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Minnesota-based Riders fan celebrates milestone

Terry McEvoy feels right at home 1,200 kilometres away from home.

McEvoy was among friends Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium, commemorating the 25 years that have elapsed since he first travelled to Regina for a Saskatchewan Roughriders game.

During that time, McEvoy — a Roughriders season-ticket holder since 2001 — has attended at least 80 CFL games in the Queen City.

“My first game was when the Roughriders played the Sacramento Gold Miners,” McEvoy recalled of a June 29, 1994 pre-season game. “There was a big rain storm and the lights went out — just like last week.

“Here we are again, 25 years later.”

McEvoy and his wife, Maura, made the northward trek from White Bear Township, Minn., in time for the Roughriders’ July 1 regular-season opener against the Toronto Argonauts.

The Roughriders won, 32-7, in a game that was delayed for more than two hours by inclement weather.

Afterwards, the McEvoys visited relatives in Swift Current and made a trip to Cypress Hills before returning to Regina for the Roughriders’ second game in a five-day span.

Before the Roughriders lost 37-10 to the Calgary Stampeders, the McEvoys mingled with friends in a reserved area of Mosaic Stadium’s AGT Lounge. An estimated 55 people paid a visit, including Roughriders legend Roger Aldag and the team’s president-CEO, Craig Reynolds.

“I’ve always said that this is about football, friends and fun, with the friends being the biggest part of it,” McEvoy said. “We wanted to recognize the people we have met who have made this an experience that most people would never have.”

The fuse was lit for McEvoy’s interest in the Roughriders when the family was driving back to Minnesota after a vacation in the Rockies in 1987. He just happened to hear a Roughriders telethon on the car radio.

“I was fascinated by it,” he said in a 2002 interview with the Regina Leader-Post. “I had no idea that the team was in trouble or that the CFL wasn’t doing so well.

“And then, one year, we decided to do something different.”

McEvoy has documented his experiences with Canadian football fandom in a self-published book, “Rider Pride on the American Side.”

The 25th-anniversary edition can be found by visiting http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/RiderPride.

rvanstone@postmedia.com

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Source: montrealgazette.com