The Pikes Peak Browns Backers got their start in the mid-1980’s when Rich Billingsley, Ron Delorenzo, Roger & Louise Jones and Jeff VanMeter would get together to watch the Browns at The Erin Inn on North Academy and Dublin Blvd. in north Colorado Springs. In the late 80’s, Browns fans started gathering at McKenna’s Pub on Academy and Austin Bluffs. Times there were interesting, as the Steelers fans also met there. Occasionally, words were exchanged but for the most part both parties coexisted respectfully.
In 1988, a new bar in downtown Colorado Springs invited us to join them on game days. This was The Clubhouse Restaurant and Underground Pub on E. Kiowa St. Owner Tony Afshar welcomed Browns fans into his unique three level facility. It was while meeting here that The Pikes Peak Browns Backers proudly became an official member of the Browns Backers Worldwide in 1993 as Charter #34. The Club was certified as a social & recreational 501(c)(7) corporation in the State of Colorado on December 31st, 1992. The original founders and Board of Directors are Rich Billingsley, Kevin Sabins, George Sredojevic, Don Priebe, and Dawn Stretar. In our 1st season we signed up 70 members. At this time Browns Backers Worldwide had around 150 chapters and 35 thousand members. The organization now boasts over 360 chapters and 113,000 members.
The PPBB enjoyed six great seasons at The Clubhouse even though our team was struggling to get back into the playoffs. Our “rally cap” was sending George Sredojevic up to the piano, hoping to spark the Browns to victory. Eric Metcalf was our Josh Cribbs of today back then. Attendance was good but the venue was so spread out that we explored different options.
In 1994, the Pikes Peak Browns Backers moved to The Alumni on Pikes Peak and Academy. The bar was a good size for us as we usually filled the entire place on gamedays and had total exclusivity for Browns fans. The owner Jocco was very accommodating for us and we had a great relationship until someone took our team away! We returned to the Alumni in 1999 with Tim Velloney at the helm, and had some great times as the Browns returned to the NFL. Sadly, Jocco passed away in 2000 and The Alumni was never the same. The PPBB moved to The Yukon Tavern on S. Circle in 2004. Another perfectly sized establishment with a great owner in Kenny Backstrand, The Yukon Tavern would serve as our home for the next three seasons. Kenny sold the business in 2007 and another new restaurant invited us to join them.
In 2007 when we set up shop at The Indigo (formerly Indigo Joe’s). Owner Barry Hauser was a great partner and welcomed us for 4 fun-filled seasons.
Currently, we are at Southside Johnny’s at 528 S. Tejon St. in downtown Colorado Springs. Every Sunday we fill up the back banquet room with our own personal bar and wait staff, Nick and Chrissy. Our first season here, we were honored to be voted as 2011 Club of the Year by Browns Backers Worldwide. BBW came out to Colorado Springs and threw us a great party attended by Dave Logan and Browns mascot Chompps.
The common thread between every year of our existence is loyal members – avid Browns fans. Wherever we go, Browns fans will follow and support our team like no other fans in the NFL. Browns fans are a special breed, and the Pikes Peak Browns Backers are proud to have given them a place to gather and cheer in Colorado Springs for the last 25 years.
The best thing of all is what Browns fans in the Pikes Peak Region have given back to their community. While having a great time watching our team, the Pikes Peak Browns Backers have also raised over $40,000 in cash, food and toys for local organizations and charities. We’re very proud of our Cleveland Browns and Browns Backers. Please come join us!