Calgary stadium all set to go Green

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

Some nerve, Saskatchewan.

It’s bad enough your Roughriders fans take over McMahon Stadium every time the Stampeders host your CFL team. Now, you’re sticking your green flag in the grass at Foothills Stadium, too?

The Calgary Vipers are hosting Rider Day at the Park a stone’s throw from McMahon Saturday, inviting Roughriders fans in Calgary to celebrate their 100 years in the CFL.

But the ingenious marketing ploy that will surely bring bigger numbers to Foothills for the afternoon game, hours before the Stampeders and Riders clash next door, wasn’t a Vipers idea — the Roughriders approached the Golden Baseball League team about putting something together.

Riders president and CEO Jim Hopson will throw out the first pitch and the seventh-inning stretch will feature a tribute to the Green and White.

They’ll even be hawking shares in the publicly-owned pro squad.

Whose town is this, anyway?

The Stampeders will try to prove it’s theirs on the gridiron later that evening.

Anything that happens anywhere else is secondary.

“Fans, no matter who you root for, they support the league. At the end of the day, that pays me,” said Stamps receiver Nik Lewis.

“So if you’re a Rider fan, if you’re a Bomber fan, if you’re an Edmonton Eskimos fan, a Calgary Stampeders fan, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, if they’re not supporting us, we don’t get paid.

“I don’t care who you root for, just support somebody so I can keep making a paycheque.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were fewer than 1,000 tickets available for Saturday night’s battle between the Stamps and Riders, and some fans from Foothills are sure to walk over to the CFL game and join the thousands of fellow watermelon-wearing former Saskatchewanites already squatting at McMahon for some football action.

“I can’t control the way this country’s built. Saskatchewan people are everywhere,” said Stamps QB Henry Burris.

“We have to do our best to keep them quiet.”

Good luck. A silent Saskatchewan fan is about as common as a quiet carpet bombing.

“It’s kind of crazy. When

I got here last year, the first few games, all I could see was red in the stands,” said second-year Stamp DeVone Claybrooks. “When Saskatchewan got here, it was all green. I guess that’s how it rolls.”

He’s already learned how to deal with it.

“The game’s won between the white lines. It doesn’t matter what the fans do,” he said. “They can’t hand the ball to Wes Cates. They can’t throw to (Weston) Dressler. I’m not too worried about what they do off the field. I get paid to win between the lines.

“That’s where we’re gonna do our talking.”

But don’t blame the Vipers for the move intending to plant butts in their seats and not to disrespect the Stampeders organization.

“We’re not trying to rain on a party or whatever. It’s a fun thing,” said Vipers president John Conrad. “We’re hoping to get 1,000 to 2,000 of their fans here. Hopefully, they’ll come here, have a great time, and we’ll see them back here again.”

Great plan. Riders fans flock to events serving beer and hotdogs the way Winnie the Pooh hunts down honey.

“They have the best fans in the game. That’s hands down,” said Burris, a former Rider. “They help make the game what it is here in the CFL. We’re thankful to have them.”


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