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Vagabond Journey

Week Three: Traveling To Minnesota For … Football

We travel for this.

CHICAGO O’Hare- I’m not sure what I’m doing. I usually travel for work. I added up the potential earnings and pit them against the expenses, and if the former seems higher I go. But this time I’m not traveling for work. I’m traveling for fun. I’m going to Minnesota… for a football game.

I’m sitting here in Chicago O’Hare in my LeSean McCoy jersey feeling kind of silly. I’m a serious, seasoned, professional traveler and here taking a trip like a tourist.

This all started out with me taunting my ex-brother-in law. My sister divorced the guy years ago but my family never go the message. We still talk to him like we always had. When I was out in Montana I hung out with him in Glacier National Park. We drank beer together and talked about the old days and shit like that. I’ve know this guy since middle school.

So when the Bills schedule came out I went down the list of away games and picked one that I would go to. Baltimore, the season opener, I decided. I bought tickets for Hannah and I.

But I apparently wasn’t done yet. I began taunting Rory: “Dude, Minnesota is right between us. Let’s meet there!” I didn’t think he would actually do it. Rory is rational; he doesn’t do these things. But he called my bluff. So now I’m on the way to Minnesota.

The local Bills backers have an entire program set out for visiting fans. In every football city there is a local Bills backers chapter. Western NY has its own diaspora. When the factories closed down the people dispersed throughout the country, reforming their communities around the bars that they opened up.

So whenever the team travels the local Bills backers take responsibility for collecting everybody together, setting up events, tailgates, and all kinds of other shit. Basically, thousands of Bills fans end up partying together from 6:30 pm Saturday to game time Sunday.

Bills fans travel to away games, sometimes in such quantities as to significantly alter the demographics of sections of a city … not to mention a stadium. You gain no social credos in WNY for going to home games — everybody does this — it’s in the away games that we really show what we’re about.

Basically, you buy a ticket, travel to another city, and party for two days with friends. People from WNY really like people from WNY.

We’re also led by Kenny Johnson, aka Pinto Ron. Kenny leads the Red Pinto tailgate that I’ve previously written about. He has been to something like 395 Bills games in a row — more than any other fan in NFL history. He really pushed the idea of going to away games through the fan base, seeding the notion of “doing a season” — going to every game, home and away — and the movement caught on.

Filed under: Buffalo Bills, Minnesota

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3411 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

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