There’s nothing quite like the roar of the crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium after a Bills touchdown.
On the other side of the country after a Bills score, there’s also nothing quite like the sound of the Seattle Backers and their touchdown horn at Jillian’s Billiards Club. They might number significantly less than the population of the Ralph on a Sunday, but their group of about 60 has found a sound all its own.
Founded in the mid-1990s, this family-oriented, tight-knit group is ready to go each Sunday for the 10 a.m. Pacific Time kickoffs along with fans of many other East Coast teams. They might not outnumber the other fans, but make no mistake – these Bills Backers are the loudest.
Years before he co-founded the Bills Backers of Seattle, Dennis Adams, a Buffalo native like most of his fellow Backers, was inspired to buy a loud Bills horn after attending a home game. Not to be outdone by fans of other teams at Jillian’s, nor to let the horn collect dust in his Seattle home, Adams created a new tradition of sounding it after every touchdown.
“When you hear that horn, you know the Bills scored,” Adams said. “It certainly scares people.”
Said current co-president Boegart Bibby playfully of Adams’ infamous horn, “A lot of fans of opposing teams watching the game at Jillian’s might like to break it.”
It’s traditions like these that not only bring Bills fans together in faraway cities like Seattle, but connect them to their Buffalo roots, no matter how long they’ve been away.
“I don’t really feel homesick unless I see Ralph Wilson Stadium,” said Bibby. “Being a Bills fan in Seattle has caused me to have a greater love for the Buffalo Bills than had when I lived there and might have taken them for granted.”
Bibby and co-president Andy Matteliano said though most of their Seattle Backers met because of the Bills, they’ve formed friendships that stretch beyond just Sundays during the season. Matteliano said he’s moved around the U.S., and has never been a part of a Backers group so close.
"This is just what Buffalonians do," said Bibby. “One thing I’ve learned about the Bills is that it’s a part of home you take with you everywhere you go.”
As the Bills take on the Seahawks this weekend in Toronto, these Backers will be outnumbered, but will undoubtedly be sounding horns and cheering more loudly than usual from Seattle.
Want to get loud with the Bills Backers of Seattle? Head to Jillian's Billiards Club, but stay tuned for a new location next year, as the group is looking to relocate. Not in Seattle? Click here to find a chapter near you.