Q: How did the FSU War Wagon come about?Answer: It was really quite random. One of our buddies, Bobby Cannon, was looking at RVs on Craigslist and ran across it in a post from Thomasville, GA. He immediately sent it to my wife and I and another friend, Bill Westergom. Bill and I are both entrepreneurs and we both had always wanted to have a really cool tailgate vehicle. I responded with: “I’m buying it!” Bill then texted me and said “Are you for real? I’ll go in on it with you!” Bill took the lead in negotiating the deal and I picked it up later that week. When we got it, I’d say it was 75% there. the previous owners, the Williams Family in Thomasville, did an amazing job with the paint, graphics and start to the interior. It had no AC, No Power and No Stereo. They would bring a generator down with them and then get power once they set up their tailgate. So, that’s where we focused our attention. We wanted to make it more comfortable and fit more people. After we finished the build, we then turned out ideas to how we could turn it into a business / fundraiser. Our intent is really not to make money with it. We want to keep making improvements to it and then donate the other 50% of proceeds to FSU Athletics. I’ve been a Branding / marketing guy for 25 years, so it was easy to spool up a logo and create the brand for it. Now, we’re ready to take it to the next level in support of our Noles!
Q: How has the FSU War Wagon grown since it started? Answer: It started with really just 3 families: Ramos’, Westergoms and Cannons. We all tailgated together in the past. This is now a business venture we all share in too. We started up our Social Media presence during the season last year and quickly got up over 300 followers on FB, Twitter and Instagram. Until this last 2 weeks, we thought our hopes of really growing it’s following was done for this year. Just glad we all get an opportunity to get back to doing what we love and supporting the university we love too.
Q: What brings people to the FSU War Wagon?Answer: A lot of it is obviously the tailgate party and photo opportunity. All season, we had fans stop by to take pics with the back of it. It has pictures of Bobby Bowden wearing all of his rings, Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke and Jameis Winston. The photo of Charlie is signed by him, so that’s a cool thing to point out to people. We had our most epic tailgate for the Miami game last year. It was an early game so we set up early and had a full blown Bloody mary bar with Bacon and all the garnishes. Everyone was like “THIS is a tailgate!” We like to say: “Come strong or don;t come at all!” It’s a Seize the Day mentality. Nothing like this year to make that mindset more important.
Q: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened at the FSU War Wagon?Answer: We have already had some very fun times with it. I’d say the craziest thing so far was a ride home from the stadium after one of our games. We had the amplified speaker and PA going so we could talk to people. It ended up turning into a trolley picking random people up and dropping them off along the way. It was after a W, so everyone was in a great mood.
Q: What’s next for the FSU War Wagon? Answer: We are ready for our first full season where we are shifting from being more of a personal tailgate vehicle to a “club” with memberships. Our goal has always been to make it a part of the FSU Experience, like taking pics with the Unconquered statue or the Garnet and Gold Guys. We have created 3 levels. The highest 2 include the opportunity to book the War Wagon for private events. It got a lot of traction with our friends after the bars and restaurants closed down.
Q: How are you getting through these trying times? Answer: We all just keep taking it one day at a time. It’s certainly been frustrating and there have been plenty of accommodations we’ve all had to make along the way. But like anything, we feel like this too will pass and a more positive future is ahead of us.
Q: What’s your capital city pedicab connection? Answer: Mike has been an early and continued supporter. We both love this University and our town. I first used Capital City pedicabs to help transport my parents from the War Wagon to a game in 2019. It was a scorcher (the 100 degree game) in September. My mom is especially unable to walk long distances after multiple bouts with cancer. I had contacted Mike the day before to set things up. Despite the crazy heat, Mike came up with a smile and was an amazing host for the ride to the stadium. It made all the difference for my parents being able to enjoy the game without the distraction of leg pain.