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Fan’s Saskatchewan Roughrider collection growing in size and popularity

WATCH: Lance Hackewich has been lining these walls with Roughrider memorabilia for over 20 years. Taylor Braat has more about his ever-growing collection.

From watermelons as headgear to fans who stick out games in sub-arctic temperatures, it’s no secret the Saskatchewan Roughriders have some of the most loyal fans in the CFL.

Lance Hackewich is one fan who’s taken his “Rider Pride” to the next level with a Roughrider collection 20 years in the making.

READ MORE: Collector selling unused Grey Cup ticket from 1966

“Everyone has a rider shrine. This just happens to be mine,” Lance said.

The assortment is wide-ranging in what it’s home to, and there’s always room for one more.

Player helmets, cards, footballs, and anything with the Rider logo lines the walls.

“We have autographed items from all the Rider Grey Cup wins.”

This glass case holds what could arguably be the most valuable of the collection, with a team-signed football or helmet for each Grey Cup win.
This glass case holds what could arguably be the most valuable of the collection, with a team-signed football or helmet for each Grey Cup win.

The room, which is covered in top-to-bottom Roughrider memorabilia, is called “The Rider Room,” and it even has an online presence. Since 2016, the collection’s Facebook page has doubled in its popularity, going from 700 to 1,400 followers.

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It’s even caught the eye of a few special visitors.

“I’ve had a few Riders in this room — Don Narcisse, Chunky Adams was in this room.

“People want to come and see this room, and if they get a hold of me through Facebook or Instagram, I’ll often accommodate.”

WATCH: (July 7, 2019) Roughriders mascot gets another fix, are fans appeased?

Roughriders mascot gets another fix, are fans appeased?
Roughriders mascot gets another fix, are fans appeased?

Despite the collection holding several one-of-a-kind items, one thing you won’t see online is any of the priceless collection for sale. It’s why Lance calls himself an “end collector.”

This vintage helmet phone didn’t have a permanent home yet, as it was a newly acquired item.
This vintage helmet phone didn’t have a permanent home yet, as it was a newly acquired item. File / Global News

But the very green space wasn’t always covered in Rider treasures.

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“It all started innocently: taking my son to Rider fan days, and going to practices and collecting rider autographs and stuff like that,” explained Lance.

“When our son was in here when it was his room, it was time to paint. I asked him what colour he wanted and he said, of course, ‘Rider green,’ so he and I took a weekend and painted it green,” recalled Lance’s wife Linda Hackewich.

A friend at work had donated this 1967 signed football to Lance after it had been sitting in his basement for years.
A friend at work had donated this 1967 signed football to Lance after it had been sitting in his basement for years. File / Global News

“And then Rider stuff stayed and he moved out,” Lance added.

The reason for the choice in colour may have been due to the family’s extensive loyalty for the team.

“This yellow bench. This was from Taylor Field and this was the three seats — 28, 27, 26 — where my family sat for 20 years in Taylor Field. Section five, row 15.”

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READ MORE: ‘I give it a 10 out of 10’: Saskatchewan Roughriders fans rave about new stadium

The room holds Rider memorabilia from coast to coast to coast, where each item finds new life. Lance said the collectibles are from people looking for a place where their items can be cherished.

“We’ve got helmets from Vancouver, I’ve got things from as far away as Nova Scotia. A lot of those people lived here at one time and moved away. I guess they want to repatriate their Riders stuff,” said Lance.

Kory Sheets donated his cleats or “Sheets’ Cleets” directly to The Rider Room.
Kory Sheets donated his cleats or “Sheets’ Cleets” directly to The Rider Room. File / Global News

“They feel in here, it gets displayed, it gets appreciated.”

Despite her husband’s extreme fanaticism, Linda finds joy in the room’s stories and memories too.

“It’s really cool to have this hidden little treasure in our house,” she said.

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Though Lance and his family were never “watermelon heads,” they were “Wheatheads.”
Though Lance and his family were never “watermelon heads,” they were “Wheatheads.” File / Global News

And despite there being numerous items attributed to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, as every collector knows, there’s always one thing missing.

“I’d love to get a hold of the old Gainer head,” Lance said.

taylor.braat@globalnews.ca