Boilermaker super fans: Ambulance turned tailgate icon
Purdue super fans Andy and Betsy Eibling reflect on what it takes to turn an emergency vehicle into a tailgating hub
When Andy and Betsy Eibling bought their second ambulance, one of the first orders of business was painting all of the existing red upholstery old gold and black in support of their alma mater. The ambulance had been retired as an emergency vehicle and would instead be repurposed for tailgating at Purdue football games.
It was the first ambulance they were able to customize fully, but it wasn’t the first Purdue-themed ambulance they owned. In 2016, Andy and Betsy became the fourth owners of the original Purdue tailgating ambulance, which they initially purchased after years of tailgating out of the back of their minivan.
Less than a year later, when the original owners of the Purdue tailgating ambulance were surprised to see that it was still up and running, they purchased it back from the Eiblings. “We enjoyed having an ambulance so much that we took the proceeds from that sale and actually went out and found our own ambulance and customized it,” says Andy.
Surprisingly, the ambulance didn’t change much in appearance from its time in-service to its time as a Purdue tailgating machine. Now primarily black with the original red emergency lights swapped out for gold, a mural of famous Purdue landmarks and a sweeping Motion P make it clear which team Andy and Betsy root for every week.
Andy and Betsy’s Purdue legacy began when the two met during their time at the University. When their kids were old enough to attend college, the pressure was on to pick the right school.
“Even though we joke that they didn’t really have a choice, they all had a choice. And fortunately, for us and them, they all ended up at Purdue,” says Andy.
Andy appreciates how it has brought his family together. “It’s certainly simplified our Saturdays during football season because we have no divided loyalties in our family. We’re all-in,” he says.
“Now we just have to get the grandkids on board,” Betsy adds. While their grandchildren are a bit young to be thinking about college choices, they are already surrounded by Boilermaker support. For example, one of the grandchildren was recently gifted a miniature electric toy version of their famous ambulance for Christmas.
Andy and Betsy’s ambulance can be found at every Purdue home game, rain, snow, sleet or shine, at the top of Slayter Hill. Anyone is invited to join them in cheering for the Boilermakers!