Originally created 09/13/03

Tailgating starts early in Augusta



Bulldog and Gamecock fans seemed civil with each other at the 10th annual Border Bash. Most let their T-shirts do the talking.

"Beat more chicken," screamed a shirt worn by Georgia fan Jim Woodruff, a theme playing on the Chick-fil-A slogan.

"If you want to win, don't play South Carolina," said a shirt donned by friend and Gamecock David Widener.

The two neighbors from North Augusta used Friday night's event at the Augusta Common for some friendly ribbing.

"On Monday, we'll be shaking hands again," Mr. Woodruff said.

Thousands of football faithfuls converged in downtown Augusta to celebrate Border Bash 2003, the city's largest tailgating event. The bash celebrates - in neutral territory - the football matchup, with proceeds going to the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center.

Last year's event raised $19,000, less than expected because of a rainy night. This year organizers set a goal of $45,000, said Clare Boulus, of MCG.

Cheerleaders and mascots from the two schools got the crowd going before the Swingin' Medallions took over with beach music.

There were few complaints about the city's new open-container ordinance, which banned consumption on public streets and sidewalks. Police reported no problems, except traffic congestion.

But Georgia fan Kenneth White wasn't happy with his tailgating spot, which forced him to park a block away behind VIP spots. He got there at 2 p.m.

"What's the deal?" he said from his truck bed. "We used to be able to park wherever and sit there and drink whatever we wanted. Augusta has gotten so involved in everything."

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.