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Forget the folding chairs — these tailgaters brought a hot tub

Tailgating Hall of Famers bring unique gadget to Thursday Night Football
Posted at 10:00 PM, Sep 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-30 02:07:19-04
  • Denny Arney and Mark Mullins make up part of The Tubgaters, a group who is in the Tailgating Hall of Fame
  • Arney and Mullins bring a hot tub to every Lions home game and some away games — including Thursday's game at Lambeau Field
  • Packers fan Kelly Jones hosted The Tubgaters at his Veterans Tailgate Zone adjacent to Lambeau
  • Video shows the hot tub and other gadgets at Jones' tailgate, including a throne

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

I've seen a lot of innovative tailgate ideas today, but if you're looking for the single best gadget — it has to be the hot tub that Lions fans brought here from Detroit. If it gets chilly tonight, both Packers and Lions fans will be able to enjoy the tailgate from the Jacuzzi in style.

"We monitor the temperature. Right now, it's probably — let's see — 112 degrees," Arney said.

Denny Arney and Mark Mullins are responsible for setting up the hot tub for Lions games. Their late friend Ron started the Tubgater tradition in 1995.

"Everybody said he was crazy when he said he was going to make a hot tub on a trailer," Mullins said. "But he did it."

Now, the Tubgaters are in the Tailgating Hall of Fame. Every game, an opposing fan pours the blue dye into the water. The Lions diehards hosts for this game is Packers fan Kelly Jones, who also has the tailgate down to a science.

"We will have a TV set up for the people who don't make it to the game," Jones said. "Kind of a DJ area set up there."

Jones' Veterans Tailgate Zone is complete with three bars …

"This is our new bar this year," Jones said.

A throne, and a built-in bottle opener. But the best part for his guests? They can donate to Veterans' causes, but otherwise the drinks are free of charge.

"We don't charge for anything here," Jones said. "It's an at-will donation."

Whether rooting for the green and gold or Honolulu blue and white, the fans say football is about having fun.

"Family, friends, camaraderie," one fan said.

"It's more about the camaraderie and the people," Mullins said. "I love everybody, and if we lose, I'll still hug 'em and kiss 'em and be so happy that we're here."

Kelly Jones says the operating cost per tailgate is around $1,200-$1,500 per game for drinks and Porta Potty rentals, but he says it's all worth it.