Waxahachie hosts free BBQ tailgate party

WISD, groups pitch in to feed alumni and fans of both rival schools at 100th Battle of 287

Patty Hullett
Daily Light correspondent
Fans gather at the Waxahachie-Ennis tailgate party for food and fellowship before last Friday's 100th Battle of 287 football game at Lumpkins Stadium.

To celebrate the 100th meeting of the famous football foes – Waxahachie Indians and Ennis Lions – the Waxahachie ISD, Waxahachie Football, Ennis Football, H.E.B. grocery store, and the WHS Culinary Department all pitched-in to prepare a “free BBQ feast” for former alumni players from both cities, as well as some of their avid fans over the years.

Area cooks were asked to sponsor and prepare some of their BBQ specialties for the event on Friday afternoon, Sept. 10, from 5:30 p.m. until game time. The venue was Waxahachie’s Global High School parking lot, just southwest of Lumpkins Stadium.

Some old-time Indian fans gather to enjoy free barbecue at the 100th Battle of 287 pregame tailgate party last Friday at Lumpkins Stadium.

This tailgate party was a festive, fun event, which was created to bring about community togetherness, even though these teams are archrivals year-after-year. The prior football players and followers were treated to some awesome food, music, and some time to talk about previous Waxahachie–Ennis games over the years.

BBQ cooks and sponsors

The Waxahachie generous cooks and sponsors for the party were: Corey Robinson and Dusty Autrey, who cooked a variety of meats as sponsored by Kip Fedora and State Farm Insurance; Cook Adrian Sanchez prepared BBQ/ Mexican tacos on behalf of Gateway Mortgage; Jim Ensinia and his son Josh offered their pulled pork, featuring their very own labeled rub for sale “Los Primanos Wild Hog Honey Rub”; and WISD Transportation Department’s Joe Eich cooked brisket, chicken and ribs; while another fellow co-worker, Philip Gurke, prepared hot wings with all the fixings. The lone Ennis BBQ-er was Jay Cuzan, who smoked brisket for all to enjoy.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers player Chuck Beatty (left) and local businessman Mark Loisel enjoy a barbecue dinner and some fellowship during last Friday's 100th Battle of 287 pregame tailgate party.

The Culinary students of Waxahachie High School did their part by preparing the sides for the BBQ dinner. Their delicious additions were coleslaw and beans. Also, the local H.E.B. store graciously donated buns, bottled water and chips.

Among some of the well-known guests on hand were Charles “Chuck” Beatty, a former Waxahachie City Councilman for over 26 years. Chuck graduated from WHS in 1969 and played defense for the Indians. He also was a strong safety in the NFL in the late 60s and early 70s as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Chuck recalls, “The Waxahachie–Ennis football rivalry has always been a hard-fought battle and one that every Indian never wants to lose. It is like the game of the year for WHS.”

Another former great WHS player in the BBQ crowd was Steve Howell, a 1975 local graduate. From there, he went on to star as a running back for the Baylor Bears, and ended-up as a Miami Dolphin NFL player for 3 years (1979-1981).

A rather new Waxahachie alumni player in attendance was Kieron Gould, a young man who graduated in May 2020 and is now attending college. Last year he played middle linebacker and he recalls the agony of last year’s contest against Ennis.

Gould says, “I was so disappointed because it was a total blowout. We couldn’t do anything against the Lions last year when I was a senior.” (game final: 38-0)

On hand was the Community Outreach Coordinator at Waxahachie ISD, Sandy King, as she was in charge of coordinating the tailgate party.

Also, in attendance was local businessman and owner of Cardinal IG – Mark Loisel. He was busy talking with Chuck Beatty, as they have known each other for years, with both men working in cooperation with the objectives of the City of Waxahachie and its City Council.

While it’s true that not everyone went home happy, what an adrenaline rush for anyone with a pulse that was watching a fantastic high school football game last Friday evening! It just might have been “THE GAME of the century”!