Six days a week, 1,530 miles separate Buffalo, New York, and Laramie, Wyoming, where Josh Allen, the golden-armed quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, played his college football.
On the seventh day, Buffalo and Laramie hold a meeting of the Two Families — The Bills Mafia and Dubs Mafia — to celebrate the Bills and NFL playoff football with the best chicken wings on the planet.
The Bills Mafia is what the millions of rabid Buffalo fans have been christened. The Dubs Mafia are nearly as fanatic about Weitzel’s Wings, aka Double Dubs, the Laramie food truck that’s won the prestigious fan favorite vote at the Buffalo Wing Festival two years running.
One of the perks of winning the festival, aka the Super Bowl of Buffalo wings, is being invited to cook thousands of wings every Sunday at the official tailgate parties for Bills games.
That’s what took owner Trent Weitzel and one of his top wing wranglers, Ransom Kissler, to Buffalo through 22 hours of polar vortex cold and snow last week to feed thousands of Bills fans before they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-17.
They’re back for Sunday’s divisional showdown with defending NFL champion Kansas City Chiefs, renewing what’s become one of the hottest playoff rivalries in pro sports.
And while the Bills continue their playoff run, Double Dubs also is elevating its game — and national profile.
Along the way, Weitzel and Kissler have been on their own media tour, and even earned a few bucks helping hundreds of other Bills fans dig out Highmark Stadium, which was buried for a second straight week under feet of snow.
Meeting Of The Mafias
The little food truck from Laramie is the biggest name in Buffalo wings and is gaining a national following. In the past week, Weitzel’s been interviewed by numerous Wyoming media outlets, did a cooking demonstration on Daytime Buffalo on WIVB Channel 4 in New York and was on the local Buffalo Fox News affiliate.
Then there are write-ups in food blogs and attention from some of the most popular social media personalities.
At Sunday’s tailgate, “we’ll have, like, seven social media influencers who have millions of followers collectively,” Weitzel told Cowboy State Daily.
“It’s been wild. The more I’m out here (in Buffalo) and the more I’m doing the wing festival, the more people recognize me,” he said. “It’s great that the Bills Mafia recognize me from that and the tailgates and stuff, but really, I’m just a little guy in a huge nation of Bills Mafia, which is millions strong.”
Pick Up A Shovel
The lake-effect snow Buffalo is famous for because it sits on the eastern edge of Lake Erie is no joke, Weitzel said.
Wyoming’s famous winter winds can make for some blinding blizzards, but the sheer volume of snow that comes off the lake piles up in feet, he said. That’s why for a second straight week, crews have been working around the clock to prepare the Bills’ stadium for Sunday’s game. And for the second straight week, hundreds of fans have turned out to help shovel the place out.
Friday, Weitzel and Kissler were among them, spending several hours with dozens of other fans digging the seats out. And it doesn’t hurt that the team pays $20 an hour for the help.
In the three or four hours Weitzel and Kissler were shoveling, Weitzel said they “were super shocked” when former Bills punter Brian Moorman showed up to shovel. He also posed for some photos with them and other fans.
“It was fun. We’ve been kind of going stir crazy being in hotel rooms with the (local) travel bans on and all,” Weitzel said. “Besides, now I can say I’ve been paid by the Buffalo Bills.”
The pair also stayed busy visiting some of the local landmarks, like Niagara Falls.
While Niagara Falls in winter may not seem like a great visit, Weitzel said nothing could be farther from the truth.
“Niagara Falls in the wintertime is really cool,” he said. “There’s basically nobody there, but it was Ransom’s first time seeing it, and with so much snow there was all this mist coming off (the falls) and attaching to the trees and the fences. If you like the outdoors and the snow, this is it.”
Shuffle Off To Buffalo
That a guy from Laramie, Wyoming, who opened a chicken wing truck would reach the pinnacle of his profession isn’t an accident. Weitzel said he’s always aspired to be the best at what he does.
“I always had that dream and hope,” he said. “Whenever I do something, I want to be the best of the best. I always want to push the limits. I knew about the Buffalo Wing Festival when I opened, and that was my goal from the start.”
That start was less than 10 years ago in 2015 when he opened his first Double Dubs truck. Now he has seven of his army green military-themed wing wagons and more on the way. The latest Double Dubs truck recently began running in southwest Wyoming, while a new Double Dubs War Wagon is planned for the northeast region of the state.
Weitzel also has plans to bring the Dubs Mafia to Buffalo permanently.
“I plan on having a truck out here in Buffalo in the next year, year and a half,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “I like pushing the limits and pushing people’s buttons when I’m out here.”
Those who are the best at Buffalo wings know each other and are friendly rivals, but also supremely competitive, he said. Building a reputation of being the best wing spot in Buffalo, New York, would truly make Weitzel and made man.