Anticipation mounts in Saskatchewan as Roughrider fans await Winnipeg’s final showdown of the Canadian Football League West this weekend against the Blue Bombers.

The Bombers won both regular season games against the Riders.

And while some Rider fans would rather not remember it, Winnipeg defeated Saskatchewan in Regina the last time these teams met in the playoffs. It was November 17 when the Bombers won 20-13.

Considering this is a game against Saskatchewan’s biggest rival, it’s fair to say that Saskatchewan fans will make sure their schedules are clear Sunday afternoon for this game.

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Longtime Saskatoon Rider fan Janice Owen has traveled to the past 12 Gray Cups.

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He is driving over eight hours from Saskatoon to Winnipeg for this weekend’s game.

Owen hopes she will be one of the only fans dressed in green amid a sea of ​​blue and gold Sunday at Investors Group Field.

“I will go back to that 1989 energy wearing my number 71 Bobby Jurasin jersey. So hopefully that will bring us some luck, ”Owen said.

He witnessed the Riders defeat a favorite Edmonton team 11-2 in the 1989 Western Final. Owen has a feeling the Riders could repeat that story in Winnipeg despite Saskatchewan being viewed as an underdog.

“It is a unique and done game. Anything can happen, ”Owen suggested. “Even the most powerful teams can have a tough game.”

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Fans who generally travel to see the Riders in action can choose to watch from the couch rather than the stands amid COVID-19 concerns or the expected snowfall this weekend.

The reported capacity in last weekend’s Western Semifinal game against the Calgary Stampeders at Mosaic Stadium was 24,001, much less than the standard capacity of 33,000.

Although this Sunday’s game has sold more than 30,000 tickets, there are still some available.

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Scott Jocelyn, president and CEO of the Manitoba Hotel Association, said the event will be one of the largest in the province since before the pandemic.

“If you told me six months ago that we would have a game here and there would be basically no capacity and stadium restrictions, I probably wouldn’t believe you,” Jocelyn said. “We really see it as a ray of sunshine.”

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He said the impact on the local economy will not only serve hotels well, but also restaurants and other businesses affected by the pandemic.

However, Jocelyn understands that there will be some fans who usually travel to watch the Riders and Bombers play, but this time they won’t be able to make the trip.

“We want to see people go out and congregate, meet a group of friends or travel. All of this is a big part of what we do, ”he said.

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The Bombers enter the contest as the favorites to win it all after posting an 11-3 record during the regular season. Saskatchewan finished 9-5.

No matter what punters say about who will win this weekend, Greens and Whites fans are confident that the Riders have a chance to get their ticket to Hamilton for the Gray Cup on December 12.

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