In order to provide an extra special VIP experience for some very dedicated Panthers fans to close out training camp this week, the Panthers partnered with the Roaring Riot to ensure that Tuesday and Wednesday’s joint practice with the Bills was extra special, providing breakfast, a private area with tailgate games and the opportunity to meet with some Panthers legends, including Hall of Honor inductee Jake Delhomme for select Roaring Riot members.
“I never imagined I’d get the chance to shake hands with the QB who helped me fall in love with the Panthers,” said Anselmo “Cheeto” Arellano, who has been a Roaring Riot member since 2015. “I’ve been a fan since the beginning, but the Jake to Smitty combo is what made me go all in. Jake could get fired up with the best of them, but he was always so laid back and humble off the field. I wasn’t surprised at all that he was, in person, the same guy he portrayed on TV.”
“The fact that we got to experience hanging out with Jake, Mike Tolbert & Willie Green with fellow Roaring Riot members was really special. Since the Riot is like family, it made me smile wide to watch people I know get to meet these players, shake their hands and interact with them.”
Took inspiration from this week’s “One Day Contract” pod and @joshkleinrules request when he used to ask for autographs from Minnie & Mickey. Thank you @roaringriot & @Panthers for the opportunity to meet Jake! pic.twitter.com/t6S1i0EDV3
— Cheeto (@cheetoCLU) August 13, 2019
With the Buffalo Bills and the #BillsMafia coming to town, many thought that this week’s joint practices in Spartanburg would be extra raucous.
They were right – but the noise was coming from the hill filled with Panthers fans.
The Roaring Riot had a dedicated area for their members to help lead ‘Keep Pounding’ and ‘Let’s Go Panthers’ chants – and their energy clearly got the attention of some players as Cam Newton, Donte Jackson and Christian McCaffrey interacted with them animatedly from the sidelines.
“We even had the Black and Blue Crew right there with us to give us fabulous prizes just by cheering loud for our Panthers,” exclaimed President of the Atlanta Riot Loretta To, who drove up from Atlanta to see training camp, specifically attending Friday for the opportunity to meet one of her favorite Panthers. “It was surreal to meet Panthers legend Jake Delhomme, fulfilling a dream of taking a photo with our QB who took us to our first Super Bowl and being up close to watch Panthers Training Camp!”
If you didn’t sign up for the @roaringriot @Panthers VIP #TrainingCamp experience; this is what you’ve missed today! #JakeDelhomme #WillieGreen @LukeKuechly @run__cmc @EfeObadaUK https://t.co/3NscWTSdvb pic.twitter.com/f33MdKBks5
— Atlanta Riot (@AtlantaRiot) August 13, 2019
To top it off, the players made a beeline to the Roaring Riot area after practice for autographs and pictures – Arellano said getting signatures and selfies without pushing and shoving other Panthers fans was one of the best parts of the entire day.
Even Delhomme enjoyed himself and recognizes how special the bond between fan and player can be.
“Just watching grandparents bring their grandkids or just little kids – you know, that’s what i remember most,” said Delhomme about interacting with the fans at Wofford. “After practice sometimes, long day [or] whatever it is, you might not want to sign. But come on, man, it is something about connecting with these fans.”
“It is special, this is special when you see all of this. You get to be up close and personal.”
Check out some pictures from the VIP event below:
For more information on the Roaring Riot and why membership has it’s benefits, check out their website.