5 Questions With The Buffalo Bills Helmet Bar

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Blake Parnham of Keswick, Ontario (158 miles north of Ralph Wilson Stadium) looks out his living room window and knows it’ll be a chore clearing the snow that has accumulated on and around the 12-foot tall by 12-foot wide Buffalo Bills helmet bar that sits on the patio at the house he shares with his dad Rick, mother Michelle, and his brother Nick.

But it’s AFC Championship weekend and the bar must be opened for the biggest game in the life of this structure since it was transformed from a sandbox to the best helmet bar in the NFL. The snow will be removed along with the facemask cover and the most glorious bar structure known to Bills fans will be fully operational for Sunday’s 6:40 kickoff. 

The history of the Bills Helmet Bar is quite remarkable. The story goes that Blake’s father Rick was a school teacher who would put Bills stickers on assignments that went home with students. Parents would see the stickers. One day, a mother who remembered those stickers tracked down Rick to tell him a sporting goods store had a Bills helmet that needed to be removed. It was the massive Bills helmet. Rick became the official owner and in 1996 it ended up a sandbox for the kids. Eventually, the helmet became cover for a woodpile.  

Fast-forward to 2019 and a lightbulb went off for the Parnhams. The Bills Helmet Bar was stood up and came to life on the patio. 

I slid into Bills Helmet Bar’s Twitter (@BillsHelmetBar) direct messages to ask the bar about its new life and how its feeling on the verge of the AFC Championship.  

Kinsey: What’s your favorite helmet bar moment so far this season?

Bills Helmet Bar: The best moment of the year was all the love and attention I got during the Week 3 game against the Rams when a local television crew came to film the tailgate. They stayed for the first half, which was perhaps the best half of football of the season – then they left, the Bills blew a huge lead, but recovered to win. I was a basket-case of emotions that day.

Kinsey: How has life changed since you were transformed from a sandbox to the most famous helmet bar in the NFL?

BHB: Things couldn’t be better. For one thing, I’m standing up tall for the first time in years! I’ve also got a real facemask now which really completes the look. But most importantly, I’ve become a space for Bills fans from all over to watch the games – and I’ve got to say… in two years of being a Helmet Bar, they’re two-for-two in playoff appearances!

Bills Helmet Bar in summer
Summer 2020

Kinsey: How are you holding up in the elements (28F & cloudy for gameday)? I saw a photo of a gentleman doing work on you earlier this season.

BHB: Ah yes – I have a great maintenance team between Rick and Blake. Frankly, I expected them to have been busier this season, but aside from fixing the seam on my roof and removing some ice before winter games, I’ve been holding up fairly well. And we’ve had some good old-fashioned Canadian weather this year; there was a hailstorm in Week 8, and a fallen tree and power outage in Week 11. But it’ll take more than that to knock a 12-foot helmet over!

October, 2020

Kinsey: What are your bar rules people have to follow while enjoying a Bills game?

BHB: This year it has been a little different because of the pandemic and Ontario’s restrictions. It has largely just been the family and one or two friends for most of the year, each on their own side of the patio. But our bar rules are simple: bring your own beers, be respectful to everyone (even the referees), and we listen to the “Shout” song after every touchdown.

Kinsey: Helmet, you’re in the locker room Sunday before the AFC championship game. What’s your pregame speech to the boys?


Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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