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On The Prowl with the PantherFanz

Carolina PantherFanz Tailgate BusThe road to the creation of a Tailgate Machine comes with many obstacles. For some it could be money, space, time, or technical know-how, but for James Hastings and his buddies it was their wives. His dream was to have a self contained party bus that would eliminate a lot of the pre and post game preparation that took place at his house. James belongs to a tailgate group called the PantherFanz, which was increasing in size yearly, adding to the prep time getting ready for games.

Finally, one night in 2003, the idea came up again as a group of his friends sat around drinking with their spouses. Of course, his buddies, PeaDad Caudill and Bret Gilbert, were all for it, but still standing in their way were, you guessed it, the wives. However, it didn’t take too long before the alcohol started taking control, and the women gave in not thinking they would really do it. Less than a week later, a tow truck towing a 1979 full size International Yellow School Bus arrived at their temporary “monster garage” donated by some local businessmen, Steve and Joel. The “PantherFanz Party Prowler” was born!

PantherFanzJames and his buddies began by completely clearing the inside, and then cutting off the back without an actual plan in place. They removed an 8-foot section of the roof to allow for the patio which features 8 blue Panther Stadium seats. The Prowler sports an electronic awning that is 17 feet long and erects out to 15 feet to mark its territory.

Inside they have two booths with tables, refrigerator, pantry with all the game day eating essentials, heat/AC unit, bathroom, and locker for game day jerseys. The media closet contains a satellite receiver, satellite radio, surround sound receiver, and all the other toys needed to pump out the game day entertainment. Also inside, the “PantherFanz Party Prowler” features signatures from cheerleaders, players, and owner Jerry Richardson.

PantherFanz maintain their own lot next to Panther Stadium, which even features a performance stage equipped for live shows. With room for approximately 20 other vehicles, the group is able to host other passionate Panther fans plus opposing team fans coming to cheer on their team. Over the last ten years, they have hosted numerous events including, TopCat Alumni party for Panther Cheerleaders, a televised barbecue with Bobby Flay, parties hosted by Cholula, Monster Energy Drinks, Carolina Blonde, and Red Bull. PantherFanz also give back by contributing to The Microsoft Keep Giving Campaign for the United Way among other charities.

It goes without saying that the “PantherFanz Party Prowler” can be found at every home game, and will continue to be the centerpiece of the best tailgate party in Charlotte, North Carolina!

To learn more about the "PantherFanz Party Prowler" or PantherFanz, please visit their website

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