The Quebec chapter of the Bills Mafia sees one of their great leaders take on the plague. It’s not about the team he still carries in his heart, but about the legendary pre-games that he has organized for 34 years. “It’s over for tailgates, but I’m not going to drop the Bills slipper!”, Bob Genest energetically specifies.
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Last Sunday, his Bills experienced another heartbreaking playoff loss, scoring 27-24 against the Chiefs in Buffalo. For the team’s loyal fans, it is the continuation of an endless curse.
Still wearing his white Bills helmet, the likeable Bob Genest refuses to give up, although this loss, the third in four years in the playoffs at the hands of the Chiefs, is difficult to swallow.
“It’s always disappointing because in Buffalo we invent ways to lose. There are a lot of people who blame the kicker (Tyler Bass, who missed a 44-yard field goal at the end of the game), but in reality it was two or three failed plays that changed the game. It is another good year lost,” he laments.
the end of an era
Therefore, it is not about renouncing your eternal oath of loyalty to the Bills, but the time has come to support the team in another way.
Since 1989, Bob Genest has become something of a legendary figure to many football fans for his unparalleled hospitality before Bills games.
Its increasingly popular tailgates attract dozens of Quebec fans every week who spread the word. To the point where the beast became too much to handle.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. Having won on Sunday, I wouldn’t have made this announcement, but it was basically there. The tailgate event has become bigger than the game.
“In the 90s I had time to organize all that. Now there is a line, there are so many people to serve! It ends when I get to my seat and I don’t always see the warm-up. It is a shock for people who have come often, but I have already given enough,” she summarizes.
Fear not, soldiers of the Bills mafia! Bob Genest is not willing to give up his numerous season tickets, which he will continue to sell. The 59-year-old freelancer from Blainville, who manages mobile soup kitchens, will no longer be the first to arrive and the last to leave, as quarterbacks do on a team.
In the long run, we can understand that this whole operation exhausts her man, as well as his partner Hélène, who is as busy as him in the pots and on the grill.
During the last season, Bob Genest estimates he prepared approximately 120 pounds of chili, about 4,000 meatballs and many other provisions for about 980 hungry people.
As everywhere, inflation has also forced him to question himself.
“The price of food continues to rise and I can’t overcharge people for that,” he argues.
“If someone wants to continue tailgate events, great,” he says.
In recent months, a Facebook page titled Bob Buffalo Bills Tickets and tailgate It has been created. It already has 936 members, which led Bob to believe that the number of meatballs to be molded was not going to decrease in the coming years.
However, he does not hide that next September the desire to resume the organization of the festivities may make him a little itchy.
However, it is not about giving in. This “retirement” seems final.
“It’s sure that in September it will work a little for me, but I’m there. He allowed me to create friendships that have lasted all these years. There were people who came at first with their children. Today, these children bring their children. For me, that’s my pay,” she concludes, repeating his message one last time, just to make sure she understood.
“That won’t change, I will always support the Bills.”
5 MEMORIES OF THE MARKET
Legends of the banknotes
One of the things Bob Genest has enjoyed over the years is getting to meet Bills legends. “We met a lot of great players like Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Darryl Talley… We met Marv Levy. We saw the Bills owners and they took us out onto the field and showed us the locker room. We were there for Jim Kelly’s number to be retired. That’s something!”
Although he is used to tailgates, Bob Genest can hardly forget two events. “Six or seven years ago, I served 243 people before a game against the Steelers. He had many friends in Pittsburgh. I still remember that it took all my time, but with a lot of people helping, it was very special. In Laval, before leaving for an Alouettes game, I already had 493 people.”
The Immortal Doug Flutie
Bob Genest considers having watched more than 340 Bills games. He particularly appreciated quarterback Doug Flutie’s run in the late 1990s with his easy playmaking. “I have seen so many special games. Doug Flutie gave us many unique moments, even if he couldn’t see over his offensive line!
Return to Buffalo in the playoffs
The Bills’ long 17-year playoff drought from 2000 to 2016 didn’t shake Bob Genest’s faith, but he was thrilled to finally relive a playoff game in Buffalo last year. “I still remember the Bills’ return to the playoffs in 2017. It happened in Jacksonville and the following year in Houston. I couldn’t go and then the two years of pandemic came. We had to wait until last year against the Dolphins and Bengals to finally take advantage of it.
Meeting with LDT in Kansas City
Not all notable moments necessarily took place in Buffalo. “I went with a group of 10 guys to see the Bills in Kansas City. We were sitting in a bar and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif came to meet us. He signed many things and spent about forty minutes. The boys were very surprised to see that. We have the privilege of living all these moments.