Eckrich® Hosts "Ultimate Tailgate" for Operation Homefront Military Families in Michigan

Event Highlighted with Surprise Appearance by Popular College Football Analyst Kirk Herbstreit

Sep 07, 2013, 23:10 ET from Eckrich

LISLE, Ill., Sept. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- College football season is finally here. It's a time of year where fans gather together at football stadiums across the country to cheer on their favorite team. It also signals the start of football tailgating season and Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, is ready to fire up the grill.


To kick off college football - and tailgating - season, and to help unveil their newest line of smoked sausage, Eckrich hosted a special event today featuring Emmy-winning college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit and Operation Homefront at the Notre Dame versus University of Michigan football game in Ann Arbor.

Wounded warriors, active duty and military veterans and their families from the Ann Arbor area were invited to attend the 'Ultimate Tailgate" Saturday afternoon prior to the big game. The guests thought they were there just to eat, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow military families, and attend the football game. But that wasn't all.

Just as the grills fired up, Kirk Herbstreit joined the tailgate armed with packages of Eckrich's new Kirk Herbstreit "Ultimate Tailgate" smoked sausage. The popular football analyst spent time with the guests, signed autographs and thanked them for their service. After spending time with Herbstreit, the special guests enjoyed the Ultimate Tailgate smoked sausage before taking in the game.

Kirk Herbstreit "Ultimate Tailgate" smoked sausage is the newest product line from Eckrich.  Products available include Original Natural Casing Rope Smoked Sausage and Cheddar Smoked Sausage Links.

"What a great experience. Being here with these military families, honoring and thanking them for all they have done," said Herbstreit. "I am really proud to partner with Eckrich on this product line, but also to be a part of all that they are doing with Operation Homefront to support our military families. Hosting events such as this Ultimate Tailgate are the least we can do to celebrate our brave men and women and thank their families who sacrifice so much."

"Honoring not just our men and women in military uniform but their families as well is important to us," said Chuck Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group. "We are pleased to host events such as today's in conjunction with our new Kirk Herbstreit 'Ultimate Tailgate' items from Eckrich.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate these families and the start of a new college football season than with Kirk Herbstreit, Operation Homefront, and a group of military families who have sacrificed so much. We are grateful for everything they do on behalf of military families and are honored to work together."

Consumers, football and tailgate fans alike can now find Eckrich's new Kirk Herbstreit 'Ultimate Tailgate' smoked sausage products at their local grocer.  They can also enter for a chance to meet Herbstreit themselves in Pasadena, California in January through the Ultimate Tailgate Sweepstakes promotion that Eckrich is offering.

Fans are encouraged to visit to learn more and enter the sweepstakes.

About Eckrich 
Founded by Peter Eckrich in 1894, Eckrich has a rich heritage starting from a small meat market in Fort Wayne, Ind. Through it all, Eckrich meats have been recognized for their great taste and supreme quality, craftsmanship, care and pride. For more information, visit or

About John Morrell Food Group 
With over a century and a half of experience, John Morrell Food Group brands have become respected and well known for providing premium-quality meat products to families across the United States. With products ranging from lunchmeat and franks to smoked sausage, bacon and pepperoni, the John Morrell Food Group is an important part of consumers' mealtimes. The John Morrell Food Group offers several national and regional brands including Armour®, Eckrich®, John Morrell®, Curly's®, Patrick Cudahy®, Carando®, Healthy Ones®, Margherita® Kretschmar® and LunchMakers®.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $13 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook's®, Gwaltney®, John Morrell®, Kretschmar®, Curly's®, Carando®, Margherita®, and Healthy Ones®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental, and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit and

About Operation Homefront
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has met more than 750,000 needs of military families since its inception in 2002.  A four-star rated charity by watchdog Charity Navigator, nationally, 95 percent of total revenue donated to Operation Homefront goes directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to

SOURCE Eckrich