October means it’s Tailgate Time! The Tailgate is VINA’s signature fundraiser and has been an annual occurrence since the clinic’s opening.
This will be the 13th year for this fundraiser and it is a competition between Michigan State and Michigan fans to see who can generate the most donations for VINA Community Dental Center.
Just like the split loyalties of Livingston County, it has always been a spirited competition and culminates on a weeknight (a Wednesday or Thursday) before the big game with a tailgate party at Crystal Gardens. Hundreds of people in the community attend.
We raise money by securing sponsorships in the name of your favorite school then that evening with a silent auction, 50/50s, and other games of chance to give the participants the opportunity to donate money to VINA in the name of their school. We have a volunteer committee that works out all the details, auction stuff, billing, etc. so we can concentrate on having fun and raising money.
For a number of years we used a neutral MC, Steve Garagiola from Channel 4 and used local dentists as Captains. Two years ago we went back to appointing active captains who would serve as the main cheerleaders for their fans by being the face of The Tailgate and by generating sponsorships and donations prior to the event. They also co-MC the event along with VINA’s Executive Director, who is there simply to keep things on time and on target and talk VINA.
After year #9 (2017), Michigan held a 5 to 4 lead over Michigan State. In the past three years it has been all MSU and they now lead the series 7 to 5.
Captains for the team change very year and we love to have local celebrities lead the charge for their team.
In 2019 we had Buddy Morehouse for Michigan and Sheriff Mike Murphy for Michigan State.
In 2020, George Moses captained the Michigan State team and Bill Anderson was the captain for Michigan.
In 2021 we have Jeff LaFave leading the Spartans and Bob Cernak leading the Wolverines.