SPORTS

Lack of hotel rooms has football fans bringing RVs to Grey Cup in Regina

11/22/2013 04:45 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST
REGINA - Huddled together in a parking lot near Mosaic Stadium are 100 recreational vehicles, which will be home to football fans who plan to camp for the 101st Grey Cup.

The temperature was in the -20 C range, and even colder with the wind chill, when Michael Bruce backed his RV into place this week.

"It's the first time I've ever had to bring a cooler to keep things from freezing," joked Bruce as he unloaded the cooler and a barbecue from the back of his pickup truck.

Bruce, who is from Moosomin, Sask., east of Regina near the Manitoba boundary, says he's been planning this trip for most of the summer.

He decided to camp because there was a shortage of hotel rooms in Regina. Fans have also booked hotel rooms in Moose Jaw, about 45 minutes west of Regina along the Trans-Canada Highway, and south of Regina in Weyburn and Estevan.

The temporary RV community has a least one perk. The lot is between Mosaic Stadium — where the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats will face off for the championship on Sunday — and a complex where all the teams are holding their Grey Cup parties. "Riderville" is a big draw for Saskatchewan Roughrider fans.

Bruce says he probably won't spend much time in the camper because there's so much going on with Grey Cup festivities. When he is there, the RV has a propane furnace with two 30-pound tanks that he says should last four days.

"The big thing (is) as long as the furnace works, it's all good," he said.

Another RV rolled down the Trans-Canada Highway from Calgary to Regina on Friday, packed with a group of buddies heading to the game.

Two Saskatchewan Roughrider fans, two Stampeders fans, a Bombers fan — "which is really unfortunate" — and a Lions fan made the seven-hour drive together, said Tyler Alaric, one of guys in the RV.

The friends were trying to hunt down tickets and a place to stay without any luck until a retail store, Mark's, heard their story about wanting to do "an epic boys weekend" and offered up both. They plan to stay in the store parking lot for the weekend.

"Once we get to Regina, I think probably the first thing we'll do is play a little bit of flag football out in the Mark's parking lot," said Alaric.

"I'm assuming we can turn the headlights on in these puppies."

None of the guys have winter camped before. When asked if the RV was winterized, Alaric laughed: "I really hope so. I really hope so. Yes, I'm getting the head nod, yes they are winterized."

One trailer over from Bruce, Merv and Marilyn Bodner had already set up their temporary home.

The couple from Lanigan, Sask., near Saskatoon, are well-practised at camping for Grey Cup having done it in 2003 and 1995.

"For all the Grey Cups here, we have RV'd it. We're volunteers as well and we volunteered at the other two Grey Cups as well and just loved it," said Marilyn Bodner.

Bringing the RV was a matter of necessity for the Bonders. They simply couldn't get a hotel room.

"We tried to book right off the bat," laughed Marilyn Bodner. "But all our shifts are at Riderville, so we're right in the middle of the action.

Merv Bodner says their RV is fully winterized. The couple says they stay "toasty warm" with a propane furnace, ceramic heaters and electric blankets for sleeping at night. The only thing they don't have is water.

"We're Saskatchewan tough," said Merv Bodner.

"Yeah, we're Saskatchewan tough, or crazy, or one or the other," echoed Marilyn Bodner.

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