Broncos faithful buck weather

Cold, rain don't faze fans before team's 54th `MNF' game

Ravens Gameday

October 10, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

DENVER -- Defying a steady mist that accompanied a cold wind and standing outside Invesco Field at Mile High more than seven hours before last night's prime-time contest between the Ravens and Denver Broncos, Aaron Mills proclaimed yesterday a good day to tailgate.

"This is kind of light," said Mills, a 25-year-old car salesman from Denver. "It gets bad sometimes, but this isn't bad at all."

Mills, who stood outside Lot C with his friend Aaron Wallace, was one of several Broncos fans who braved the elements yesterday in anticipation of the 54th Monday night contest in club history.

The forecast yesterday called for showers and temperatures barely reaching 40 degrees, but that did little to deter the hardiest of Broncos supporters.

Many of those fans lined up at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Morrison Road at 11 a.m. for an opportunity to pull their trucks, vans and cars into Lot C, which didn't open for another hour.

Brad Stiegelmeyer and Jack Doak sat in a truck pulling a trailer with a large grill. As salesmen for a local oil and gas services company, Stiegelmeyer and Doak were there to make sure the company got a prime spot in the lot for some clients who were planning to stop by.

"This is work," said Stiegelmeyer, 53. "This is part of our job."

Added Doak, 53: "We do it because we love our company."

Many of the fans who waited in line are frequent tailgaters who see the same faces eight weeks of every year.

"You don't even know their first names, but you know the car they drive, the beer they drink, and that they'll be here early," said Scott Sanders, a 34-year-old car salesman and realtor who is known as "Disco Man" for his orange Afro and orange-and-blue leisure suit. "You'll talk to them as if you've known them for 20 years. ... It's like a family reunion."

Many of the fans took the day off from work to tailgate in the rain. At least Mills had a permission slip: His boss, Wallace, was grilling New York strip steaks and chicken breasts right next to him.

"This is my duty," said Wallace, 23. "I should be out here."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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