Stallions fans find the Great North anything but cold Cup travelers warmed by Regina, friendly rivals

November 19, 1995|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

REGINA, Saskatchewan -- Leo Dodge was coming to experience Grey Cup Week, no matter which teams were playing for the Canadian Football League championship. It just so happens he received a bonus by getting to root for the Stallions here.

Dodge, an Ellicott City resident, booked his trip back in June. And after flying into Regina on Friday night, he looked very much at home at Baltimore's final practice at Taylor Field yesterday. He wore a Stallions jacket and cap, and waved a three-by-five-foot Stallions flag he and his wife made.

"I went to Colts games for 25 years. They ripped my heart out when they moved. When the Stallions came, I fell in love with them," said Dodge, a season-ticket holder who made his second straight Grey Cup pilgrimage. "I wish they would stay."

Dodge, one of about two dozen Baltimore fans seen around town, is busily sampling the food, beer and entertainment the city has offered all week. He has been noticed by the natives.

"The flag obviously draws attention. I took it to breakfast, to the [Grey Cup] parade. The only time I don't carry it is when I'm in my room sleeping," he said. "The people here are friendly. . . . They come up to you, shake your hand, offer to buy you a drink, and thank you for being here."

Angela Miller, a Glen Arm resident, said she has never been to a more gracious and hospitable town. She has been a season-ticket holder for two years, but this marks her first Stallions road trip.

She didn't plan on being here. During last week's divisional final, Miller and her girlfriend booked the trip from a ladies room at Memorial Stadium. Yesterday, she joined Dodge and about 10 other Baltimore fans in cheering on the Stallions at Taylor Field.

"We wanted to let them know that we're here," Miller said. "We've followed them for two years, and we've loved every minute of it."

Govans resident Mike Holy met Miller during their Friday flight to Regina, which included a two-hour stop in Toronto and a three-hour layover in Winnipeg. He talked about the friendly Canadian fans they met along the way, and the good-natured ribbing they exchanged in the airports.

Holy said he will go to his third straight Grey Cup next year in Hamilton, regardless of who is playing.

"What I've learned is if you think your team needs to be here for you to be a part of it, you don't understand the concept of what the Grey Cup is about," he said. "So many fans from all across the CFL come to this. It's like an annual gathering of people hooking up with people they haven't partied with for a year or two.

"This brings us all together. You'll never see anything like this in the States. I think we could learn a lot from these guys."

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