Gainer burrows into spot at Fieldhouse
Rider Pride was certainly on display June 18 as hundreds of fans swarmed the Fieldhouse for a special event. The celebration kicked off with a tailgate party in the Fieldhouse parking lot. The drawing card of the event was a special public practice session on the Fieldhouse turf, which was the second time the Roughriders had practised in Moose Jaw. There was also a special presentation held inside the Fieldhouse lobby. A unique art piece depicting the Riders’ mascot, Gainer the Gopher, was unveiled. Gainer himself was on hand for the unveiling. The piece (which is made of paper mache, cardboard, painted cotton, latex and acrylic) was originally part of the HeART of the Rider Nation centennial art exhibit that took place in 2010. The piece will be permanently on display at the Fieldhouse and was donated by former Moose Javian Heather Hodgson and Béla Szabados. For artist Adelle Crowe, it was a thrill to see her piece displayed in such a manner. “It is pretty awesome,” Crowe said. “I liked the idea at the start and when I saw the photo of it, well, it’s just a cool piece. It really captures Saskatchewan. To have it on display at our Fieldhouse, we’re thrilled,” said Mosaic Place general manager Scott Clark. Riders’ legend George Reed also attended the unveiling. Reed, a member of the CFL Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Order of Canada, finished his career with more than 16,000 rushing yards and 137 touchdowns—both of which are still team records. These days, however, Reed is perhaps best known for his George Reed Foundation. The foundation was formed in 1975 and is dedicated to helping those who are emotionally or physically challenged, as well as providing scholarships for those who are training to work with individuals in that area. “Hopefully we can continue to grow stronger . . . (and) we can keep going and do things to lend a hand in Saskatchewan. That is where we are and that is where we will stay,” said Reed. Those in attendance were reminded of the various fundraising activities of the foundation, including a sold-out golf tournament that Reed hopes will raise $100,000. Additionally, Hodgson noted during the presentation that a special 13th man flag will soon be on display somewhere in Moose Jaw. Fans will have the opportunity to sign the flag in order to help raise funds for the foundation. It has not yet been decided where the flag will be located. As always, fans were clearly in awe of Reed, perhaps Hodgson more so than anyone else. “I am definitely a big Rider fan but I am a much bigger fan of the George Reed Foundation,” said Hodgson. “This man walks on water as far as I’m concerned.” Clark said the city’s connection with the Riders is ideal and was excited when the plan to have the team visit the Fieldhouse presented itself. “Initially I thought it would be really cool to have the Roughriders in here for some kind of event. [Team president] Jim Hopson and I had a conversation about 16 months ago. Jim lived with his wife here in Moose Jaw for a long time and they commuted to Regina. Jim has a big heart for Moose Jaw and a big heart for this project—he and his wife would bicycle by the Fieldhouse and Mosaic Place every single day to watch the progress and see how the buildings were coming along. So he was pretty excited about coming back and seeing the finished project and bringing the football club here,” said Clark. “They view it as a big marketing opportunity too. They have got great roots here in Moose Jaw and to expand on those, I think they view it as an important thing. “The people are so excited and have such high energy. They are enjoying it.”
Riders legend George Reed discusses his George Reed Foundation.