Saturday, December 05, 2009
Rest in Peace, Tim “Barrel Man” McKernan (Updated)
For longtime Broncos fans like me, today is a sad, sad day. Tim McKernan, probably the best known Broncos fan, passed away. It wasn’t a surprise--he had given interviews about a month ago and it was obvious that he was dying--but he was, by all accounts, a really good guy and a fixture in my Broncos related memories for about three decades.
Tim McKernan, better known to Denver Broncos fans and the nation as the Barrel Man, died of lung failure at his home in suburban Denver. He was 69.
McKernan began wearing a barrel, cowboy hat and little else to Broncos games in 1977 after a bet with his brother. The former United Airlines mechanic made a $10 bet that he could get on TV if he wore a barrel to the game. Guess what? He won the bet.
He quickly became a fan favorite and missed only four games from 1967 until this season. McKernan retired the barrel during 2007 as health issues caught up with him.
I’m hoping that the Broncos organization takes a big step and adds McKernan to the Broncos Ring of Fame not just for McKernan’s sake, but as a great symbol of the passion and dedication of all Broncos fans. I can’t think of anyone else who could possibly fill that role as well as the Barrel Man.
Sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Mr. McKernan, and big thanks for all of the memories. Rest.