When the Saskatchewan Roughriders take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at the Labour Day Classic, it’s an atmosphere unlike any other.
Just a couple of hours before kickoff on Sunday, Confederation Park was a sea of green and white with a stream of blue and gold. Fans were drinking, eating and playing games, getting amped up before the historic showdown inside the new Mosaic Stadium.
With green paint on his face, a Riders jersey on his back and a watermelon hat on his head, Ken Meraw stood with three other similarly-dressed men — all of whom travelled from Red Deer, Alta. Meraw said the Labour Day Classic clash is special because it brings out his hardcore fan from within.
“We wear watermelons on our heads and put suckers in them — that’s been our tradition for the last few years,” explained Meraw, adding that he and his friends hand out the lollipops to everyone — except Bomber fans.
“Sometimes those dirty Bomber fans come up from behind and take (the suckers) — that’s kind of their style,” he said with a chuckle.
When asked if he and his team of watermelon heads would offer a Bomber fan a sucker as a peace offering after a loss against the Riders, his answer was short and simple: “No bloody way.”
Meanwhile, Rhonda Prychun, a Blue Bombers fan, also made her way to Regina from Alberta to take in the game. Looking on into Confederation Park, Prychun said she has her own views on Rider fans.
“They’re green and dirty,” she said with a laugh. “I haven’t talked to a lot of (Rider) fans because we try not to.”
But win or lose, Prychun added that the rivalry is all in good fun.
The Roughriders made their first Labour Day Classic mark on the new Mosaic Stadium with a 38-24 win over the Blue Bombers.