Roughrider fans prepare for Grey Cup

Saskatchewan team pride will be on show around town this Sunday

Rider pride will be on show this weekend

They live among us — and this Sunday, you’ll see them don their green jerseys and watermelon helmets, honking their horns and banging pot lids like it’s midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Rider fans.

There will be no holding them back, after their team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, beat the Calgary Stampeders last Sunday to earn a berth in this Sunday’s Grey Cup… which is being hosted by the city of Regina.

Win or lose, they may be difficult to live with or work with next week.

Shelley Empey, a lab technician at Fraser Canyon Hospital, had less than 12 hours to organize our “Rider Nation, Hope Chapter” photo shoot for sundown on Tuesday — but a half dozen jumped at the opportunity to show their Rider pride. Like Empey and her husband Evan, most were born and raised in Saskatchewan, including former Rosthern resident Nichole Desjardins, wearing her new watermelon helmet.

“I’ve worn them before,” said Desjardins, “but this is the first one I’ve made. It’s my first carve.”

A Riders sweater and matching mittens complimented her head gear.

“I’ve been a fan since the day I was born, I’m sure,” said Desjardins. “I’ve spent almost half my life in B.C. now — and I’ll never not be a Riders fan.

“I bleed green!”

Curiously, Desjardins has never been to a Riders’ game in Regina, though she’s worn the green in BC Place a number of times.

Jon Polishak, who couldn’t make the photo shoot, spent a lot of time in the old Taylor Field stadium when he lived in Regina in the 1990s.

“I used to play for the Regina Lions’ band and we played at the Riders’ games,” said Polishak, an English and theatre teacher at Hope Secondary… a hot-bed of Saskatchewan-born staff members.

“One of my first jobs was working in the concession at the stadium,” he added. “After half time, they’d send me out to sell left-over hot dogs in the stands.”

Polishak recalled the last time the Riders met the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the Grey Cup. It was 1989 and Dave Ridgway scored a last-second field goal to win it 43-40 for the Riders.

Fun facts: the Tiger Cats’ head coach, Kent Austin, was the Riders’ quarterback in 1989 — and his starting quarterback this Sunday is former Rider, Henry Burris… who’ll be passing to former outstanding Riders’ receiver Andy Fantuz.

Hope Secondary’s principal, Rosalee Floyd, is a long-time fan — though she’ll be out of town on Sunday. Her husband Len is a Rider fan as well… despite another fun fact. He’s American, from Montana. They lived just across the border in Opeim (population 85, in 2010) and they’d come across the border to the Riders’ games.

“I think it’s going to be a good game — but I highly anticipate a Rider win,” said Floyd.

Not so fast, though. The Riders are favoured to win over the Tiger Cats — but if you’re a true Riders fan, you’ve got to be ready for really bad stuff to happen.

The Riders’ Grey Cup wins are so memorable because there have been so few of them. As in three. That’s the least Grey Cup wins of any CFL team.

Meanwhile, the Riders have the record for the most Grey Cup losses, at 15. Five losses for every win. They last won in 2007.

A win will sit fine with Empey, who said the spirits can run a little high when the Riders are struggling in a big game.

“The language from the ‘gentlemen’ gets quite colourful when the boys are down.

“The guys wear their hearts on their sleeves when it comes to their beloved Riders,” she added.

Small wonder, when they have a history of heart-breaking losses — the most recent in 2009 when Saskatchewan had the win guaranteed after Montreal missed on a late field goal… only to be called for too many green men on the field.

Montreal got to try again, from 10 yards closer and they won by a single point.

“Hopefully the Riders practice counting from 1 to 12 before the big show,” said Empey, grinning.

Just Posted

Agassiz man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Classical paired with folk for Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra’s winter concert

Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra presents Tchaikovsky in America at G.W. Graham theatre

Chilliwack prolific offender wanted yet again

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan

One man, two women charged with stolen pickup downtown Chilliwack

None of the three have criminal history in B.C.

Chilliwack-Hope MP says new summer jobs grant application no longer includes ‘values test’

Those with anti-abortion beliefs left out last year because of requirement to respect the Charter

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

VIDEO: 11-year-old violinist practices for Vancouver Symphony Orchestra debut

Cloverdale student Da-Wei Chan will perform Jan. 31, Feb. 28 with the VSO

Speaker brings report on allegations to B.C. legislature committee

Report describes Darryl Plecas’ suspicions about senior staff

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

RCMP ‘amending’ helicopter training after complaints in Surrey

Cloverdale residents say the Air One chopper was in the air for hours and flying at low altitudes

Most Read