If the Raider Nation had a tailgating ambassador, “Kingsford Kirk” Bronsord could very well fill the role.
Bronsord, head of the Bad Boyz of BBQ tailgating crew, has been a fixture at Oakland Raiders games – a fixture not unlike the field itself – since the football team returned to the Bay Area in 1995. At every home game, the Newark truck driver hangs out among roughly 120 to 200 “extreme” tailgaters outside O.co Coliseum. Bonsord leads a team who cooks up some fine football fare including barbecued oysters, grilled salmon, soy ginger chicken, marinated tri-tip, spicy Thai rib tips, barbecued beans and arroz con pollo.
“The food is very upscale compared to most tailgates,” Bronsord said.
Indeed. After all, how many tailgating feasts have garnered national acclaim? The Bad Boyz of BBQ won a Food Network “Tailgate Warriors” smackdown in 2010 against a tailgating team representing the San Francisco 49ers. Bay Area resident and Food Network personality Guy Fieri presided over the competition, which was held on the Raiders’ home turf.
Aside from Fieri, other notable folks who’ve dropped by the Bad Boyz of BBQ’s get-togethers include former Raiders players, die-hard fans from the Coliseum’s rowdy “Black Hole” section and tailgaters from other states and countries (such as Australia, Canada, England and Scotland).
Bronsord said the 8,500 or so spaces in the Coliseum parking lot become one gigantic tailgating bash on game day. “The ‘sheer volume’ of Raiders tailgating sets the Coliseum apart from other NFL stadiums,” he said. “Raiders fans are very friendly, despite our reputation. You can walk around the lot and people will ask you to join them, or if you would like some food or drink.”
For every home game, Bronsord and his posse arrive at the Coliseum with two trailers – one packed with tailgating goods and gear and the other with a portable living room equipped with five exterior TVs. The Bad Boyz of BBQ spend about six hours tailgating and about 12 hours prepping and cleaning up. “It’s not just a football game – it’s an event,” Bronsord said. What’s his favorite part of the event? “The people we meet and the smiles we put on their faces – and, of course, the food,” Bronsord said.
Bronsord must have had a huge smile on his goateed face back in August 2009, when he was inducted into the Pro Football’s Ultimate Fan Association, an elite group comprised of NFL enthusiasts. Bronsord attended the induction ceremony with son Marcus.
“It’s hard to explain what we have created with our tailgate and its extended family. To see the joy and happiness that we bring to everyone is worth all the work involved with putting on such a tailgate,” Bronsord said.
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John Egan is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on Examiner.com.