#6 of 31: Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis, Indiana

October 8 and 9, 2011


Waiting for the light to turn green so we can join the party.
Waiting for the light to turn green so we can join the party.

The two-day party started Saturday evening with several hundred people pulling into the The BLUE CREW Tailgate Lot just two blocks from the Lucas Oil Stadium. They immediately began setting up for the INDY BLUE CREW OVERNIGHTER. Team flags were flying, inflatable Dirk football linemen were beginning to loom, cocktail shooters were filled and being shot and the grills were smoking.

Before joining the party, we did decide to continue our new tradition for the day before a game and hang out for a while at a local sports bar. The closest one to the lot was the Slippery Noodle Inn. There we tanked up on burgers and beer before heading back to photograph the evening’s festivities.


As the party progressed more and more fabulously painted Colt fan vans, buses and converted ambulances pulled into the lot. Years are spent converting these “fan vans" into true works of art. Great creative thought goes into the layering of the side paintings with logos and graphics. (To say nothing of the interior upholstery and appointments) Owner/artists are known to agonize for months over the choice of the right font. (I’ve said it before... Some of these vehicles will end up in museums.)

Glowing and flashing against the city skyline
Glowing and flashing against the city skyline

The people who own a fan van love to entertain their family and friends at festive parties held in stadium parking lots. Families bring their kids and their friends and their friend’s kids to the lots to play games, share food and enjoy the camaraderie. Just for a day, a parking lot becomes a small town neighborhood... one with sidewalks and neighbors out socializing and playing. (When you look at the P&P galleries, this shared fun is what you are seeing.)

As the Blue Crew Party progressed, there were heat-of-the-night NFL/ popular culture trivia games going on. And it was at one of those games that we observed a phenomena new to us. People playing the game were looking up the answers on their cell phones. Questions such as “What does BMW stand for?" produced furious cell phone tapping - while everyone seemed to know the answer to, “Who was the Colt’s first round draft pick this year?" I read recently in the NYTimes that more and more people know where to find the answer rather that the answer itself. The cell phone behavior seemed to bear this out. (It’s a new world.)

Familiar looking fan wins prize in drawing
Familiar looking fan wins prize in drawing

All attendees at the overnighter were given tickets for a big multiple drawing to be held later in the evening. Lots of Colts merchandise was given away with much exuberant cheering and yelling.

The popular drink of the evening, seen being shot into open mouthes, was a shooter made with 1 part Crown Royal, 1 part Sour Apple Pucker and some cranberry juice. Danger, Will Robinson...

Dawn came early the next morning and from our camping spot near the edge of the lot we could watch the hearty souls, seemingly suffering no Ill effects from the late night revelries, starting to set up tables, cook breakfast, play corn-hole and toss footballs.


Wisely, we had purchased a half dozen doughnuts from Long’s Bakery (reputed to be the best bakery, not just in Indianapolis, but in the whole mid-west.) out near the speedway the day before. They were delicious with our coffee. By 7:15 we were back in the lot taking pictures.

“Oh, is there a game today?” -Former blonde.
"Oh, is there a game today?" -Former blonde.

The BLUE CREW Tailgate Lot was technology intensive. Amazing sound systems pumping out the songs of our hearts. Multiple Flat Screen TVs on fan vans were putting out different hi-def channels on each TV. The underbelly hover lights in Colts blue - along with twirling  blue flashers that had lulled us to sleep the night before were all off. However, on the hi-tech cooking side, one chef had a handheld digital temperature scanner that could read the temperature on his grill. 600°? Nope, too hot for pancakes. Lower that flame.

For this day, while the fan fashion being predominately blue team jerseys, with #18 the most seen number, there was something pink abreast. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there were some quite fetching pink team outfits to be seen. Even some of the men accessorized with pink.

From chips and beer out of a trunk, to grilling ribeye steaks and racks of smoking ribs, the food looked and smelled delicious. One dish, a breakfast casserole caught my nostrils and eye: Kim Ledbetter’s Colt’s Company Casserole. It was a breakfast casserole using Texas Toast as it’s base. Her gang was really enjoying it. Wish I could have. (Can’t afford to drip on my camera)


Walking and photographing we found that there were some very mixed emotions coming from the Colts Fans as they faced a 0-5 season. For years the Indianapolis Colts have been one of the premier teams in the NFL. Always in contention for the Super Bowl, the team has been in the play-offs every year since 2002. Now, with their beloved and respected Quarterback, Peyton Manning, sidelined indefinitely suffering from a neck injury, some “fans" are not showing up for games. There was a limited discussion of whether or not to root for the Colts to lose knowing that then they would get a higher draft pick. There was definitely some excitement for Curtis Painter, an Indiana boy, to be quarterbacking.

Lucas Oil Stadium

To my eyes and ears, the Colt’s 12th Man is playing extremely well! My friend and supreme Colts fan, Greg Woods, reminded me:

"... on offense we have become as quiet as a church over the last few years. With Peyton behind center, and all the audible calls he makes, we have learned to sit, shut up, and watch. I have read reports from other players and sports guys alike who could not believe how quiet we get on offense. We feel it is a sign of respect for our boys in blue. It also freaks out visiting fans. They cannot get as riled up if we are so quiet. We do not feed into what they want to do."


As we watched the game back in the camper with one of our chilled beverages of choice and a bag of roasted peanuts we could appreciate “The Silence of the Colt’s FANS" on offense. Frequently during the course of the game the television would switch to Peyton’s face... it was hard to watch him.

"The good Lord is calling my plays and I’m not allowed to audible at this point, so I have to listen to the doctors."

— Peyton Manning


Final: Colts 24, Chiefs 28

Hello Peg and Bernie,

We were the band (Compass Rose) that played the Blue Crew tailgate a few Sundays ago in Indianapolis.  We saw your wonderful pictures and loved them.  Thanks also for the nice comments you made about us.  I read through your blog, and love what you guys are doing with your travels....I have grand visions of doing this myself one day. 

We hope to run into you again one day at future Colts events...

We do have a cd that we recorded in Nashville, Tennessee last summer that we would love to send you if you have an address where you receive mail.

Best regards and happy trails.

Compass Rose

Sound like fun but I just can't get wound up about sports that do not have motors involved :>)


Hi Peg- love your site!  I'll definitely be checking in to hear more of your adventures.  By the way, I was the one you talked to at the Fairgrounds when our dogs met.

Shannon G



OMG.... OMG..... OMG
What more can I say, the pictures and vidoes are so out standing!  They reminded me of the great fun we had.  They really show how much fun we can have while supporting our great Colts.

Thanks again and if you're ever in town please come and join us again.  And make sure to bring Sully too.


Awesome work!  It was a pleasure meeting all of you last weekend.  I was the larger of the 2 playing cornhole at the True Blue Horseshoe Crew white bus.  Best of luck to all of you.  Come back and see us sometime.

Jim Fox, aka Foxman

Hey there is was nice meeting you guys at the Colts tailgate. We had the black colts bus you guys were kind enough to let us have your parking spot. Look forward to seeing the pictures.. Have a safe and fun road trip...

Morris & Rosemary

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