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Yorkton going gridiron green

In Saskatchewan professional sports means Roughrider football.

In Saskatchewan professional sports means Roughrider football.

Most people in the province, even those with just a passing interest in sports stay aware of the weekly fate of the Green and White through the course of the Canadian Football League season.

We collectively seem to live and die through the fate of the 'Riders on the field.

Moments such as the Dave Ridgway field goal to win the Grey Cup in 1989, and the field goal which sealed the team's Cup fate last November against Montreal are etched in the minds of most people.

An event such as Canada's gold medal mens' hockey win at the Winter Olympics might have been a shared Canadian moment, but in terms of sports, in Saskatchewan it would be equalled by a number of Roughrider moments over the years.

The team has become a century long tradition, with the team marking its 100th year in 2010.

To celebrate the century the team, the province's only professional sport franchise, has launched a search for the community which will be recognized as 'Riderville'.

Yorkton is making a major effort to be selected as that community.

Spear-headed by the hard-working duo of Roby Sharpe and Jason Farrell, the group has worked diligently for months organizing events designed to show 'Rider Pride in Yorkton. The results are being seen this week with events every day designed to make football fans blush green, and to catch the eye of those who will ultimately bestow the title of Riderville on one Saskatchewan community.

The Sharpe/Farrell combination have already shown dedication to football, being two of the key drivers behind the minor football system locally which has exploded in terms of participation in recent years. The minor football system, which has Grade 5 and 6 students playing in a spring league has about 400 youth from the city, as well as Melville, Preeceville, Kamsack and Canora.

The 'Riderville' designation would help the local football program too, as part of the prize package is a $25,000 donation to local football initiatives.

In terms of earning the title, in January Yorkton Council designated the week of May 2 - 8 as Football Week in the Parkland, and the week is now filled with activities including; yesterday's opening of a 'Rider Museum at the ANAVETS Club on Broadway, a Tailgate Party at the Blue Room, Kinsmen Arena hosted by the Kinsmen Club of Yorkton starting at 3 p.m. Friday, the Jordan Matechuk All Pro Football Camp for football players in grade 8 and older Saturday, the Rider Paride down Broadway Street starting at noon Saturday, and the sold out 4th Annual Football Nite in Saskatchewan banquet that night.

This is a week where Yorkton can show just how green our blood runs in terms of football. So get out, wear green, show the Roughrider banners, take in the events and become part of the gridiron tradition of the city. Let's make our city Riderville.