There are ways to recreate a Bills gameday atmosphere when not in Buffalo; food, drink, the Shout song, and a friendly bar to house it all are certainly on the list.
But ask any Bills Backer around the country, and they’ll tell you that the most important ingredient – not surprisingly – is good company.
“We find Western New Yorkers all different kinds of ways,” said Pat Easton of the St. Louis Bills Backers, who meet at Lester's Sports Bar & Grill.
Easton and her husband are true to form for the St. Louis group. They were selling trading cards years ago when someone asked if they had any of Jim Kelly. When they told the customer they hold on to their Kelly cards because they’re big Bills fans, he told them about the Backers group and invited them to join, adding a new tradition to their lives.
Other members have been recruited in supermarkets when wearing Bills gear, or have stumbled across the group online, bringing the chapter from a tight-knit group of 3 in the early 1990s to up to fifty on gamedays this year.
And though the grocery store run-ins and Facebook searches bring in fans living around St. Louis, the chapter is a popular pit stop for cross-country travelers looking to watch their Bills with fellow Backers along their journey.
“It’s just downright fun connecting with people from St. Louis and around the country,” Easton said. “Even people around the restaurant are looking at us looking to get in on the fun.”
In fact, they’ve had a few successful conversions. “Some of our members have dragged their spouses who have since become loyal Bills fans,” she said.
The chapter is made up of just about every genre of fan you can think of, from 8 year olds, to retired former Buffalonians, college students, and even a newborn baby.
Between the Labatt’s, the wings, the Shout song on cue and their friendly bar - but most importantly the mix of Bills fans young, old, and just passing through - these Midwestern Backers have created a Bills gameday home in St. Louis.
Are you a Bills fan living in the St. Louis area? Stop by Lester's in Chesterfield, Missouri to join in on the fun. If not, check our Bills Backers Locater Map to find a chapter near you.