*The Texans invited fans to submit their best Texans stories for a chance to be featured on the team's 2011 season tickets in the “Your Story, Your Glory” contest. *
Selected to be on the ticket for the Week 15 Home for the Holidays game against the Carolina Panthers were Gail and Alan Martin from Deer Park, Texas. This is their story, as told first by Alan and then by Gail.
"We got married out in the parking lot. September the 18th, 2005. It was a Pittsburgh Steelers game, the first home game of the season that year.
"We have a very large tailgate party in the Red parking lot. I started tailgating there the very first game. I've been a season ticket holder since day one. We've been in the same spot in the Red Lot. I met Gail a couple of years later and she started joining us out there. Our tailgate party has grown from three couples to between 50 and 100 people, so it's a very exciting experience for us every week during football season.
"The people out there did not know that we were getting married. We brought our own minister. He had a jersey on, a David Carr jersey. It was just a wonderful experience. Everybody was very surprised. After we had cooked, there was still about an hour or so before game time. I got everybody quiet and I said, 'Gail and I have an announcement to make.' Everybody seemed to think that we were going to announce our engagement. And I said, 'Gail and I have decided to get married,' and the crowd roared.
"Then, I said, 'If you guys would indulge with us for just a few minutes, then we're going to do it right now.' And you could have heard a pin drop. Nobody said a word. They just couldn't believe it. Sure enough, we had the minister there, and the minister came out. We had our ceremony, and everybody had a great time."
"It started when were on our way home from a trip to Louisiana. He had already proposed, and I said, 'You know, I have an idea. I don't want to spend a lot of money on a big wedding.' We'd both been married before, so I said, 'Let's do this at the Texans home game. All of our friends are there.' He said, 'That's a great idea,' so when we got home, we looked at the calendar and said, 'The first home game for the Texans will be September 18th, and that'll be our wedding day.' So then I hired the minister, got bride and groom T-shirts together, and his very best friends from childhood were the only ones that knew we were getting married. We had to have a maid of honor and a best man, so we called them and asked them if they were available to come out and join us. They said, 'Yes, we would love to be there,' and so they were there with us. They're the only ones that knew.
"The day of our wedding, we had Texans T-shirts on and the bride and groom T-shirts on underneath. We get there at eight o'clock in the morning for a noon game to get our tailgating spot. It's a great spot. We're the Red Lot Hotshots, the Red Lot Renegades. We've got a couple names for our tailgate because we keep growing every year and adding new people and have to keep changing our name. We had our shirts hidden so nobody would know, because we wanted it to be a surprise. That was my idea. I thought it would be fun because we already have our reception out there. All of our friends are there. Our family, all the good food and fellowship are there to celebrate with us.
"As we were getting set up and all, the minister called me. He was waiting in another area. I had him come over and join the tailgate, introduced him as my friend from work. No one knew he was a minister, so he kind of casually waited until the time came. We normally serve our meal at the tailgate around 10:30, quarter of 11 for a noon game, so about 10:20 is when we took our Texans jerseys off and had our wedding shirts on. A TV station happened to be walking by. They came by and they filmed the whole thing. It was on TV that night and the next morning, and wow, we got so many phone calls that night and the next day: 'I saw you on TV, you got married!' Yeah, we did it again. If you've been married before and want to get married again, this is how you should do it."