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From Houston to Buffalo: Be in Buffalo Hometown Touchdown Winners View Victory

Jan 4, 2024 Posted by Greg Pokriki

Laura and Carlos, fresh off having a baby, hadn’t been to their typical Bills Backers Bar for a game in months. In late September, with the Bills favored against Washington and childcare taken care of for the afternoon, they figured it was time to venture back to their favorite spot: Christian’s Tailgate in midtown Houston, Texas.

The Houston chapter of the Bills Backers Bar network is a proud (and loud) one, having previously won top chapter in the nation and routinely drawing hundreds of fans. Chapter President Katie O’Brien has tried to build an environment as close to that in Orchard Park, New York as possible. The Houston bar stocks up months in advance on Labatt Blue Light. The shots are named with player puns and team mantras. The DJ plays every sound effect you would hear if you were watching a game in Highmark Stadium – third-down train horn and all. And the patrons are true Buffalo fans, through and through.

It’s a story mirrored in major metros and small towns across the United States and globe – ex-Buffalonians building a community of Bills fans gathering weekly to root on their favorite team and create a home away from home. As a consistent meeting place of ex-Buffalonians, it’s also the perfect place for Be in Buffalo, the region’s talent attraction initiative, to find its target audience.


For the second year of the Be in Buffalo Hometown Touchdown, our organization sent boxes of swag to over 70 Bills Backers Bars across the U.S., promoting the sweepstakes that gifts a winner and a guest of their choosing flights, hotel accommodations, and tickets to a Buffalo Bills home game. Be in Buffalo also visited Bills Bars in-person in both Houston and Denver, Colorado to talk directly to those ex-Buffalonians about the renaissance going on in their former home.

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Throughout the duration of the sweepstakes, thousands signed up. That day that Laura and Carlos decided to venture back to Christian’s Tailgate, they did as well. The Bills went on to beat Washington handily, and in the end, Laura was chosen as the 2023 Be in Buffalo Hometown Touchdown winner.

She excitedly let her husband Carlos know that he would soon be joining her for his first trip to Buffalo for a Bills game. Laura has been a Bills fan for years, visiting Buffalo for a game nearly once a season. She started dating Carlos a few years back and quickly worked to convert him to the Bills Mafia. It wasn’t a tough sell and now Carlos owns almost as much Bills swag as Laura does (emphasis on almost). He had seen the Bills on road games in the South, but never had the full experience of being in Orchard Park.

Upon landing in Buffalo, the couple took time to walk around the city, stopping to marvel and photograph much of the incredible architecture they were passing. Naturally, they stopped in a shop and purchased more Buffalo Bills gear. They enjoyed a nice dinner in the city’s entertainment district. And ultimately, retired to their hotel to prepare for the next day’s tailgate and game.

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The main attraction, unsurprisingly though, was the football game. And it certainly lived up to the expectations.

The tailgate featured a chicken wing eating contest, great food, a ton of energy from the fans waiting to enter the game, and friendly ribbing between Dallas and Buffalo fans. Laura and Carlos made many friends – Buffalonians love to make sure newbies are having a good time.

It was the Buffalo Bills hosting the Dallas Cowboys – extra excitement for the couple seeing a team from their home state. From the first whistle it was clear it was the Bills’ day, as they dominated Dallas and won the game 31-10. Laura and Carlos got their fair share of practice singing the ‘Shout’ song and were able to experience a truly great crowd rooting on a big Bills win.

The couple is already looking forward to (and have booked) their next trip back to Buffalo. Laura and Carlos came as Bills fans and added fandom of Buffalo on the way out.

About the Author - Greg Pokriki is the Be in Buffalo & Public Relations Specialist at Invest Buffalo Niagara. Greg is passionate about watching baseball and building a better Buffalo for all.