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Raider Nation shows up in force as Raiders win in OT

Updated September 14, 2021 - 6:05 am

Some of the first fans to pass through the gates of Allegiant Stadium on Monday may also have traveled the farthest to attend the game.

Jesse King V and his father, Jesse King IV, traveled to Las Vegas from Germany to attend the first regular-season Raiders game with fans in attendance.

The father-son duo arrived in Las Vegas last week ahead of the once-in-a-lifetime experi-

ence.

“I’m 26 and I’ve been a Raider fan all of my life, like my dad, who has been one for almost 50 years,” King V said after getting a temporary Raiders tattoo. “It’s in his DNA and he implemented it into mine. So, I’m a Raiders fan for life now.”

King IV serves in the Army and gifted the trip — originally planned for last year before COVID-19 — to his son for earning his master’s degree.

“Go to Vegas, have a good time and go see the Raiders,” King IV said.

The Kings toured the stadium earlier in their trip and said they were blown away by the Raiders new home.

“I can’t describe it in words,” King V said. “It’s an amazing, beautiful stadium.”

The Kings were part of a near sellout crowd at the 65,000-seat stadium, with an announced attendance of 61,756, where the Raiders played in 2020 without fans present. The team announced last month that fans attending games at Allegiant Stadium must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter.

Fully vaccinated fans can go without a mask inside the stadium while those who have one of the two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are allowed to enter, but must wear masks. Most of the fans inside the stadium Monday were not wearing masks.

Fans can use the Clear Health Pass app to store their vaccination information or can verify their vaccination status at the stadium.

As the gates opened Monday, the Clear app process appeared to work well, with most fans ready to show their QR code or wrist band for those who did the alternate screening at the stadium.

Jim Combs and his sister made the trip to Las Vegas to celebrate their 60th and 50th birthdays respectively and decided to attend the game. “We said what the hell and bought some tickets. It’s Monday Night Football,” Combs said.

At 4 p.m. there were 640 tickets for the game listed on StubHub, down from 1,350 at 9 a.m. The lowest advertised price Monday afternoon was $198.

The two did the alternate vaccine screening and said it went off without a hitch.

A line more than 100 people long backed up from one of the two screening tents, but once the doors opened at 1 p.m. the line dissipated quickly.

“It was smooth. We were in line no more than 20 minutes,” Combs said. “The longest we had to wait was down there, because the gates weren’t open yet. Boom in-and-out.”

Fans also didn’t let the 100-plus degree heat deter them from carrying out a Raider tradition: tailgating.

Different groups of tailgaters began setting up as soon as parking lots opened to vehicles at 1 p.m.,with Lot J serving as the most populated tailgating lot.

Fans set up tents, grills, flew their Raiders flags and blasted music as Raider Nation came together to enjoy the moment. Chants of “Raiders” went off sporadically and the smell of carne asada and grilled chicken filled the air.

Las Vegas resident Saul Amaya and his family set their tailgate space just off the corner of Russell Road and Polaris Avenue in Lot J. Amaya said the whole process of getting to the stadium and setting up the tailgate was smooth.

“We haven’t had any issues,” Amaya said. “It was easy getting in here, the staff has been friendly, and it’s been a pleasure.”

Amaya recommended getting in the vehicle line 30-45 minutes before lots open to get a good parking spot.

The large turnout around the stadium, which includes 6,000 tailgating spots, proved that worries about whether Raiders’ tailgating tradition would carry over from Oakland to Las Vegas were unfounded.

“Back in Oakland they used to have Lot G, and Lot J is supposed to be the new Lot G,” Amaya said. “This is where all the action is. We’ve got football, we’re healthy and breathing and our Raiders are going to win tonight.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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