Crusader Raider and Cross Bones Kelly representing the Silver and Black UK back in Oakland!!
Following a successful and enjoyable week in Florida including the win at Tampa Bay the 2016 Crusade moved on to California. Crusader Raider and Cross Bones Kelly were joined on our flights via St Louis by Dr Death and Feisty Raider on our journey to the Bay Area. Our trip begun with visits to friends in Bay Point and Galt and a trip to the Biletnikoff Foundation supported home ‘Tracey’s Place of Hope’ where we met up with Angela Biletnikoff and staff at the home to see how the property has transformed into a wonderful new home for six young ladies needing some extra support to help get their lives back on track. After some rest we then headed back south to meet up with Silver and Black UK members Les Wilkie, Nik Partou and his son Demetrius where we headed off to the Chapel of the Chimes to pay our respects to Al Davis, before heading off to the Raiders facility to meet friends in various departments to share our love for the Raiders from here in England.
After the facility meetings it was time for some serious shopping at the Raiders image where we all stocked up on the latest Raiders goodies before heading back to San Ramon for the annual Biletnikoff foundation charity crab feed. This is one of my favourite annual fundraisers where we got to hang out with Coach Jack Del Rio, owner Mark Davis, Fred Biletnikoff, Lincoln Kennedy and many other former Raiders players and coaches, as well as friends from the Raider Nation including 80 visitors from the Silver and Black Empire from New York. It was my privilege as an honorary member of the Florida Raider Nation Booster Club to present a cheque to the foundation for $2565.50 from our fundraising activities the previous weekend in Tampa.
Saturday saw a large group of us meeting up for breakfast including our friend and IT Guru Randall Olson from the Raider Nation Podcast before Kelly and I headed off for a photo shoot at the Raiders facility with Ed Jay after hanging out with over 500 friends at the Raiders Fans Conference. Then it was back to the hotel to change and head over to Cal Berkeley Stadium for the college game between Cal and the Washington Huskies. This finished around midnight and then we headed over to the 66th mob to hang out with fans before a late night drinking session with the Nation back at the Hilton hotel.
Game Day Sunday, begun with a three hour walk around the tailgate before heading to the Bad Boyz of BBQ where Crusader was honoured to be nominated for the 2017 PFUFA.org draft class to be recognised as an ultimate fan of the Oakland Raiders, this is a great honour for me and the SBUK. Then onto the game and wow you all know what happened there 30-20 Raiders over the Donkeys as we go into the bye week 7 and 2!
Sunday night was supper in Oakland before heading back for more drinks at the Hilton! Monday marked a rest day for SBUK members Kelly, Demetrius, Nik, Les and myself as we headed to Monterey to check out the coast, beach, cannery and aquarium. Then it was a case of pack our bags and get ready to head back to the UK for what had been my most successful crusade to date, two wins, new friends, sold out games, draft to the PFUFA, raised funds for charity and had just an awesome time with the Raider Nation.
Next stop playoffs in January…… Who knows?
Keith “Crusader Raider” Smith