This is a story of how the love and passion for a professional sports team more than 2,711 miles away manifested into two men creating a booster club and non-profit organization that would bring passionate Oakland Raiders fans together.
Based in Western New York, it was those fun and exciting times that brought together passionate fans while creating the atmosphere of a real fan and all for a good cause including local charities.
Joseph Spinelli (President) and Kevin Loewke (Vice President) met while watching their Oakland Raiders versus the Denver Broncos on December 28th, 2014 at Romig’s Tavern, which has been a local Raiders Bar since the early 70’s, under the new management of brothers Mike and Bill O’Dell.
Joe was there to gauge the interest of Raider fans to see if they wanted to be part of a booster club after returning from California on his honeymoon. He watched two Raiders games back to back and wanted to bring Rochester, NY their slice of Raider Nation.
He approached Kevin, clipboard in hand, and the two hit it off immediately. They agreed to meet again so they could find a home for their club. After going to other local Raiders bars, they quickly realized that the place they met, Romig’s, was the obvious choice because of the established history.
In 2015, their first year, they had 50 members and raised over $1.400 for the Pirate Toy Fund, a nonprofit organization that distributes toys to children in need in the greater Rochester area, and also had an autograph signing from Raiders’ legend Daryle Lamonica.
In year two they doubled in size to just over 100 members. They continued holding fund raisers, selling raffle tickets and raising over $2,100 towards finding a cure for childhood cancer. They held events with former Raiders fullback Zack Crocket and linebacker Tim Johnson, a participant in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Entering their third season, they have already matched the 100 members from last season before the first game has even been played. They have big things planned this year with their first group trip scheduled to go to Buffalo to watch the Silver and Black on October 29th in Orchard Park. To continue the tradition this year, they are raising money for the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester this upcoming year, and have hopes of hosting a Super Bowl Party at Romig’s one day.
On a personal note, I would like to thank you for all your hard work and dedication. Many of the things you have done, from traveling to see Latavius Murray to helping Roland Williams at his camp, and all the events you have set up for charitable causes set a great example for Raider Nation.
With a motto like “Be more than a spectator,” I can speak from personal experience that in Rochester, Raider Nation lives up to those words.
I would like to thank Kevin Loewke and Joseph Spinelli for all your help, information, and trust you gave me to write this article. Check out their work on Twitter @RaiderRoc and give them a follow, tell them RaiderRamble.com sent you.