These Super Fans Bring Superb Tailgating Skills to the Table

Super Bowl Sunday provides a reason to gather with family and friends around tables filled with your favorite game day foods, regardless of whether your favorite team is playing. Football fans Ryan and Meg Schon honed their tailgating skills when their favorite team didn’t have a hope or a prayer of post-season play.

IMG 6129The Schons (pronounced “shown”) met when they were both students at Iowa State University. Like many Cyclone fans, they’ve been loyal and forever true to their school. Their eternal optimism prompted them to develop the mantra of “Tailgate Victoriously.” It’s a tagline that has become so ingrained in their fall activities that Ryan created Cyclone jerseys with the numbers “19” and “95” to commemorate the year he and Meg were married.

“When Meg and I lived in St. Louis, we drove to Ames for every home game. We never knew what to expect from Cyclone football during those years, so we started to say, ‘At least we won the tailgate!’ That turned into the mantra, ‘Tailgate Victoriously.’ And after 23 years, we’re undefeated,” says Ryan.

These proud Iowa State Alumni Association members have become known for hosting 30 to 50 friends and family members during every home ISU football game. The Schons even packed their grill and headed south in December to tailgate in parking lot before the Alamo Dome. They were in good company as ISU fans, who are known for following their team, helped set a record attendance of 60,000+ at the Valero Alamo Bowl.

The Schons are finding more time to tailgate now that their kids are older. Dani, 23, and Andrew, 19, are both majoring in education at Iowa State. Twins, 17-year-olds Emily and Jacob, are juniors at Ankeny High School.IMG 9778

Ryan brings this same passion and energy he has for faith, family and fun to the job. He has nearly 25 years of experience in agronomy, marketing, and precision agriculture.

“One of my favorite quotes is Marcus Buckinghams ‘Be the most extreme version of yourself’,” says Ryan, who on February 4, 2019, will become the general manager of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds. “The times I’ve been the proudest is when I’ve helped business teammates or our kids become their best, most authentic, most extreme version of themselves.”

Ryan grew up in Glidden, Iowa, where his family owned a lumber and construction business. His grandparents also farmed in Carroll County.

“I learned so much growing up in a family business: working hard, making work fun and doing whatever it takes to get the job done,” says Ryan, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy from Iowa State University and a Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University.

John Latham, president of Latham Seeds, says, “Ryan’s fresh perspective will allow us to consider new business approaches and opportunities. He also understands the intricacies of working with other family-owned seed companies, as well as for his own family’s business.”

“We’ve had the pleasure of working with Ryan in different capacities for the past 20 years,” adds John. “We’re pleased that he is joining our management team. We’re confident Ryan will help us grow in areas that will allow us to provide even greater support and services to our dealer network and farmer-customers.”

As senior corporate development manager for Granular, Ryan led the post-acquisition integration of Granular with Encirca. He provided a voice for farmers as new Encirca Services were developed with Pioneer Agronomy Science, data scientists, software development, field teams, and external collaborators. Ryan also served as a business development manager and traits marketing lead with Monsanto. During that time, he and his family lived abroad for 18 months.

“The most amazing thing I observed is that all those farmers have the same farmer spirit,” says Ryan, who has visited farmers in about 25 countries on six continents. “In many cases, I didn’t know their language and we talked through a local translator. But there’s a universal farmer spirit that comes from putting all your faith in a seed that you’ve put in the ground and knowing that your livelihood depends on what it produces.”

While Ryan enjoyed his time abroad, he enjoys staying true to his Iowa roots. He is active in his church, Relay for Life and the Iowa SIDS Foundation. Today he and Meg are sharing with us a few of their favorite tailgating recipes. Check out the “recipe card” graphics, and scroll to the bottom of this post for their Chicken Bacon Corn Chowder recipe.

Latham Seeds Jalapeno Poppers

Latham Horns Down Marinade

We’re also providing links to some of our past blog posts, with recipes for everything from pretzels and dips to meatballs and soup, to help you create a “super” menu for Sunday:

Chicken Bacon Corn Chowder

1 qt chicken broth
4 cans of chunk chicken
1 pound, thick bacon, diced
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
5 stalks celery, diced
5 carrots, peeled and diced
1 bag southern hash browns
4 cans corn or 2 Qt frozen sweet corn
4 cans cream corn
1 to 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 qt heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the bacon and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook until the bacon fat is rendered and the meat firming but not yet crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the potatoes, corn, and thyme. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are fully soft, about 8 additional minutes.

Add the chicken broth to the pot. Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Turn down the heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the cream and chicken. Return the chowder to a simmer, season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into warm bowls and serve.