They’re the men in the vibrant wigs, old-fashioned women’s dresses and pig snouts. You can find them tailgating in the parking lots, cheering on the Washington Redskins near the end zone as well as raising funds for locally and nationally known charities. They’re the Hogettes and they make us proud.
How It All Started
In 1983, Michael Tolbert went to visit his grandmother at her nursing home. It was Halloween and he decided to dress up in one of her old dresses to cheer everyone up. The ruse was a huge hit. Soon after, Michael (better known as Mikey T.) gathered up a dozen or so of his closest friends and recruited them to join him in his crazy full-drag experiment.
Together they went to local hospitals to entertain sick children and their families. The group of men decided to attend a Washington Redskins game in full drag that year with one additional prop: pig snouts. The snouts were in reference to the nickname provided to the Redskins offensive line, the Hogs. Due to the popularity gained among fans, the now infamous Hogettes were formed.
History in the Making
When they’re not grilling up burgers and hot dogs for an epic tailgating party or leading the crowd on with the Washington Redskins fight song, the Hogettes are spreading smiles and cheers at nearby nursing homes, hospitals and local events including charity walks, golf tournaments, galas and parades.
Since 1983, the vibrant group of men have raised more than $100 million to benefit many local and nationally known charities including the Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Miracle Network and the March of Dimes. The group participates in more than 100 fundraising efforts and events each year.
Thanks to their passion for the game and for those in need, three members of the Hogettes, including the “boss Hogette” Mikey T., have been inducted in the VISA Hall of Fans in the Professional Football Hall of Fame. The group also gained national recognition when they appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” as well as participated in a commercial for VISA. Despite their philanthropic work and nationally recognized attention, Daniel Snyder, the current owner of the Washington Redskins, has not embraced the eccentric group. Regardless, the Hogettes continue to attend games and raise funds without preferential treatment or official recognition from the team. Now that’s team spirit.
See Them In Action
Whether you’re at a Redskins game or a charity event, it’s hard to miss the Hogettes. You can find them tailgating in the FedEx Field parking lot, seated above the Redskins tunnel in the infamous “pig pen,” with their jubilant faces blasted on the Jumbotron or at a variety of local charity events. To learn more about the Hogettes and their upcoming fundraising efforts, please visit www.hogettes.org or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.