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Rider Nation roars as Labour Day Classic brings old rivalry to a new stadium

It was an old rivalry in a new stadium, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders took on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 2017 Labour Day Classic.
It was an old rivalry in a new stadium, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders took on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 2017 Labour Day Classic. Marney Blunt / Global News

It was an old rivalry in a new stadium, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders took on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 2017 Labour Day Classic.

Rider Nation was out in full force to do their part in a long-standing tradition for the long-standing rivalry.

“We have some buddies in Winnipeg and all throughout the year, it’s a big beaking match, so this is the real test of the year,” Rider fan Brandon Smith said.

The 2017 Labour Day Classic was one for the record books. Rider Nation broke a record for the biggest card stunt in Canada, as the entire stadium revealed cards that formed the words “Same Home, New House.”

The game also attracted football fans from all over.

“I’ve been to tons of NFL games. I started watching the CFL and I just can’t get enough of the CFL. I tell all my friends in the states, ‘You got to watch this stuff, this is a great game,’” Steve Brodsky, who travelled from Chicago for the game, said.

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“I just like the whole idea of Rider Nation, they really got it going on here,” he added. “They’ve got a great fan base, I mean, look at this party, look at this stadium; you got the whole stadium painted green. Everybody has Rider gear on, except for the Winnipeg fans obviously. Just big fans of the team. I love the community, I love coming up here to Saskatchewan.”

“Once you’re from Saskatchewan, you always bleed green, it’s been in my blood forever,” Brad Beckett said. Beckett travelled from Prince George, B.C., for the big game.

The Labour Day Classic sparks green and white pride, and also shows the best of an old love-hate relationship with blue and gold.

“We love to make fun of the Bombers fans, but we love the Bombers fans too. We enjoy that they’re here and it’s a good time,” Riders fan Jesse Robson said. Robson and his wife, Jody, have been coming to the Labour Day Classic for a decade and were even married at the old Mosaic Stadium.

“I bought him season tickets, he asked me to marry him,” Jody laughed.

The rivalry between Riders fans and Bombers fans is one that remains neighbourly.

“I’ve always said the Riders fans are rabid, absolutely rabid, but I love them to death,” Bombers fan Bonnie Stevens said. Stevens travelled from Winnipeg for the Labour Day Classic.

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“But when Winnipeg isn’t playing, I always cheer for the Riders, always. They’re our neighbours.”

The Roughriders defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 38-24, and many in Rider Nation will be hoping for a repeat when they head to Winnipeg next weekend for the annual Banjo Bowl.

Photo Courtesy Tiffany Lizee & Kerri Michell

Photo Courtesy Tiffany Lizee & Kerri Michell