Darth Raider? | PostIndependent.com

Darth Raider?

Lynn Burton
Post Independent Staff

A gigantic Raider pirate glowers up at Colorado’s blue sky from Pablo Urenda’s pickup truck hood, but that statement isn’t quite loud enough for the California native.

So, when the Oakland Raiders started their march to Sunday’s Super Bowl a few weeks ago, Urenda added flaming pirates to both front bumpers.

Then, just to make sure everyone from Rifle to Glenwood Springs was aware of at least one Raider fan in Broncoland, Urenda added a “Raider Nation” decal to his truck’s back window.

“I get a lot of people saying to me `This is Bronco country,'” said Urenda, a Raider fan who calls himself “a stranger” in a strange land.

“Raider haters at work say things, so I kind of wanted to rub it in,” said Urenda, a warehouse loader for Orrison Distributing.

Urenda, 31, has lived in the area since 1999. He grew up in the central California town of Orofi. He’s been a Raider fan since the team won the Super Bowl in 1983, and smiles when he remembers Marcus Allen’s long touchdown run that broke the game open. “That was against the Redskins,” he said.

Urenda followed the Raiders when they played in Los Angeles, then followed them back to Oakland when owner Al Davis returned them to their ancestral home. Urenda attended games in both cities.

“Yeah, I’ve been at games in the Black Hole,” Urenda said about the Oakland stadium’s fan vortex, where most of the crazed denizens look like they arrived from another planet.

Urenda often dons an Oakland mask, with its horns and angry face, and spiky shoulder pads when he watches Oakland games at SuperBowl in New Castle.

He doesn’t worry about his safety.

“Bronco fans buy me beers,” he said.

Urenda may be surrounded by Raider haters when they take on Tampa Bay on Sunday, but he still expects to do his rooting at the trusty SuperBowl. He’ll be pretty tense the first half, but hopes to start breathing easier if the Raiders can build a lead in the third quarter.

His prediction?

Raiders 34, Tampa Bay 23.

“It’ll be Raiders all the way,” he said.

As for the black Raider truck that has muscled its way through seas of Bronco-bumper-stickered vehicles all season long, its persona won’t vanish during the off season.

“I’ll leave the decals on until they fall off, then I’ll replace them,” Urenda said. “It’ll just get better.”

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534


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