LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — "You say the name of the Black Hole. People know what you're talking about," says Cisco Ortega, chapter president of the Las Vegas Black Hole.
A fan base founded on inclusion, loyalty, and family deals with an unexpected loss leaving the Black Hole and many of its members to cherish and uphold a legacy.
"Raider Nation has a nucleus, and that nucleus is the Black Hole, and this thing has a heart, and that heart is the Black Hole, and the Black Hole is Rob (Rivera) and the rest of the founding fathers, but it's hard to keep living without your heart," says John Vizcarra, VP for the Las Vegas Chapter of The Black Hole.
Black Hole co-founder and one of the main founding fathers, known as " Black Hole Rob," recently lost his battle with COVID-19. Rob Rivera was one of the most important fans of the Las Vegas Raiders.
"Yeah, this was a mighty blow to all of us who knew Rob. But, as far as I'm concerned, he'll go down as a true icon within the Raider Nation. For those who didn't know Rob, he was a loving, caring human being; Rob would give the shirt off his back for you, and to sum it up, Rob was an incredible human being," Ortega said.
Fellow Black Hole member Sean Camacho also known as "Senior Raider," says, "Rob was the heart soul of the black hole, and he's going to be sorely missed."
In 1995 a group of friends launched, and the idea would become a staple in NFL history and be known as one of the loudest and most dedicated fan bases. One year later, the same group purchased tickets in the south end zone of the Oakland Coliseum with one goal to be a place where fans bleed Silver and Black and come together to support the Raiders.
That was the start of the Black Hole.
As the raiders moved from Oakland to Las Vegas the south end zone remained home for the Black Hole with the same goals. The mission of the Black Hole is simple: Make the entire stadium one, which still remains true.
Pro Football Hall of Famer for 2021 Wayne Mabry, also known as "The Violator," says the blueprints already been set. All you got to do is follow suit.
Many current Black Hole members shared the impact Rivera had on them, including Akim Henderson.
"Rob provided for me an opportunity. He saw something in me, and so I became like, you know, the black hole, bull horn," he said.
Black Hole Rob is survived by his wife Rachel, a stepson Jonathan and his two daughters Naomi and Natalie, as well as the nation of brothers he has inherited.
Henderson leaves Rivera's wife with this message: "Thank you, Miss Rachel, for allowing me to be such a truculent part of your family. Thank you for adopting me."
Black Hole Rob was never able to make it to Las Vegas to see the Raiders in their new home. Ortega says he wanted to.
"I know he was planning to. Danny was our bartender at the tailgate. He had a ticket already set aside for Rob and was planning a trip. But unfortunately, he never got a chance to come," he said.
Ortega and Black Hole Rob both had a love for boxing and wanted to see a boxing match here.
"Unfortunately, we didn't get to do that. I may do that still and buy two tickets to a boxing match and put a Black Hole shirt to the seat next to me and we'll watch it together spiritually," Ortega said.
To honor the life of a founding father, there will be a balloon release at the tailgate before Sunday's Raiders game at Allegiant Stadium.