Two days before RFK Stadium would explode with the excitement of the Redskins' season opener against Eastern Division rival Dallas, a group of fans gathered in its empty parking lot to pay homage to the team in an unusual fashion.
"Claim Jumper," "Night Tripper" and "The Thunder Goddess" were names of some of the 28 vans in a caravan that assembled at RFK Saturday morning. The vehicles, belonging to members of Washington-area van clubs, later formed a colorful procession to Redskin Park in Herndon to present an award to the team.
It was a day for boastful banter, lighthearted mockery and Texan-taunting.
"We know Dallas will be here, we want them to know we will be here," said Bennie Smith, a Metro bus driver and member of the R3B Van Club. "That means Ronnie, Billy, Bennie and Buck. All of us are super Hogs. Especially me," Smith said.
The celebration was originated by The Last Episode, a group of musicians that honors organizations and entertainers for their "contributions to the community and the betterment of mankind," said Fred Outten, a songwriter and manager of the group, who organized the procession.
The Last Episode was formed in 1963 and Outten joined in 1971. The combo has performed elsewhere on the East Coast and in local hotels.
Outten said he organized the caravan "because we wanted to do something different."
"It's our way of saying 'Thank you, Redskins,' " Outten said of the latest award.
Among the van clubs in Saturday's caravan were the Calvert County Vanners, Capitol City Vanners, the Metro Van Association from the District and the Pleasure Riders Van Club from Arlington.
At about 11:30 a.m., Joe Adams, a Giant Food distributor from Fort Washington, led the caravan in his shiny dark green "Claim Jumper."
"I wasn't normal for a month" after the Super Bowl win, said Adams, a member of the Capitol City Vanners. Adams' spirits changed little after Monday night, when the Redskins allowed the Cowboys to surge back from a 23-3 half-time deficit to a 31-30 win.
"I was a little disappointed, but we beat them in the trenches," said Adams, who watched the game with friends. "I'm still proud of them. We partied all the way through to the end. We're already looking forward to beating Philadelphia."
On Saturday, while everyone was still anticipating the Dallas game, Outten presented a plaque to Redskins assistant general manager Bobby Mitchell, a recent football Hall of Fame inductee. The group gathered around and chanted, "Hogs, Smurfs, Hogs, Smurfs."
The plaque was engraved with the words of a song about the Redskins written by Outten. He said The Last Episode will record the song this month and donate its earnings to Children's Hospital and "some minority adoption homes."