“I just told them our story.”
Out of hundreds of stories from around the globe, the story of the North Royalton Browns Backers, told by Founder Tim Rudnick, prompted the Browns Backers Presidents’ Leadership Council to name them the 2019 Browns Backers Club of the Year.
To celebrate, the Cleveland Browns threw the North Royalton Browns Backers a private party March 10 at Niko’s Bar & Gyros where the club meets. Amidst a glowing sea of orange and brown, the spirited party featured a special meet-and-greet visit with beloved Browns alum Hanford Dixon, mascot Chomps, presentations by North Royalton Fire Chief Robert Chegan, Jr. and Cleveland Browns Fan Experience and Special Events Manager Corey Kinder, a raffle benefiting the North Royalton Browns Backers Scholarship Fund, a complimentary meal and drink and plenty of cheer and enthusiasm.
Newly formed in 2018, the North Royalton Browns Backers has more than 150 members, said President/Founder Tim Rudnick of Strongsville. Browns Backers Worldwide is one of the largest organized fan clubs in all of professional sports with members and clubs all over the globe, including Israel, Mexico, Canada, states across the US and everywhere in between. Clubs apply each year for the coveted title of “Club of the Year.”
Like their home base location of Niko’s Bar & Gyros, the North Royalton Browns Backers makes community outreach their main focal point. The North Royalton Browns Backers’ charitable contributions have benefited the Cleveland Animal Protective League (APL), the Ohio Chapter of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, the North Royalton Fire Department and a local scholarship fund that awards three $1,000 scholarships to graduating North Royalton High School seniors. Members worked with the North Royalton Fire Department to donate funds for the construction of a “splash house,” a traveling, collapsible house that teaches children at schools, fairs and other community events about fire safety. In their inaugural year of 2018, the North Royalton Browns Backers donated more than $4,500 to the Wounded Warrior Project supporting veterans.
“As much as it is about getting fans together to watch the game and having enthusiasm for our team, we try to make local community outreach a portion of what we do,” Rudnick said.
Owner Niko Moulagianis of Niko’s Bar & Gyros said he is humbled by the entire experience.
“I still can’t believe it,” he said of the North Royalton Browns Backers Club of the Year title and the Club’s dedication to philanthropy. “We’re part of North Royalton and I want everyone who comes here to be proud of our community. This is a very special moment.”
Local Fire Chief Robert Chegan, Jr. presented Rudnick with a commemorative Browns firefighter helmet and decorative fire hydrant during the March 10 party at Niko’s Bar & Gyros. Members were also given engraved glasses. A custom football was also presented to Rudnick.
“The vibe in here every Sunday and Monday of the season is awesome,” said North Royalton Browns Backer member Stacy Campbell of Cleveland. “Everyone is always so excited, unless we’re losing, then we’re miserable together.”
Browns alum Hanford Dixon arrived at the celebration for photos and meet-and-greets with members.
“You’ll find a Browns fan all over the place, everywhere,” he said. “They’re the best fans anywhere in the world. These fans are loyal. The Browns haven’t been winning, but it’s still not a problem.”

Contributing Writer