Long-time friends become tailgate kings at Devils Lake football games thanks to van.

When driving up to Devils Lake High School to watch a Firebird football game, chances are you’ll hear “The Funk.” But don’t be confused by the name.

In this case, The Funk doesn’t refer to a genre of music, but rather it resembles a big black van, a tailgating vehicle piloted by a host of Devils Lake seniors showing their school spirit.

Blake Buchmeier and Kendall Hatten are just two of ten members of “The Funk,” a group of life-long friends that went in on this project together.

The Funk van is something to behold, but it certainly didn’t look the way it does now before these students bought it.

The vehicle was originally a red van owned by Mercy Hospital before becoming tailgate central for Devils Lake Football. The van is black and gold now, but that’s not all that these students did to this vehicle.

They took out the seating and re-upholstered it with zebra fabric. They also installed custom shelving, a television and an X-box, making “The Funk” the ideal vehicle for tailgating and road trips.

According to Buchmeier, getting this van was something that he and the group had been planning to do for a while, and they decided to make it happen this year.

“We’re all seniors, and we thought since this is our last year, we gottta get a van,” he said. “We’ve always talked about it, and we actually ended up doing it.”

While the van’s name is “the Funk,” the name itself was inspired by this group of ten Devils Lake students, who’ve been friends for much longer than they’ve had the van.

“When we were little, we were originally the DL amigos,” senior Kendall Hatten said. “We just came up with a bunch of different names, but ‘The Funk’ just stuck.”

“So we just named (the van) after our team, us and our best buds,” Buchmeier added.

The team that Buchmeier refers to is their Elks team, which competes in various sports tournaments sponsored by the Devils Lake Elks Group.

These ten students have been on the same team for a number of years now, which has strengthened the bond between them.

And nothing spells out friendship like a great big van, at least according to these seniors.

Buchmeier and Hatten both hope that their newfound tailgating machine will follow the team on the road this season.

“Hopefully,” they both said emphatically.

“It only gets up to about 65 mph,” Hatten added, “so we’re hoping it’ll hold up for us.”