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Old 12-20-2009, 08:59 PM   #1
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Default Fan-tastic send-off for Broncos' "Barrel Man"

On a positive note...

One of Tim "Barrel Man" McKernan's favorite sayings to get Broncos fans riled up during home games was "Bronco Country . . . give me the thunder!"

On Saturday, McKernan's family, friends, former Broncos players, cheerleaders and fans were dressed in orange and blue to do just that. Except this time it was to honor the memory of the super Broncos fan when they gathered at a memorial service at the Greek theater in Civic Center.

McKernan, 69, died Dec. 5 at his Denver home from incurable lung disease.

Barrel Man, who became one of the Broncos' most-recognized and popular fans for wearing nothing except a barrel, cowboy boots and cowboy hat during Broncos games, was given superfan status when Saturday was
proclaimed "Tim McKernan Day" by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. He also was recognized by the Colorado House of Representatives, which honored him for his charitable work in the community.

"No matter what the temperature, what the score, he was always positive," said former Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith. "He had heart and soul, and I'll never forget him."

A large poster of McKernan along with an empty orange barrel, his orange-and-blue cowboy boots and a cowboy hat served as backdrop for the memorial service that drew nearly 100 Broncos fans, a handful of other rabid NFL fans and tourists who stopped to check out the scene.

Judy Renner, a.k.a. "Bronco Mama," knew McKernan for 20 years; they met in the notoriously rowdy and loud south stands at the old Mile High Stadium.

"Tim was classy. He exemplified the ultimate Bronco fan," Renner said.

McKernan's family paid a loving tribute to him, with one granddaughter reciting poetry and an older brother, Dean, a teacher, recalling a time when Tim would go to his school in San Diego and lead pep rallies for his students.

"He could really get those kids going," Dean McKernan said.

Others who shared memories of

The few pieces of Tim McKernan's uniform regardless of weather were on display Saturday: his cowboy hat, suspenders, boots and one of his trademark barrels. McKernan were members of the Pro Football Ultimate Fan Association, which included rabid fans from the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Indianapolis Colts.

"Everybody loved him, and it wasn't an issue that he was a Broncos fan, they just wanted to meet him," said Raider Ron, a.k.a. Ron Rickard.

After Miles the Broncos mascot danced along with Broncos cheerleaders, the crowd stood and gave Barrel Man a traditional Mile High Salute.

"He would have been very excited seeing fans from many teams showing up and those who just love football," said Todd, Barrel Man's son. "I'm sure he's looking down on us and smiling."
Annette Espinoza: 303-954-1655 or

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Last edited by strafen; 12-20-2009 at 09:02 PM..
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:07 PM   #2
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Dale Carter

Nice to see Rod Smith give Barrel Man his ultimate praise.
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:17 PM   #3
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True fans never die, they just get better seats.

My condolences to his family.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:43 PM   #4
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Go Broncos !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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