To kick off college football - and tailgating - season, and to help unveil their newest line of smoked sausage, Eckrich hosted a special event 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."