Saskatchewan Roughriders win Grey Cup 101 against Hamilton Tiger-Cats

022A2282It is a rare opportunity for a team to win a championship in a professional sports league and it's even scarcer to win the championship at home. But for the 2013 Grey Cup winners, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, it was a dream come true to win in front of their home crowd this past weekend at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

The stadium was packed, shoulder-to-shoulder, with people traveling from all over Canada to be a part of the green sea. However, for some who couldn't make the trip, they rocked their Rider pride all around Calgary.

"It's like a family," says Ceilidh Macmullin, a former Regina resident who was cheering on her home team from her new home in Calgary. "Other CFL teams have pride but we stick with our Riders win or lose. I've found quite a large Rider Nation here in Calgary."

It's no secret that Rider Nation stands out among the other nine nations in the CFL. Many Saskatchewan residents have migrated to Alberta over the years and along with them, their Rider pride.

Jillian Hanson who is currently pursuing her masters degree came to Calgary from Regina, home of Rider Nation. Since coming here she and another two Saskatchewanians started a club, the Rider Pride YYC.

"It's said that Calgary is the biggest Saskatchewan city outside of Saskatchewan," Hanson says. "Fans bring their Rider Pride with them and show their colours with pride wherever they are."

From the opening kick of Grey Cup 101, there was an air of something great happening. Everyone knew it and everyone saw it coming. The Riders were at home in front of the entire Rider Nation and they weren't going to lose.

Even Martin Short and Tom Hanks "dropped by" to be a part of the moment even though they were cheering for the Tiger-Cats.

"The greatest thing about being a Rider fan is whenever they play in Alberta it's like another home game," says Saskatchewan native, Dwayne Krywulak, who was showing his kids what Rider pride was all about on Sunday afternoon.

"It is literally a sea of green and I love the fact it doesn't matter where you live, Rider Nation lives everywhere," he says.022A2286The Saskatchewan Roughriders took down the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this past weekend and Rider Nation was in full celebration mode at pubs, bars and restaurants all around Calgary.

Photo by Danny Luong

"Rider Nation I would compare to being part of Leafs Nation."

As ironic as it is, the Riders lost their last Grey Cup appearance because of a thirteenth man on the field. But with the win this past weekend, one could argue that they won because of their thirteenth man, the Rider Nation.

At the Canadian Brewhouse on Country Hills, that's exactly what everyone was about — being that thirteenth man pushing their team to victory.

"I think the energy in Regina will be so overpowering that the team will be in a place to take home the win," says Hanson, while watching the game with a group of her Rider patriots.

And true to Hanson's words, the Roughriders, behind the loud support of their fans, took down the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 45-23.

"It's a once in a century opportunity," Hanson says. "Fans will always remember this game."

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