Local Las Vegas Raiders booster club is about much more than watching their favorite teamMay 08, 2023 02:48PM ● By Carl Fauver
Hundreds of kids joined in on a Halloween costume parade along Redwood Road last fall, before gathering treats at a trunk or treat at Taylorsville Park. The 801 Rocky Mountain Raider Nation Booster Club hosts the event each year. (Courtesy Mishelle Andersen)
As of just a few years ago, the Las Vegas Raiders are now the NFL team playing home games closest to the Salt Lake Valley. But even long before the Silver and Black “bad boys of the league” loaded up their trucks to roll out of Oakland, the team had hundreds of officially-designated fans throughout Utah.
They call themselves the 801 Rocky Mountain Raider Nation Booster Club. The first thing their energetic president Mishelle Andersen will tell you is, “Don’t call me president. I am our club host.”
The next thing she’s proud to share is: “Our group is as much about friendship and community service as it is about watching games.” Then she ticks through her club’s events calendar, making her point hard to argue.
“In February each year, we deliver handmade Valentine cards to Veterans at the Salt Lake VA hospital,” Andersen begins. “Kids of our booster club members make the cards. We also hand out candy and single roses. The Vets look forward to it every year.”
Meantime, the 801 Rocky Mountain Raider Nation Booster Club’s most recent event – always their second biggest activity each year –occurred a month ago. On April Fool’s Day, they covered a large patch of Taylorsville Park grass with plastic. They weren’t littering – but filling in for the Easter Bunny.
“Our annual Easter egg hunt fell on April 1 this year, the only nice, sunshiny day that week,” Andersen said. “We had 20,000 plastic eggs and gave away 5,000 pounds of candy. We also gave away toys and gift cards. This year I collected about $3,500 worth of donations for the hunt from our members. But, of course, it was open to everyone – not just people involved in our booster club.”
Andersen says prep for their annual Easter egg hunt begins not long after Christmas. Several of her booster club members order candy and other goodies online, and simply list her home for the delivery address.
“My house looks like a warehouse for a couple of months leading up to the egg hunt,” she added. “Then, the day of, this year we spent about four hours setting it up – including an hour and 45 minutes on ‘poop scoop’ duties. We had two huge egg hunting zones – one for kids 5 and under, the other for ages 6 to 16. All that setup, and then the hunt – at least for the older group – lasts about 5 minutes.”
One of those assisting Andersen as she laid out the Easter egg hunt was her 801 Rocky Mountain Raider Nation Booster Club Secretary Patricia Pence.
“It was absolutely amazing; we had so many donations and the weather could not have been better,” Pence said. “We had lots of kids join in, who just happened to be at the park. We love that. This is for everyone. Oh, and because it was April Fool’s Day, some of our prizes were Christmas candy canes and cookies, just for fun.”
Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson admits she had not heard of the 801 Rocky Mountain Raider Nation Booster Club. But when told of the kinds of community service activities the group hosts at Taylorsville Park – and throughout the greater Salt Lake Valley – she was impressed and thankful.
“What a great thing they are doing for Taylorsville and around the area,” Overson said. “That is what ‘community’ is all about. Whatever it looks like to you – however you feel you can help – do it. We’re so grateful for all the individuals and groups who do things like this. And this Raiders booster club sounds like they are so well organized. I love it.”
With the egg hunt now behind them for this year, next up for the 801 Rocky Mountain Raider Nation Booster Club is their annual summer barbeque – again at Taylorsville Park – which comes along just as preseason games are giving way to the official start of the NFL regular season. It’s the time when hope springs eternal, for fans of EVERY team.
Andersen says whether it’s a typical Sunday afternoon game – or one on Thursday or Monday night – she’s busy each week from September to January. This is the time she earns her preferred title, “host.”
“Game day or game night is about a seven-hour process for me,” she explained. “We can get close to 200 booster club members at our Raider viewing parties. For the past couple of years, we have watched at The Midway (restaurant and bar) in Midvale. My nickname as game host is ‘Raider Mishmash.’ I’m pretty well known for my ‘touchdooooooown Raaaaaaaaaiders’ cheer. Our fans dress up… we raffle off shirts, blankets, even actual tickets to future Raider games in Las Vegas. It’s so much fun.”
Andersen is quick to add, the 801 Rocky Mountain Raider Nation Booster Club has never charged a membership fee. They have some 1,300 followers on the web (facebook.com/rockymountainraiders), scattered all across Utah, making their group the largest collection of Raider fans outside California and Nevada.
Despite the weekly chaos she swirls in during the actual NFL season, her booster club still finds time to carry out its two final, large community events of each calendar year at the end of October and December.
“We host an annual ‘trunk or treat’ event ahead of each Halloween at Taylorsville Park,” Andersen said. “Hundreds of kids show up in costumes and we line them on the sidewalk to wave at Redwood Road drivers. Then they go to the parking lot where we have 100 to 150 car trunks loaded with candy. We give a trophy to the best-decorated car and trunk. Our members really go all out to earn that trophy.”
Finally, each year, the Raiders booster club closes its calendar hosting its own Sub for Santa program. Yet again, they generate their own donations to brighten the lives of those in need.
“We started helping people at Christmastime about 10 years ago, assisting three families,” Andersen said. “Last year that number grew to 18 families – the most we have ever assisted. Our budget is about $300 per family. We make sure everyone in the house from newborns to grandparents receive something special. We also provide the families with a full Christmas dinner.”
Last December, Andersen’s husband Ellis Boyd joined his wife – and several other booster club members – to make stops at six different homes across the valley, including one in Taylorsville, on Christmas Eve.
“That is such a rewarding thing to do,” Boyd said. “My wife is a very giving, loving woman. I am so glad to support her in these activities. I’m familiar with a few other (NFL team) booster clubs. But none of them do all the activities we do. They don’t go the extra mile. For us, it is so important.”
Super Bowl LVIII (58 for the Roman numeral impaired) will be held in the Las Vegas Raiders’ home Allegiant Stadium next February 11, 2024. Needless to say, Silver and Black-bleeding members of the 801 Rocky Mountain Raider Nation Booster Club hope that will be another home game for their beloved team.
But win or lose – or even if their team is nowhere to be seen on that day – three days later, club members and their children will be back up at the VA Hospital – Valentines in hand – to begin their 2024 calendar of charitable activities.λ