Gainer bur­rows into spot at Field­house

Moose Jaw Express.com - - Front Page - By Scott Hellings

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.

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