New book explores history of Saskatchewan Roughriders

Regina journalist and fan Rob Vanstone's new book looks at the history of the Saskatchewan Roughriders dating back to the days when green and white was not so common.

Regina Leader-Post journalist Rob Vanstone had licence to write whatever he wanted in the book

Regina Leader-Post journalist Rob Vanstone says the original home of the Roughriders, Dominion Park, is now home to the Value Village in Regina. (Matt Howard/CBC)

Do you know why the Saskatchewan Roughriders wear green and white?

Regina Leader-Post journalist Rob Vanstone looked into that question and traced the answer back to a Roughriders board member walking around Chicago in 1947.

"He saw a war surplus store, these nylon green and white uniforms and they were on sale so he bought them," Vanstone told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition on Wednesday.

Vanstone was tapped by Triumph Books — coincidentally from Chicago — who wanted to expand a series of books on obscure sports facts. Vanstone said the publisher asked about it, so he asked for the OK from his wife and began writing.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders wear green and white because an army surplus store in Chicago was having a sale in 1947, Rob Vanstone says. (Courtesy City of Regina Archives)

The book, 100 Things Roughriders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, was not much of a departure from the routine Vanstone has become accustomed to while working in newspaper. Each chapter has about 1,000 words and he likened it to producing news articles.

The chapters are also tied to the numbers worn by players. Vanstone wrote about Ray Elgaard in chapter 81, for example.

"There was nothing about the history of the team that I didn't have a license to explore and I took that as a bit of a challenge because it's it's a team that I follow all my life, I've been passionate about all my life," Vanstone said.

"I thought I can not only write a book here which is just a fun process but expand my base of knowledge and have a little fun with it at the same time. I couldn't resist it."


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