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Bob Young, owner of the Ticats talks about his affection for Hamilton and Saskatchewan 3:52

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A writhing, rollicking sea of green.

That’s what most commentators are expecting the crowd will look like at Sunday’s Grey Cup in Regina, as the hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders face off against the upstart Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

But there will be at least a few flecks of black and gold in the stands on Sunday. Caught somewhat by surprise by their team’s entrance into the CFL championships, a smattering of Tiger-Cats fans scrambled last-minute to score tickets and transportation to the big game.

CBC Hamilton spoke with two Ticats fans who are making the 2,500-plus-kilometre trek. One, Jeff May, is a lifelong Tabbies fan who has seen the team play at several Grey Cups. He's taking a 48-hour bus ride to Regina for the game. 

Rick Jamieson, on the other hand, is a new convert. Catching the black-and-gold bug during the Cats' tenure in Guelph, he and his son are flying west to cap off this year’s wild ride of a season.

Here’s what they had to say.


Hamilton Tiger-Cats fan

Hamilton's Jeff May is taking a 48-hour-long bus trip to Regina to see the Tiger-Cats play in the Grey Cup. (Courtesy of Jeff May)

Name: Jeff May

Age: 51

Residence: East Mountain 

Profession: Accountant

Transportation to Regina: 48-hour bus trip

Are you making the trip with anyone else?

I hope to run into people I know out there. I couldn’t find anyone else who wanted to take the bus with me.

When did you decide to make the trip?

I booked six weeks ago, and when they won, I confirmed it.

How much do you expect to spend on the trip?

Maybe $1,200 in total.

Where will you stay?

I’ll probably grab a couch out there for 100 bucks because it looks like there’s nothing out there in the hotels. So far, it’s a locker at the bus terminal. (laughs)

Have you seen the Tiger-Cats play in the Grey Cup before?

I haven’t seen them win before, but this, I believe, will be my fourth or fifth time. In ’85 in Montreal, we took a train there and back in the same day. B.C. beat [the Tiger-Cats] up pretty good. And then I saw them again in ’89 when the Skydome had just opened. We set an attendance record with the Grey Cup, but the Rolling Stones beat it a week later. And then I drove out in ’98 to see them lose in Winnipeg to Calgary at the very end. And I haven’t been back since.

Why is it important for you to go to Regina to see the Ticats vie for the Grey Cup?

'You feel that you’re helping the team win a bit when you’re yelling. You feel like you’re part of the team and part of the victory.' —Jeff May

I think I might be able to answer that by saying this: A friend backed out of coming to a game few weeks ago because his friend was having a baby and he had promised he’d be there, and the baby was being born that afternoon. When he told me that, I said, “But this is football!” I don’t know if I can explain it better than that.

Also, a cool thing about being at sports venues is that you feel that you’re helping the team win a bit when you’re yelling. You feel like you’re part of the team and part of the victory. You’re not solely a spectator.

Finally, what’s your prediction for the result of the game?

37-31 Ticats.


Hamilton Tiger-Cats fan Rick Jamieson

Rick Jamieson, of Guelph, poses with Ticats superfan Dan "Pigskin Pete" Black. (Courtesy of Rick Jamieson)

Name: Rick Jamieson

Age: 52

Residence: Guelph

Profession: CEO of ABS Friction Inc., which manufactures brake pads

Transportation to Regina: Team-organized charter plane trip

Are you making the trip with anyone else?

I’m taking my son, David. He’s 16. And we were not Ticat fans before this season.

When did you decide to make the trip?

We only decided to do it after they won the game on the weekend. I was actually in Florida, away on my 24th wedding anniversary with my wife. I had a friend sending me information and I looked at my Blackberry and it said they were down 24-10 at the half. So I just sort of said, “Oh, they’ve lost. Down 24-10 at the half. The Argos are going to beat them.” Two hours after the game, I got an email saying, “Oh, they won.” And I was in total shock.

How much do you expect to spend on the trip?

$1,400 per person, plus food and drink.

Where will you stay?

We’re not staying. The Ticat plane goes out at 9:30 a.m. and we’re back in Toronto at 6:30 the next morning.

Why is it important for you to go to Regina to see the Ticats vie for the Grey Cup?

'If they win the one season they played in Guelph, we’ll remember it forever.' —Rick Jamieson

I was really getting into this at the end of the season. I said to myself, “If they win, I’m going to take my son. This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime memory from Guelph. If they win the one season they played in Guelph, we’ll remember it forever. It’ll be a trivia question: “The Ticats won the Grey Cup in 2013. And where did they play their home games? In Guelph.”

I’d only been to one Ticats game before this year. Then I went to a pre-season game with my son. They were kicking out footballs into the stands and they had the big bomber planes do a fly-by. At the pre-season game! It was awesome. So they do all this, and my son catches a football and he’s beaming. 

Our house is about five miles from [Alumni Stadium in Guelph]. We walked home that night throwing that football the whole way home and had a big laugh. We almost broke someone’s light stand on their front gate. It was just hilarious. Then we went to every game but one. We went from going “Ho-hum, ho-hum” to “This is very cool.”

Finally, what’s your prediction for the result of the game?

Ticats win.