Tailgating teams compete to represent city at Super Bowl January 24 2011

Rusty Costanza / The Times-Picayune

By Katie Urbaszewski,
The Times-Picayune

The Drago’s Charbroiled Engine Company participated in the Bing National Tailgate Competition – Regional Competition in New Orleans on Sunday, December 12, 2010. Their firetruck was complete with draft beer dispensers. Behind the truck they were grilling their famous charbroiled oysters.

The Cvitanoviches are going to the Super Bowl.

Two of them, in fact. Drago’s proprietor Tommy Cvitanovich, his son Josh and his brother Gerry, and their friend former LSU quarterback Jeff Wickersham, will be in Dallas for Super Bowl XLV and also to compete in the super bowl of tailgating.


Four teams of Saints fans battled it out near the Superdome on Sunday in a tailgating competition, and the winners got the chance to compete in a national championship during the week of the Super Bowl.

“We got our team there,” Tommy Cvitanovich said. “Now we’ve got to get the Saints there.”

The competition, a combination of a promotional event for Microsoft search engine Bing and ideas from New Orleans native and self-proclaimed “Commissioner of Tailgating” Joe Cahn, involves five other cities across the nation. The Cvitanoviches and Wickersham will have to compete against the tailgating winners from those cities when they go to Dallas in February.

Drago’s has used an old New York City Fire Department firetruck — refurbished with Jagermeister taps and television screens — to tailgate for two years, Tommy Cvitanovich said.

With the help of the New Orleans Fire Department, which Drago’s cooks for on Thanksgiving, Cvitanovich brought the truck with him Sunday and cooked up several dishes for anyone who asked for a plate.

The event was open to the public, and people poured in to see what the huge trucks, TV screens and noise were all about.

Chris Henkhaus of Slidell and his team set up an entire old-fashioned saloon-themed area.

It was complete with a wooden gate and swinging doors that invited tailgaters to tables, a mobile home turned into a bar and a selection of barbecue cooked from their recipes that had just won at the Wild Game Cookoff in Slidell, Henkhaus said. He said he and his friends always use the mobile home to tailgate.

Members of each team said they brought the vehicles, food and friends they always tailgate with to the competition Sunday.

Scott Sparks brought his black-and-gold tailgating school bus and his recipe that won him a tailgating competition on Food Network, and Kristen Preau brought the truck from her newly created company, Cook Me Somethin’ Mister.

“Today was about the New Orleans tailgating experience,” Preau said. “We’re all rooting for the championship team of the NFL.”

The teams participated in games, trivia and a cooking competition, and were also judged on their tailgating set-ups.

Cvitanovich said he’s only recently started regularly tailgating because of the early game times of Saints home games.

“But this really is the perfect city and atmosphere for tailgating,” he said