By DARREN RITCH
GatorBait Executive Director of Operations
As I sat outside on evening watch recently at my home in
Crystal River, the beautiful pink sky going down on the
horizon, I caught a scent of football in the air. It may have
been a puff of wind, but I recognized that distinct fall smell
of anticipation in that breeze.
You fans can identify with the excitement that came over
me as I felt it pass through my veins like an ice cold glass
of Southern Sweet Tea. As I began to contemplate the
upcoming season and all the expectations for Florida
football this year, I remembered the Gators closing out the
last season with their fourth straight victory: An impressive
41-15 Peach Bowl win over the Michigan Wolverines.
I thought to myself, “We need to keep this party going!” So
that’s what we’re doing with the GatorBait Tailgate on
Florida-Miami Aug. 24 on game day in Orlando at this
terrific venue: Johnny’s Other Side.
I am going into my 30th year as a season ticket holder and
45th season attending games, but this year will be a little
more special. I have joined Buddy Martin and the
GatorBait magazine team as Executive Director of
While we’re celebrating GatorBait’s 40th birthday, we are
also rolling out new products and services — plus
introducing you to our new team. You’ll notice since Buddy
and his son Brenden recently took over ownership of
GatorBait, the quality and value of content has
substantially increased. This team is taking it to a whole
new level by adding the GatorBaitMedia.com website, with
many more features to come.
So that’s why you’re invited to GatorBait Tailgate party at
Johnny’s Other Side restaurant on gameday in Orlando
prior to the Florida vs Miami game.
My wife Peggy and I visited Johnny’s a few weeks ago
and spent time with VP of Operations, Andy Baker. Not
only were we impressed with the location, quality of food
and hospitality we were shown, but the good news is that
Johnny’s is located just minutes from Camping World
Stadium and features covered outdoor seating, many big
screen TVs, an outdoor bar and free parking next to the
establishment for as long as its lasts.
Andy is a huge Gator fan and is so excited to be hosting
our first GatorBait Media Tailgate that he is offering a 15
percent discount on your total bill including food and drinks
for all existing GatorBait subscribers. If you aren’t a
subscriber, you can sign up at the tailgate and receive
these discounts as well.
In addition to the atmosphere, food and drinks, you’ll have
the opportunity to meet Buddy Martin and the GatorBait
team and purchase the GatorBait 40th Birthday tee shirts
at a reduced price of $20 for preorders and onsite
The tailgate starts at 11am and ends at 2pm on gameday,
allowing plenty of time to drive to the stadium.
Parking maybe limited so get there early but there is
overflow parking at a church a few blocks away.
So join in the pep rally to get Johnny’s rocking! We look
forward to seeing you at the 2019 GatorBait Tailgate
Kickoff to help us celebrate new ownership of this iconic
magazine, tell you about our exciting plans and kick off yet
another year of Gator Football.