Final Dinner to Be Tailgate Party
Expect a States Dinner at the 144th General Conference & Exhibition, Aug. 26-29 in Columbus, Ohio, like none other in the annual event’s century-old history.
For decades, the conference’s concluding dinner was strictly formal, but NGAUS has allowed host states to embrace their local culture in recent years.
Kentucky recommended Derby attire in Louisville in 2017 and Louisiana went full Mardi Gras in 2019. Last year, it was Las Vegas wear in Nevada.
This year’s theme is “Bring Your Sports Teams to Columbus,” an experience like tailgating before the big game.
The fare will resemble offerings from the best tailgate parties, emphasizing smoked meats, but Ohio Guard officials promise alternatives for guests with dietary restrictions. There will also be games, including cornhole, ladder ball and more.
Sports jerseys are recommended attire. A review of some state associations suggests many attendees are ready to represent their favorite teams.
For example, the Alabama Guard Association said to expect a “heavy” showing of Alabama Crimson Tide jerseys — and some Auburn University fans. Other Southeast Conference states are also likely to show their college football pride.
On the more-is-better side of the ledger, the Maryland delegation is taking variety to new levels with jerseys from local teams (the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles), the region (the Washington Capitals) and the past by honoring teams from the old Negro and Ladies leagues.
Several NGAUS board members have already chosen their outfits for the festivities.
For example, Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles from Mississippi, the association chairman, plans on wearing a Mississippi State University baseball jersey. He graduated from the school, which won the 2021 national championship in baseball.
Other Guard leaders are also set on their attire. Maj. Gen. Daryl L. Bohac, the adjutant general of Nebraska and president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States, will wear a throwback Nebraska Cornhuskers football jersey.
Some attendees say they are still deciding between two college teams, two professional teams or one of each.
A pair of scissors and a sewing machine might be the answer. Don’t be surprised to see some split jerseys in Columbus.