Thomas Brannon aka Thomas Grimraider Brannon
Thomas Grimraider Brannon is among a number of Oakland Raiders fans who add excitement and delight to attending Raiders games.
As long as I can remember I have been watching and rooting for the Oakland Raiders. When I was young I remember seeing the Raiders winning and I loved their look so that was the team I started rooting for. Once I found out they won the Super Bowl the year I was born, 1983, that was it. They were my team.
Growing up with football wasn't a part of my life and no one in my family watches football. Baseball was my sport and I played from the age of 5 until 18, making the All Star team all nine years it was available to our area.
I had a huge fascination with football because it was sort of the forbidden sport for me. My dad was a truck driver and owned a printing business and was always gone. That meant everything was up to my mom. She made my education come first and didn't want me getting hurt playing football, even turning down the efforts of the local city football coach, on his knees in my living room, begging my mom to let me play quarterback.
I started my family at the young age of 17 and grew up very quickly, learning what responsibility and hard work were. Luckily I had a great foundation from my dad, with all his hard work, and my step-dad, who owned a ranch, so I knew what long, hard days were about. I now share my home with my wonderful girlfriend, Kristin Gentry and her 5 kids: Zoie (14), Chris (12), Destini (9), Janeeva (7), and Evanii (5), plus my 3 kids: Jacob (13), Emma (9), Phoenyx (6). Needless to say, we have a very busy home.
I got started with my character in 2013, after attending my first Raiders game in Oakland. Interacting with all the other super fans and remembering seeing them on TV as a kid, Gorilla Rilla, Darth Raider, Violator, Toozak, etc., I wanted to bring that same joy to kids that they brought to me growing up. The idea for my character came when walking through a Halloween store with my friend, Brandon Smith. He is an Eagles fan but loves the passion he sees from Raiders fans. He saw a grim reaper outfit and said. "There it is, you can be Grim Raider." And that was it. It was perfect.
I ordered my costume and started doing all the custom work to make it what you see today. I think of myself like every other fan, always seeing things and wondering if we can add to it, so we are really never done with our look.
I am becoming more involved with charities and bringing more joy to the faces of kids. I have gotten to know Steve Bigbee, with Silver and Black Helping Hands and the Bakersfield Black Hole, with the Juvenile Diabetes Association. My goal is to know I have made a difference in people's lives by dressing up and making people smile when they see me, knowing I do all this for the greatest football organization ever, the Oakland Raiders.