Based on encased meats alone, Tailgate Ted is D.C.’s biggest sports fan. The longtime supporter of the Washington Commanders has been living up to his namesake since 1999, serving up a menu customized for each and every opponent of the football team.
But Ted is more than the meats.
Tailgate Ted, in addition to bringing opposing team’s fans together, also raises tens of thousands of dollars for some very good causes. This spring he’s partnering up with the Washington Nationals and DC United to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
View this post on Instagram
Ted has a similar event in May, this time at a D.C. United Game. On May 21 Ted and friends will participate in the Let’s “KICK” Childhood Blood Cancer event. It’s a great way to get a DC United ticket and donate a very reasonable amount of money ($23) to the Children’s Initiative focused on better treatment and outcomes for childhood blood cancer patients.
None of this is new to Ted. “Over the years, we collected 14 tons worth of items for Hurricane Harvey victims,” Tailgate Ted informed us. “More recently ended up feeding 300 homeless on Christmas, so they actually had a warm meal to eat on Christmas Day. We’ve collect goods for the Ronald McDonald House. Every year we do a winter coat drive.”
Ted didn’t start tailgating with charitable goals in mind. “It didn’t begin this way,” explains Ted. “I was just drinking with my buddies and going to games. And it has evolved into so much more than that where it’s now a way to give back to the DMV area.”
What’s maybe even more inspiring is the community aspect of tailgating when there was no tailgating at the start of the pandemic. “During the pandemic we actually ended up raising almost $15,000 for the Blackfeet Nation out in Montana
,” says Ted. “We were trying to think of how can we still give back and do charity work when we’re not actually tailgating and we can’t get together.”
Tailgate Ted is at ever Commanders home game and a large amount of Nats, United, Caps and Wizards game. But this is not Ted’s job. “Now, it’s not what I do,” says Ted. “It’s my passion. And it’s something that I enjoy, and it’s why I’m still doing it. It’s given me a chance to meet so many people.”
And lucky for these people, Ted has a change of clothing prepared for every game. “I have kind of tearaway pants that you will often see basketball players use on the court, their warm-ups. I just unbutton those and rip those off. And then I’ve got my regular clothes underneath. That way. I’m not walking around with a bunch of grease all day.”
Pants aside, Ted’s identity has not only helped him grow and maintain a community, but expanded into a way to help thousands. “I guess this is my way of giving back to our community,” says Ted. “I’m from the DC area born and raised here. I’m not a football player with millions and millions of dollars. So anyway I can, I give back. Whether it’s my love of cooking, or organizing, getting people together. That’s just how I’m going to do it.”
Enjoy this piece? Consider becoming a member for access to our premium digital content. Support local journalism and start your membership today.