Konicek, a local restaurateur at the time, started the Racine
Raiders in 1953. The team began in the Bi-States Football
League (BSFL) and won their first league championship in 1954.
The team was able to sustain itself until 1975 when it disbanded. New owners started the Racine Gladiators in 1978. They paid players and were successful on the field, winning three National Championships. Unfortunately, the team fell on hard times and disbanded in 1985.
In 1986, Bob Milkie, a retired bearing company executive, Joe Mooney, a police sergeant, Jess Levin, a local banker, and others rebuilt the team, this time as community-owned, non-profit organization.
Perhaps the biggest moment in the team's history, as well as that of minor league football, came in 1989 when the team traveled to Ottawa, Canada, to play in a World Championship game. While the team won the game in five degree weather and a blizzard, just playing the game was the important element. The team was now able to apply for, and received, 501(c)3 Not-For-Profit status from the Internal Revenue Service, setting the tone for dozens of minor league football teams since to be able to do the same.
The Raiders have won seven National Championships and have
had nearly a dozen players with National Football League (NFL)
experience. They also have 26 players, coaches or staff in
the American Football Association (AFA) Hall of Fame, more
than any other team.