four Seattle tailgaters who met several years ago as a result of their kids playing sports together.
Founding Fathers and Core Team Members
- Gary Buchanan is rumored to be the Seattle Seahawks infamous “Sea Pope.” It is safe to say that only Gary knows for sure. What is known is that Gary Buchanan has been a Seahawks fan since the team’s first season and that he’s been a season ticketholder since 1976. Buchanan has been nicknamed “The Rev” by his fellow tailgaters for leading them in his game-day prayer sessions asking for a team win from the all-powerful “Football Gods.”
- Tony Wetzel, known as “The Top Chef,” is the primary grilling cook for the Hawk One tailgating vehicle. Wetzel plans the weekly tailgating menu, oversees the food preparation and doesn’t turn any Seahawks fan away. Each game day, Wetzel begins grilling as early as 7 a.m. and usually doesn’t stop until just before kickoff time.
- Brian Miller is called “The Cuban” because he is the builder and designer for anything and everything to do with the Hawk One tailgating mobile. Miller’s customization skills have garnered his tailgating team an abundant amount of recognition, as well as envy and inspiration from other Seahawks tailgating crews.
- Tommy Brown, or “The Chief JagerMaster,” is responsible for a number of different Hawk One Team duties. He helps with planning the weekly tailgating menu, food preparation details and weekly Hawk One tailgating activities. Brown is also the driving force behind the Hawk One Team’s public events and appearances, and handles all media relations for his group.
Initially, the Hawk One Team started their tailgating journey with a simple, hibachi-style grill and a few lawn chairs in the back of a truck. With the love for their Seahawks team and with Seattle coming in dead last as the worst tailgating city, the group quickly realized they wanted to take their tailgating efforts to a much bigger and badder level. In 2008, three of the four members purchased the 1978 motorhome now known as Hawk One, which is the baddest tailgating vehicle around. Presently, the Hawk One Team overall consists of about 30 members, but has more new friends that show up weekly to the tailgating parties.
Best Tailgating Dishes
While many of the Hawk One Team’s tailgating recipes are kept secret, a few dishes have been featured at various tailgating competitions over the years. One thing that Hawk One members have going for them when it comes to grilling is that Seattle features some of the freshest and best-tasting seafood. The honey-glazed salmon is always a hit with fellow tailgaters, as is their secret recipe Dungeness crab. Other dishes they have received accolades for include their chorizo burritos, Korean tacos and fried turkey, which is basted with a special blend of jalapeno sauce.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Sue Gabel has been writing in the greater Puget Sound/Seattle area since 1999. She writes about music, the Seattle scene and the Seahawks. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.