JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The competition goes beyond the football field on Florida-Georgia weekend. Bragging rights are up for grabs in tailgating and at RV City.
Devoted Georgia fan Henry Hinojosa won his very first RV decoration contest.
He and his family have spent the last eight years competing.
Hinojosa says he has spent up to $8,000 on his setup, including a blow-up Georgia bulldog and statues to make it top-notch.
He says it is worth it.
“The competition, the prize and to see the smiles on my family and friends faces,” Hinojosa said. “Because they put in a lot of hard work as well. It’s not just me. It’s a team effort.”
On the Florida side, best friends Joe Clark and Corey Patterson claimed their first title since competing in the contest for the last 20 years.
Clark says their $100,000 investment is worth every penny.
“Right there,” Clark said while pointing to the Florida Gator logo on his jacket. “Go Gators. This is what we do.”
The investments are not just financially based. Friendships are formed, despite team affiliation.
Hinojosa and Clark have become good friends over the years.
“Henry is awesome,” Clark said. “We hang out each year. They have a great spread.”
“We’re happy that they won on the Gator side,” Hinojosa said. “We have made many Gator friends here.”
There is healthy competition all the way around.
“We go back-and-forth,” said Mario Johnson. “We haggle each other sometimes. We have [our own] championship belt that goes around, depending on who wins each year.”
Johnson is a part of an entertainment company that has been tailgating for the last nine years. The group feeds up to 200 people each year.
Whether it’s cooking or decorating, these fans do not become complacent.
“Every year, we just want to get better and better,” Hinojosa said. “So next year, stay tuned. We’re going to be stronger than ever.”
Because bragging rights are always on the line.