View Full Version : The Barrel Man died today (Dec. 5, 2009)

12-05-2009, 11:15 AM
I know that I shouldn't start a thread but I wanted everyone to know that Tim McKernan, know to legions of Denver Broncos fans and televsion viewers as the Barrel Man, died early today, relatives said.

12-05-2009, 11:17 AM


12-05-2009, 11:19 AM

12-05-2009, 11:19 AM

You're a legend.

12-05-2009, 11:20 AM
:( rip

12-05-2009, 11:24 AM
Thoughts and prayers to Barrelmans' Family :(

backup qb
12-05-2009, 11:27 AM
RIP. What a great life it must've been...

12-05-2009, 11:28 AM
Godspeed, Barrelman. Loved by all...

Pony Boy
12-05-2009, 11:28 AM
R.I.P You will be missed......

12-05-2009, 11:29 AM
Thanks for the memories....I met and hung out with him a few times while tailgating and at the Hall of Fame induction for Elway and he was always super cool.

12-05-2009, 11:51 AM

12-05-2009, 11:54 AM

12-05-2009, 11:54 AM
My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his loved ones.
RIP Barrel Man. You meant a lot to the Broncos. You were the Broncos, not only locally, but nationally recognize figure...

12-05-2009, 11:54 AM

12-05-2009, 11:54 AM
RIP thanks for all the memories.

12-05-2009, 11:55 AM
Your place in bronco history is secure and always will be remembered.

12-05-2009, 11:56 AM
A sad day indeed.

12-05-2009, 12:03 PM
Sad day. RIP. Led cheers since 1978.....

12-05-2009, 12:14 PM
RIP may God lift you up to the Heavens Barrelman

12-05-2009, 12:14 PM
awwwwww :( thats sad

Los Broncos
12-05-2009, 12:21 PM
How sad, just very sad.

RIP, you will be missed :(

12-05-2009, 12:24 PM
RIP Barrel Man you were as die-hard as it got. Godspeed.

12-05-2009, 12:25 PM
How sad, just very sad.

RIP, you will be missed :(


Pick Six
12-05-2009, 12:33 PM
RIP, Barrelman...

12-05-2009, 12:41 PM
RIP my friend, you are now in gods care. My heart goes out to Becky.

12-05-2009, 12:42 PM
Wow, so sad. A Bronco icon. Thanks for the memories.

12-05-2009, 12:50 PM
Tim had a great life.

12-05-2009, 12:59 PM

12-05-2009, 01:05 PM
:( Thoughts go out to his family, R.I.P.

12-05-2009, 01:08 PM
RIP - may God be with your family in this difficult time.

I wonder if Bowlen will have some kind of tribute to him. In fact, it would be great if there was some kind of permanent tribute to him and all of the fans, at the stadium. Like a special fan section in the Ring of Fame.

Smiling Assassin27
12-05-2009, 01:28 PM
Godspeed and may he rest in peace.

12-05-2009, 01:31 PM
God is a Bronco Fan, that is why sunsets are ORANGE....rip....through the good times and the bad, thanks B-man

12-05-2009, 02:17 PM
R.I.P. You will be missed by all! :(

12-05-2009, 02:21 PM
The barrel should go in the ring of fame


12-05-2009, 02:27 PM
HOF Fan, R.I.P.

12-05-2009, 02:34 PM
He was a great fan. The world is lessened with out him in it.

12-05-2009, 02:46 PM

Don Flamenco
12-05-2009, 02:58 PM

12-05-2009, 03:00 PM

Rip to a Bronco legend ...


12-05-2009, 03:21 PM
He should be an honorary Ring member

12-05-2009, 03:30 PM
Godspeed, Barrelman. Loved by all...

+1 My sympathys go to your friends and Family. Bronco Nation is minus one of its best.

12-05-2009, 03:43 PM
Thoughts and prayers for his family. RIP.

12-05-2009, 03:49 PM
RIP Barrel Man- HOF Bronco fan w/o a doubt

12-05-2009, 03:54 PM
I have never known bronco games without you. RIP Big guy.

12-05-2009, 04:01 PM

SoDak Bronco
12-05-2009, 04:02 PM
Win one for the barrel man boys RIP

12-05-2009, 04:19 PM


12-05-2009, 04:22 PM
Sad news.

He was an icon in the Bronco community. I think everyone who is a fan knew who Barrel Man was.

12-05-2009, 04:43 PM
That's sad. He always seemed like a nice, friendly man. Rest in peace, my friend.

Bronco Yoda
12-05-2009, 04:58 PM
Rip :(

12-05-2009, 05:02 PM

12-05-2009, 05:40 PM
Mr. Tim McKernan and Mrs. Becky McKernan were always very friendly to us during my time with the organization! He will be missed!
Prayers go out to Mrs. McKernan and the family.

12-05-2009, 05:46 PM
Thanks for the memories Tim!

I hope there is a barrel for you up there in the sky.

Rest in Peace!


12-05-2009, 06:02 PM

Was fortunate enough to meet him at our Elway HOF game versus Washington.

12-05-2009, 06:13 PM
R.I.P. You were a legend!

Rocket 7
12-05-2009, 06:32 PM
RIP Barrel Man. You will be missed.

12-05-2009, 06:37 PM
At least the final Broncos game of his life was a win. Shame the Charger game was so horrific.

12-05-2009, 07:08 PM
God Bless and RIP Barrel Man! Now you can help God form those Orange and Blue sunsets!

12-05-2009, 07:11 PM
Before the Mane came along, Tim and Jay welcomed this California boy to their tailgate. Always had fond memories of Tim, his wife and Jay and his wife for hosting one of the best tailgates every game. He was a legend and will be hard to replace. In respect of Tim, he would probably want everyone to stay loyal to the Broncos. In memory of Tim, I will flip off the Leprachaun next time in Mile High.

12-05-2009, 07:51 PM
Sad day... Strange... I became a Broncos fan in 78 at the age of 4.... Someone mentioned Barrel man started in 78.... Wow, incredibly sad....

Wont be the same without you barrel Man! My thoughts and prayers and deepest sympothy to his wife and family. RIP friend

12-05-2009, 08:07 PM
I think it would be cool if the fans could do some sort of Barrel man tribute at the Oakland game.

Even if it were just some signs or something.

12-05-2009, 08:58 PM

12-05-2009, 09:03 PM
RIP, you will not be forgotten.

12-05-2009, 11:23 PM
RIP, and thankfully he got to go out on a high note w/ that Giants win.

12-05-2009, 11:26 PM
The best fan. Emblematic of everything good about Denver Broncos football. RIP, barrelman

12-05-2009, 11:54 PM
RIP Barrel Man.

12-06-2009, 04:06 AM
Sad news, saw him in New Orleans before the game several years back.

Peace to the Barrel Man.

12-06-2009, 05:02 AM
Through wind and rain and sleet and snow,
You always let your spirit show!
When cameras pictured the ultimate fan,
At Broncos games, that was "Barrel Man!"

Viewers came to recognize you,
As one great icon for the orange and blue!
Though the fans down here will miss you now you're gone,
Up in football heaven, PLEASE KEEP CHEERING US ON!

We'll miss you big guy! Rest in Peace!

12-06-2009, 05:23 AM

12-06-2009, 05:26 AM
dave krieger
<!--title-->Krieger: Broncos worship became fanatical art form

<!--subtitle--><!--byline-->By Dave Krieger
The Denver Post (dkrieger@denverpost.com?subject=The Denver Post: Krieger: Broncos worship became fanatical art form)
<!--date-->Posted: 12/06/2009 01:00:00 AM MST
<!--secondary date-->

<SCRIPT language=JavaScript> var requestedWidth = 0; </SCRIPT><SCRIPT language=JavaScript> if(requestedWidth < 200){ requestedWidth = 200; } </SCRIPT>http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2009/1205/20091205__20091206_A01_CD06CCBARRELMAN~p1_200.JPG (http://www.denverpost.com/portlet/article/html/imageDisplay.jsp?contentItemRelationshipId=2766885 ) Tim McKernan, the Barrel Man, died Saturday at age 69. <!--IPTC: Tim McKernan, a.k.a. The Barrel Man, wears his trademark costume while cheering his team on during the last Monday Night Football game in the Mile High Stadium. The Denver Broncos beat the Oakland Raiders 27-24.-->

<SCRIPT language=JavaScript> if(requestedWidth > 0){ document.getElementById('articleViewerGroup').styl e.width = requestedWidth + "px"; document.getElementById('articleViewerGroup').styl e.margin = "0px 0px 10px 10px"; } </SCRIPT>The whole thing was slightly nuts, of course. That was the genius of it.
Here was a grown man — a tough, burly airline mechanic, for crying out loud — running around in nothing but boots, a hat and an aluminum barrel on football Sundays cold enough to turn his exposed skin Broncos orange and blue.
It was a getup that could have gotten Tim McKernan arrested, or at least detained and given a sobriety test, almost any place except Mile High Stadium. But there, in the Broncos' temple, it made him an icon in a cowboy hat, ultimately recognizable all over the country.
Broncos great Randy Gradishar spoke for many fans when he recalled seeing the Barrel Man for the first time: "Tommy Jackson and I were like, 'What is this guy doing?' We were only guessing what he had on underneath that thing."
On Thanksgiving, his family sent out word that the ailing McKernan, no longer able to attend games, would get a kick out of receiving fans' Barrel Man recollections. I sent out a message on Twitter with the address. A stream of affection flowed back. No Broncos-related message I've sent out before or since received such a unanimous response.
I have a feeling McKernan's family will be getting mail at that post office box long after they've said their last goodbyes to the venerable Barrel Man, who died Saturday morning at 69. Somewhere along the way he became a community touchstone, a high priest of our state religion.
He was just a fan, he always said. And he was too. Only one thing distinguished him from the other 75,000 members of the congregation who gathered in north Denver on select Sunday afternoons: They could sit down.
Let's face it — as apparel, the barrel was wildly impractical. This could be why nobody else thought of it. Yet, extending from mid-paunch to tastefully above the knee, it had a certain panache on the Barrel Man, especially with that neck strap that came down across his chest like suspenders.
In a lark, on a dare, McKernan came to embody all the commitment, passion and questionable sanity of America's football fans.
To see the occasional bunch of shirtless, alcohol-fueled young men spelling out the object of their devotion on their chests was to remember your first hangover.
To see the distinguished Barrel Man stomping up and down Mile High Stadium's risers in those cowboy boots week after week, exposed except for that barrel, raising his arm in that salute, was to watch an artist at work.
The Barrel Man was a performance artist before performance art was cool, a naked cowboy long before that dude in his underwear on Times Square.
Like many of the all-time greats, he tried to walk away. But the barrel always pulled him back in.
In 1992, he showed up in the Broncos' media room to hang up the barrel for the first time. "I just want to go out on top," he said.
Dan Reeves posed for pictures with him. The wretches covering the ceremony didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The Barrel Man often had that effect.
He was back almost immediately. "I missed it," he explained.
To think that it all started 32 years ago because of a bet with his brother. "He wanted to see me on TV out in California," McKernan explained to 9News when he hung up the barrel for the last time.
"I had painted a barrel to make a drum out of it to look like an Orange Crush can, told him about it, and he bet me 10 bucks that I didn't have the guts to wear nothing but the barrel to a ballgame."
For 10 bucks, McKernan assumed an alter ego that would galvanize Broncos fans in the days before scoreboards told them when to galvanize. "The more I can get the fans into it," McKernan said, "the better the team plays."
It certainly seemed that way. No one has ever had a better rookie year.
After 17 years of futility, the Broncos went to the Super Bowl following the Barrel Man's first season. A barrel signed by members of that team now occupies a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
For 30 years, he prowled those risers, moving with the Broncos from Mile High to Invesco Field, where he symbolized a simpler time, before marble-topped club level bars and corporate suites.
He was one of a kind, a Colorado original. And he died with the affection of thousands who never knew him, forever a part of Broncos lore.
Dave Krieger: 303-954-5297 or dkrieger@denverpost.com (dkrieger@denverpost.com) or twitter.com/DaveKrieger (http://twitter.com/DaveKrieger)

Bronco Warrior
12-06-2009, 07:29 AM
Damn! I'm a wimp! That article almost made me cry! My first game in Mile High, he was a section over and it was FREEZING!('78) He was one of the reasons I was forever doomed to be a lifer! lol! If anybody should be inducted (as a fan) for being a contributor is this guy!! Also "Ring of Fame"...you know the guy earned it!!

12-06-2009, 07:52 AM
Not ring of fame, but some sort of memorial at the stadium would seem appropriate. Maybe a statue or something like that.

I just realized I miss Barrel Man already. It would be pretty cool if a bunch of people showed up to the next home game wearing nothing but barrels.

12-06-2009, 07:57 AM
He's got the best seat in the house and we know who he's rooting for. RIP Big Man gone but never forgotten.

Bronco Warrior
12-06-2009, 07:59 AM
Not ring of fame, but some sort of memorial at the stadium would seem appropriate. Maybe a statue or something like that.

I just realized I miss Barrel Man already. It would be pretty cool if a bunch of people showed up to the next home game wearing nothing but barrels.

Great Idea! the "Barrel Boys" or "Barrel Brigade"! Also the Seahawks have "The 12th Man" on their ring of fame, why not the "Barrel Man"?

I started a "Barrel Man Remembered" thread to try to rally support for some memorial stuff for the guy! Tell me what you think? I will have the numbers of people including Pat Bowlens email on money! got to get to work and dig up the contact info off my work Computer!

12-06-2009, 07:59 AM
RIP Tim..God Bless You!

Bronco Warrior
12-06-2009, 08:00 AM
Just dawned on me! The only way a person could possible make it to more Games a year than BM did was how he will be doing it now!

12-06-2009, 08:29 AM
sad news.

12-06-2009, 08:31 AM
Rest in peace old man. Diehards are becoming a rare breed.

12-06-2009, 08:41 AM

12-06-2009, 09:03 AM

Bronco Warrior
12-06-2009, 09:16 AM
Screw that Rest in Peace stuff !!:D He needs to be rallying the troops in heaven for the game today! We now have our own secret weapon in heaven. Think he can talk God into being a Broncos fan?

12-06-2009, 09:32 AM
Lost a true a fan, RIP Barrel Man

Bronco Bob
12-06-2009, 10:20 AM
One of a kind. RIP

12-06-2009, 11:14 AM
Sad news, I had met him a few times. Super nice guy.

Needa Pass Rush
12-06-2009, 11:20 PM
That barrel has wings now! Thanks for the memories.

12-07-2009, 12:01 AM
If there were a HOF for fans, this dude would be the first inductee.


12-07-2009, 12:22 AM
If there were a HOF for fans, this dude would be the first inductee.


there was. He is in the HOF in Canton. He is in, but many broncos arent.

Bronco Yoda
12-07-2009, 02:42 AM
Didn't he get in before Elway did?

12-07-2009, 07:21 AM
sad ............

12-07-2009, 07:25 AM
Mile High Salute Barrelman.

12-07-2009, 07:33 AM
RIP to one the greatest Broncos fans to ever live. Sad, sad news.

Nice rep from Don Banks of SI.com...


Pick Six
12-07-2009, 10:41 AM
Screw that Rest in Peace stuff !!:D He needs to be rallying the troops in heaven for the game today! We now have our own secret weapon in heaven. Think he can talk God into being a Broncos fan?

God is already a Broncos fan...:bronxrox:

bronco militia
12-07-2009, 12:26 PM


You could describe Tim “The Barrel Man” McKernan in that one simple word. I love people with passion. People who follow their hearts to places so few us dare to tread. Tim was one of those people. I had the great pleasure of talking to Tim during a taping he and I were doing with NFL Films for the History of the Denver Broncos DVD. McKernan was larger than life, a guy who loved to tell stories and share his love for the Broncos. He knew that the barrel thing was one way to show his passion for all things Orange. But he also knew it brought smiles to fans throughout the NFL, regardless of whether you were a Broncos fan or not. They figured any guy who would run around half naked in a barrel in the midst of a snow storm to watch his favorite team was the truest definition of a real fan and that resonated with people. He exuded joy. And that is something we could all use a little more of these days.


12-07-2009, 01:37 PM
Keep smoking brother

GoBroncos DownUnder
12-08-2009, 07:40 PM
RIP Tim.
Great fans are a rare breed!

(Thanks for the photo back in 2000.) ;)

12-08-2009, 09:28 PM
RIP barrel man

Someone needs to change the thread title from today to the date Barrelman actually passed.

Mile High Mojoe
12-09-2009, 02:43 AM

I met Tim at the Elway HOF Induction. Cool guy, may the football Gods be with you Man.

12-14-2009, 02:19 PM
Terry and Tim in Indy in 2002

12-23-2009, 04:38 AM
He was a kind man.