LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Now that the Raiders have made the move to Las Vegas, you may be wondering what will happen to The Black Hole?
They're arguably the most famous football fans in the country, and for the past 25 years, The Black Hole has been front and center in Oakland to show their support for the silver and black, dressing up like it's Halloween at every home game.
Fans in the stands or not, Black Hole members have made the trip to Las Vegas for the team's inaugural game and they have assured 13 Action news that their presence will be felt in Las Vegas tonight, and every other Raider game for years to come.
In the shadows of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, The Black Hole has set up shop at a small storefront in an industrial complex. That's where a few dozen fans gathered this weekend to talk about the future of The Black Hole.
"My name is Rachel. They call me 'Off the Hook,' and I’m coming from Oakland," said Rachel Brown, a long-time Raiders season ticket holder.
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Most of The Black Hole members who gathered over the weekend trace their Raider roots back to the Bay Area. They can all relate to the heartbreak of losing what was home.
"I was heartbroken to be honest. I was hurt because I felt like we belong at home, but we have a new home now," said Brown.
"It’s like a divorce. You got mom and dad. Oakland is mom. Dad is in Vegas. And we're the kids. We’re in the middle. We’re stuck. You gotta love them both," said Mark Acasio, better known as "Gorilla Rilla."
After 25 years of backing The Black Hole, Gorilla Rilla is one of the group's longest-tenured members. He says, even without fans in the stands, there's no way he wouldn't be here for the Raiders' first-ever home game in Las Vegas.
"People have asked me, 'why are you going all the way to Vegas? They’re not going to let you in.' I said, if you don’t live it, you won’t understand it. That’s a whole new different way of thinking. It’s a process of reality that you don’t know unless you’re in it," said Acasio.
But, The Black Hole will also be missing some members for the home opener in Las Vegas, including Wayne "Violator" Mabry.
"I was just deeply hurt that this was it, saying goodbye to a lot of my friends that I had known over 24 years there. I probably wouldn’t see them again," said Mabry, reflecting on the team's departure from Las Vegas.
Mabry wasn't able to make the trip to Sin City this weekend, but says he's got season tickets waiting whenever Allegiant Stadium opens up for fans.
"We ended an era last year. This is the beginning of a new era. So, who wouldn’t wanna be a part of that? That’s called history," said Mabry.
"25 years ago, we started The Black Hole organically. It was something that a handful of people put into action and we located a section in that stadium and we grew that section out, but our whole goal was to make that whole stadium one big black hole," said Rob Rivera, founder and president of The Black Hole.
Through 25 years and several cities, Rivera says The Black Hole has been there to support the silver and black. Now, in a new city, he's hoping the Raiders will return the favor.
"Hey, we’re hoping we get a call from Mark Davis and he says, 'Hey guys, we are going to give you a section here to get started. This is your banner. This is your area. Come and bring that same sort of intensity that you guys had in Oakland because what we did here was special. We were able to supply the home-field advantage for 25 years and even when the team had multiple down years, we consistently supported," said Rivera.
But, most of The Black Hole members 13 Action News talked to over the weekend are taking matters into their own hands, purchasing personal seat licenses (PSLs) in one of the end zones at the new Allegiant Stadium so they can continue to attend Raider games as a group when they're allowed in.
"We specifically picked where we're going to sit. We got the front row. We'll be right there. You can’t divide the family," said Brown.
With plans to re-create the Oakland black hole here in Las Vegas, these fans say they're not going anywhere.
"I don’t care where they go. I go to Mexico. I go to London. You can’t take no home games from me. These people around me, I see them in London. They’re there and we do the same thing out there like it’s our land, take over. That’s what we do," said Shine Nieto, a California native.
"The Black Hole is going to be here, just like it was in Oakland. We are going to be going through the outreach, just like we did in Oakland. And we’ll be representing the fanbase, just like we did in Oakland. So, it’s just a different city, but it’s the same Black Hole," said John Vizcarra, vice president of The Black Hole Las Vegas chapter.
Cisco Ortega, the president of The Black Hole Las Vegas chapter, tells 13 Action News they don't just want to be here for the team in its new city, they want to be here for the southern Nevada community. They're already looking into ways to give back to charities in the area.
If you're interested in learning more about The Black Hole, click this link.
Watch the first Las Vegas Raiders home game at 5:15 p.m. Sept. 21 on KTNV channel 13.