Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans Keith and Judy Campbell (back) toast the annual Labour Day Classic with friend and Saskatchewan Roughriders fan Darcy Sobkow on Sunday. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
Enthusiastic Bomber fans across the city donned their jerseys, grabbed a six-pack of beer and parked themselves in front of the big-screen TV in hopes of witnessing a win in the annual Labour Day Classic.
Those hopes were very quickly dashed, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders dominated the game right from the start.
"There’s no place but up to go," said Judy Campbell, who went to Joe Beeverz Bar and Grill to watch the game.
For Judy and her husband Keith Campbell, watching the Labour Day Classic and the Banjo Bowl has become a tradition.
The Campbells were with their friend Darcy Sobkow, a ’Rider fan, who was one of a select few actually enjoying how the game was playing out.
"I’m originally from Saskatchewan, so I’ve always been a ’Rider fan," he said. "The Labour Day Classic is probably the biggest game of the year, other than the Grey Cup."
Despite the poor showing, Keith had an optimistic prediction:
"I think they’ll win next week," he said.
Bomber fan Noah Njegovan was also watching the game at Joe Beeverz.
"I’m going to be out some money today," he said with a laugh.
The final score was a devastating 52-0 loss for the Bombers — the first time the team has been shut out in 45 years.
Some fans were left questioning the recent decision to fire head coach Paul LaPolice.
"Hopefully they bring LaPolice back in, wouldn’t that be great?" Njegovan said. "It’s kind of bad when you fire your coach after making it to the Grey Cup … They’ve got a lot of stuff they need to work out. It’s just hilarious that the coach gets it for players not playing."
Keith said the team has had its problems, "but I’m not sure it was all LaPolice."
"Something had to be done," he said.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, under the direction of new head coach Tim Burke, will have a chance to redeem themselves next Sunday, when they take on the Roughriders in Winnipeg in the Banjo Bowl.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 4, 2012