*Photo by Stephanie Meyers-Chapman
Mark Acasio, also known as Gorilla Rilla, and his new bride, Marilyn, also known as Jungle Jane, recently celebrated their marriage with Raider Nation. A crowd of over 1,000 people gathered in Fresno to watch the two die-hard Raiders fans tie the knot. Raiders super fans, including Darth Raider, Crusader Raider, Raider Gloria and Blitz Chick, came together for the ceremony.
In an event unlike anything anyone had seen before, Gorilla Rilla and Jungle Jane were married. "We had our brothers and our sisters, all the different groomsman from Afro, Señor, Toozak, Darth Raider, Skulls, all the ones you see on ESPN, all the ones you've seen, are my brothers," said Gorilla Rilla. "All of them. From Skulllady, Raider Gloria, Blitz Chick, we got in contact with them. They were more than eager and excited to be part of this unprecedented, one of a kind, only kind in the NFL team to have a wedding like this."
This wedding was seven years in the making. Seven years ago, Marilyn met Gorilla Rilla. "I've been a long time Raider fan because I grew up here in San Leandro just not even a block away from Ricky's," said Marilyn. "I had Raiders stickers on my van and in the town I lived in I had gotten a little tiny gorilla sticker and I had put that on the back of my van. So I was driving through an area one day and I was actually next to Gorilla. He saw this little sticker on my van and he started to get excited. He gets out of the vehicle that he was in and when I look over and I see him, I immediately get out screaming, yelling, oh my gosh, it's Gorilla Rilla, with just so much excitement."
The Future Generation Characters (kids) Rez Twins, Lil Pirate Girl, Drea of The Dead.
Photo by Stephanie Meyers-Chapman*
Gorilla Rilla saw her enthusiasm and went back to his car to sign something for her. "He goes to his car and he brings out this little tiny gorilla card," said Marilyn. "He signs a card for me, and I was on cloud nine for the whole day. You would have thought that I just saw Santa Claus, like I was a little girl and saw Mickey Mouse. I was just so excited."
Over the next month, Gorilla Rilla and Marilyn continued to run into each other around town. "Finally, the last day of the month, he sees me as not Gorilla, now he's just Mark and he's like, 'you again, we keep running into each other,'" said Marilyn. "He was actually giving away Gorilla little goodies and stuff to people and he said, 'I have something special for you.' He pulls out this little tank top with all these little rhinestones and it said G-rilla on it. And he pointed through the crowd right directly at me and said, 'I want that.' He's always made me feel special, one of a kind, He still has, even to this Gorilla Rilla wedding. Just has always made me feel like Cinderella, like I was a queen, like I was a princess. He always knows how to put me first somehow."
So after seven years, Mark and Marilyn decided to get married. They had planned to just have a small wedding, but Raider Nation wanted to be a part of the celebration. "People found out we were getting married and next thing you know, 10, 20, 50, 100…people wanted to come to the wedding," explained Mark. "So we decided to have a small church wedding with our family, her family, my family, real tight family. Me as Mark and her husband now, Mark had to get married. But then the Gorilla we had to do it for the fans, for the Nation."
They put together a big wedding for Raider Nation in Fresno as Gorilla Rilla and Jungle Jane. "Our main objective, our mission for this, was to provide love and smiles," said Marilyn. "Last year we ended with Al Davis passing away and so we left with our heads hanging down. We didn't make the playoffs, we were better, but we left with a lot of sadness, so now this season starting, the beginning with all the changes, all the new people, we wanted to start 2012 with a spark, with love and smiles."
Their mission was accomplished with Raiders fans from all over the world coming to share the day with them. "It was like a family reunion for Raider Nation," said Gorilla Rilla. "For me to walk out and look up and see [everyone], it touched me. Wow."
The support from the Raiders organization was an added bonus for the two super fans. Six Raiderettes cheered for the couple as they made their way down the aisle. "It felt so special," said Marilyn. "For Amy Trask to not only allow us to represent the Raiders, and not only did she allow us to put something like this on, they allowed the Raiderettes to be a part of it. That's huge. That's a huge accomplishment seeing you're a part of the family."
Mark and Marilyn - Gorilla Rilla and Jungle Jane - had their dreams come true. "It's a feeling that you can't describe in words," said Marilyn. "Me just being a long-time fan, it's more than a dream come true. It's like a fantasy. Bringing the people together and the mission of love and smiles. When I came down and saw all the love because all the people were there standing in the heat, that was love."
After a big celebration, with the support from Raiders fans, the two, now married, will return to the Black Hole to cheer on the Silver and Black. "I've been Gorilla for 16 years," said Mark. "I've been out there doing what I've been doing. I love my people and I love my Nation. I'm a fan. I'm a football fan. The only way to show my love and share my love is be what I do best, be a fan."