The winter storm that’s pummeled much of the United States this weekend with blistering cold, dangerous winds and heavy snowfall has been severe enough to prompt the NFL to push back Sunday’s scheduled playoff game in Buffalo, New York.
At the same time, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul ordered a travel ban for much of the state, including Buffalo, as the area’s infamous “lake-effect” snowfall was blowing almost sideways, dropping up to three 3 feet in the communities along Lake Erie.
As the worst of the storm was rolling into Buffalo, so were Trent Weitzel and Ransom Kissler, who spent much of their 22-hour drive from Laramie, Wyoming, following the storm.
“Basically, once we hit Kearney, Nebraska, it got bad and we just followed it,” Weitzel told Cowboy State Daily. “The weather was pretty interesting all the way across Iowa and everything, and it’s pretty different because of that lake-effect snow.”
Weitzel owns Weitzels Wings (aka Double Dubs) and Kissler is one of his best chicken wing cooks. The long haul from Wyoming to New York has become a familiar one as Double Dubs has been part of the Buffalo Bills’ official pregame tailgate party all season.
Snowy Roads? 'We're From Wyoming'
And Weitzel wasn’t going to let a little snow, cold and wind keep the nation’s best Buffalo wings from making the playoffs.
Besides, Weitzel and Kissler are from Wyoming, where blowing snow, wind and freezing temperatures are nothing new or special.
“We’re from Wyoming. Snowy roads are snowy roads,” Weitzel said when asked if there was ever any thought of not making the tailgate party for the Bills. “We’re used to driving through this.”
But that doesn’t mean even Cowboy State natives hardened by driving Interstate 80 through Wyoming winters aren’t impressed with Buffalo’s famous “lake-effect” snowfall, which not only caused a travel ban throughout the region, but postponed Sunday’s playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to 4:30 p.m. Monday.
“Coming out here and experiencing it, that lake effect is a lot different (from Wyoming),” Weitzel said. “It’s pretty wild. It comes at you really fast, there’s a lot of snow and a lot of wind. And last night we saw something we hadn’t seen before. We saw lightning for the first time in a snowstorm, which is pretty crazy.”
To punctuate just how wild the weather in Buffalo has been, the Bills posted a short video clip to the teams X account Saturday, showing snow blowing and swirling so badly in the stadium that hardly anything can be seen. And a tarp covering the field is blowing and surging so much it looks more like the ocean in a storm than a football stadium.
Ready For A Party
Talking with Cowboy State Daily at about 6 a.m. Sunday Mountain Time, the storm was still hitting the area pretty good, Weitzel said.
“I’m in my hotel room right now looking out my window, and I can’t see across the parking lot,” he said.
By game time Monday, however, the weather forecast calls for the storm to let up.
That means it’ll be time for Weitzel and Kissler to break out their gear and cook up a mess of Buffalo wings for ravenous Bills Mafia fans. Over three hours of tailgating, he said they’ll prepare and serve about 4,000 wings.
“That’s kind of like our world-record pace” for cooking wings, Weitzel said, referencing the Double Dubs crew in July setting a new world record by selling and serving 48,000 wings in 24 hours.
On the menu for Bills fans Monday will be Double Dubs’ most famous flavor, the No. 17 Spicy Bleu, the favorite of former University of Wyoming star and current Bills quarterback Josh Allen. The traditional buffalo sauce also will be served, along with one of Weitzel’s newest creations, Dubsville sauce, which is his take on Nashville hot chicken.
“It’s a really good sauce, so I think we’ll have that one around for awhile,” he said.
As part of the official game day hospitality experience for the team, Double Dubs not only travels to home and away games to tailgate with the Bills Mafia, the crew — aka the “Dubs Mafia” — also get to cheer on their favorite team. For Weitzel, it’s because of the friendship he’s developed over years of feeding Allen.
Like many in Wyoming, that connection from UW to Buffalo via Josh Allen has created a new branch of Western Bills Mafia.
“It’s a lot of fun to be with the people and the fans,” Weitzel said. “And the Bills Mafia and lifelong Bills fans, then when Josh signed with the Bills, a lot of that just followed him over from Wyoming.”
And for his wife, Carrie, the connection is a little deeper.
“My wife is from upstate New York and has always been a Bills fan,” Weitzel said.