It was planned?
That’s right, the 40,000 plus fans that showed up at Dallas Cowboys Home Stadium on September 7th was no accident. The roots of the “Take Over” as it has been dubbed got it’s roots in January of 2013 at the NFC Championship game in Atlanta when 49er fans from all over congregated at one tailgate in the Yellow Lot and were tweeted about by Jed York.
#1 – ATLANTA – NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Before the game, Diehard 49er fans David and Bridget Kahn set up a tailgate in the Yellow Lot where they served free food to hundreds of niner fans attending the game. The goal was to give the fans who were in enemy territory a place to connect with other fans. As the crowd grew, someone tweeted to Jed York about this being the place for 49er fans to be at. Jed York immediately responded with this tweet.
DAVID KAHN aka “AWAY GAME – TAILGATE CEO”
David’s Candlestick tailgating group was dubbed “Tailgater of the Game” several times plus received one “Tailgater of the Year” Award at Candlestick in the mid 2000’s. He’s been living in Atlanta since. He founded the Georgia 49er Booster club with really close diehards who began calling their group “Spartans of the Niner Empire”.
#2 NASHVILLE TAKEOVER
David put his leadership skills to work planning on hosting what became known as “The Nashville Takeover”. The former Marine and his VP, Pedro Torales rode out on their Harleys to Nashville a month before the event to scope out and lock in a location before drawing up his “war plan” as he calls it for the upcoming tailgate. The event was a huge success.
It gave both local and traveling fans from all over, a place to connect which started with a Meet-n-Greet at a sports bar the night before the tailgate.
The Take Over was real… Donte Whitner retweeted the following
#3 TAMPA TAKOVER
#4 CAROLINA TAKEOVER
As the 49ers moved into the playoffs in 2013, David was waiting for Carolina to happen. It would be short notice but he was prepared. As soon as the word went out he had four days to setup and execute the next Takeover. The War Map went out immediately.
See full CAROLINA TAKEOVER story as it was reported in January 2014.
The media caught on quickly and it was quickly all over the news that this Takeover was really happening. Even Dr. York of the 49ers joined in the celebration and handed out rally towels at this away game tailgate.
#5 DALLAS TAKE OVER
In early 2013, Danny Ramirez, the Dallas/Forth Chapter president was already planning on hosting a huge event in Dallas for when the 49ers would come to play the much despised Cowboys in 2014.
Reaching out through the Niner Empire network of fans, groups and chapters the two soon connected to begin planning. They had no idea at the time that they would be coming together a year later to what would become a definable moment in 49er fans aka The Niner Empires history… “The Dallas Takeover”
A fourteen hour trip from Georgia was planned by David Kahn and Spartan group president Pedro Torales to go to Dallas and meet with Danny in May of 2013. David had already done his research and contacted the best venue possible for the ultimate fan experience at an away game. Bodacious BBQ approximately two blocks from AT&T Stadium was to be the spot. He had convinced the venue owner Michelle to open her doors for 49er fans on a Sunday when she would otherwise be closed.
When David and Pedro arrived in Dallas they picked up Pete Chavez, president of the El Paso, EPT chapter at the bus depot. Pete had volunteered to lend a helping hand and took the red eye bus to Dallas from El Paso. The three headed out to scope out the venue in person as well as meet Michelle and locked down the final details and paperwork in person. The WAR PLAN was ready! And the Flyer went out!
The 49ers front office locked in Sourdough Sam to be at the event on game day.
The very experienced Spartan Team consists of some standard activities which includes a full DJ setup with a lineup of DJs headed up by DJ Thunder, great food, TV screens, games & other activities followed by a march by the fans from the tailgate to the stadium.
Saturday, September 6th – the Dallas takeover began exactly as advertised… Even the weather participated with rain, lightning and thunderstorms just as the sea of red started showing up.
Danny and his DFW chapter where perfect hosts. Danny welcomed everyone with well deserved pride at the entrance of his DFW groups new home, “Red Neck Heaven”. Not exactly a family environment, it’s tagline “Restaurant – Bar – Sports – Mischief” pretty much explains itself.
The Meet-n-Greet was amazing as 49er fans from all over the country started connecting with each other talking about their love for their favorite team as well as personal stories. Countless fans overwhelmed the otherwise Cowboy fan hangout and took over all rooms and patios.
Among the many fans that attended that night at Red Neck were El Paso EPT Chapter President Pete Chavez(left), 415’s Stu Lavatai aka Aloha Stu, The Niner Empire’s Rajeev Prasad(back), Gabby Chavez, Lola Prasad, Spartans own David Kahn and Freddy Gutierrez(far right) from THE FAITHFUL documentary by 49er Studios called The Soldiers Letter were there to connecting with everyone. A true evening exemplifying the Niner Empire mantra of One Team – One Love – One Family
The excitement of continuing the Takeover the next morning was palpable… The Spartans didn’t get much sleep as they were up at 4am headed for the venue to begin setting up for the tailgate.
In the spirit of ONE FAMILY, volunteers slowly began showing up to lend the Spartans a helping hand… even though they looked pretty lost.
The Lombardi was put out for folks to take pictures with.
The star was put drawn up by Brandon Johnston for folks to get that special pose in before the game.
And the games were set up and tested out.
David had brought his mountain bike and would be seen zipping around on it coordinating the setup in the parking lot as well as the restaurant. Before you knew it Antoine Pushback Williams was on the microphone and pumping up the crowd as Spartans own DJ Thunder and San Francisco’s DJ Mixtek set the Bodacious BBQ tailgate off.
Among the many fans that joined in was a chartered bus full of 49er fans arriving from San Francisco. Then Memphis chapter president Vincent Jarmon rolled in with another chartered bus with thirty of their members the party atmosphere simply went to another level.
Sourdough Sam got his groove on
The Bodacious BBQ restaurant on the other end of the parking lot was packed full of tailgaters checking in all day to get their BBQ plates.
After all the months of planning everything went exactly as planned. The Spartans have the Away Game Tailgate process down to a science and are only getting better at it by always putting the fan first.
UNFORTUNATELY, SOME FANS MISSED THE FULL TAILGATE EXPERIENCE AND ENDED UP AT A PICNIC
The only damper on the entire event was caused by certain outfits who decided to ride the wave of the Spartans hard work. They used pictures of past Spartan tailgates for their advertising purposes. Also including the Spartan name in their promotion which confused fans into purchasing their average travel package with a highlight of a sports signing session. Charging almost double an entry fee that was mandatory for their guests. The Spartan tailgate was free and one only paid if they wanted the food or extras allowing for large families to attend without having to shell out $40 per person. Many fans reached out and complained of being at the wrong tailgate because they paid for what they were led to believe was the Spartan Tailgate.
This confusion left a lot of fans to miss out on the event they were really planning on attending. To avoid any confusion in the future visit the Spartans website for official information.
“We showed the niner empire what can be done outside the bay. We don’t need to own all away game parties, but would appreciate the respect we earned doing the impossible and having the courage and dedication to blow the doors wide open for the traveling 49er fan to feel comfortable and excited to go to an away game, dallas should be a great testament to what this movement means for the San Francisco 49ers, we love our team!”