Tailgating produces an almost carnival-like atmosphere at Oakland Raiders home games. You’ll spot plenty of characters outside O.co Coliseum such as Gorilla Rilla, Jungle Jane and Voodoo Man. And around the Coliseum parking lots, you’ll feel lots of character – the character of Raider Nation.
Yes, there’s one common silver and black flag for Raider Nation. But this nation is diverse, and that diversity is on display during tailgating. It’s also a friendly nation, fans say. Oakland fans insist they get a bad rap. “We’re not thugs, we’re not villains, we’re not going to kill you,” veteran Coliseum tailgater “Kingsford Kirk” Bronsord said in a video about NFL tailgating.
Here’s a look at several of the “cities” within the Raider Nation of tailgating.
The Black Hole is the place in the Coliseum where the team’s most raucous fans sit. But these fans also take their rowdiness to Lot D before kickoff. You’ll find them at the island closest to the stadium. There, you can partake in Bud Light, Jell-O shots and barbecue. “The Black Hole is a state of mind. It’s a way of life. It’s for all Raiders fans who bleed Silver and Black!” the group says on its Facebook page.
Over at the lot for RVs and buses are the Bad Boyz of BBQ. For a $25 donation, you can feast on oysters, salmon and other barbecued delicacies. Note: You have to supply your own alcohol. “We aren’t about getting drunk and stupid. It’s about providing a good time for everyone,” said Bronsord, who leads the Bad Boyz.
The Grill Iron Gang offers a home away from home for out-of-town Raiders fans. Hometown fans are invited to drop by, too. The Grill Iron Gang, which is the “official grill team” of Gorilla Rilla, is a potluck affair. The gang will grill the food you bring. But if you couldn’t or didn’t bring your own grub, you can simply kick in some money and dig in. The gang’s motto: “If You Leave Here Hungry, It’s Your Own Damn Fault!”
If you’re in the mood for a low-key party, you can visit the alcohol-free tailgating zone as a season ticket holder or a group ticket buyer. This zone is in the northeast corner of Lot D.
Party Time in Raiderville
This tailgate party, which the Raiders say is “immensely popular,” debuted in 2009. Raiderville, sponsored by Bud Light, features activities for kids and adults. It’s held in Lot B and admission is free. One of the Raiderville areas that holds appeal for kids is the Disney Pixar Family Zone, where children and grownups can dabble in arts and crafts or scramble through a “Finding Nemo” inflatable obstacle course.
For your football-viewing pleasure, two nine-foot LED screens display other NFL games. You can also watch games on flat-screen TVs at the Bud Light bar. Former Raiders such as Ken Stabler and Fred Biletnikoff and Raiderettes cheerleaders drop by to give autographs.
Items on the Raiderville menu from Best Beverages Catering include Raiders burgers and fries, grilled Italian sausages with peppers and onions, barbecued hot link sausages, barbecued pork with southern slaw and barbecued beef brisket sandwiches.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
John Egan is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on Examiner.com.