Roughriders fans flock to Aylesbury
Elephant Bar has become a popular pit stop for fans heading south
The Grey Cup festivities are underway in Regina, but a small Saskatchewan village is where a lot of die-hard fans are stopping this weekend.
Lana Hodgins has owned the Elephant Bar in Aylesbury for 14 years. Inside the 85-year-old building, the walls are covered with Saskatchewan Roughriders memorabilia and photos of fans who have passed through the village.
"We've always been football fans and Rider fans," Hodgins said. "We had two cousins, Wayne and Cliff Shaw, on the '66 team. So we found a sweater of [Number] 50 and put it up and people started coming and it's just snowballed."
Hundred of people have already stopped by the Elephant Bar this week. Ron Riehl and John Schachtel made their first stop in Aylesbury on Friday.
"I felt like I was at home. It's so comfortable. It was awesome," Riehl said.
"Great setting. Pictures everywhere. It's a great party place. I'm glad we stopped here," Schachtel said.
Support for bar owner diagnosed with cancer
While the pictures on the walls show Rider Pride throughout the bar, fans are now also showing support for Hodgins. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in July. When word got out, she said the support was incredible.
"Just so many good friends we've met through Rider Nation and that and it's just fantastic," she said. "I don't know what we'd do without them."
Even fans who have never met Hodgins are stopping in to make donations to her treatment. Others show their support with a hug.
Gillian Lloyd has been coming to the Elephant Bar for years. Lloyd liked it so much, she started bartending on game days. Lloyd said one thing brings her back every game day.
"Well Lana," Lloyd said. "You know she's like sunshine. She's going through treatment, she's in pain, she's not in a good way and you would never know it."
While every game day is special for Hodgins, this weekend will be an extra special celebration. For the first time ever, the Riders are playing for a Grey Cup just down the highway from her bar.
"We're going to win. I don't know what the score is going to be. I don't care. We're just going to win," Hodgins said, laughing.