The September bout that usually sees Saskatchewan Roughriders fans pour into Winnipeg to see their team battle the Blue Bombers is sold out, though this year, the number of green jerseys in the crowd will be minimal.
The 17th annual Banjo Bowl sold out Wednesday, as per a press release from the Bombers.
A spokesperson with the firm told the media ticket sales show significantly fewer fans than from Saskatchewan will be making the trip to Winnipeg this year.
“IG Field will be a sea of royal blue come Saturday afternoon,” the spokesperson said.
Pre-game tailgating kicks off at noon for the first time this season. Gates open Saturday at 1:30 p.m., and only those who have been doubly vaccinated against COVID are permitted to attend.
This will be the first Banjo Bowl since the Bomber’s Grey Cup-winning season of 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic stopped the game in 2020, but Winnipeg enters the contest having won 4 of the last 5 editions of the game.
Former Bombers kicker Troy Westwood invented the term Banjo Bowl in 2004 based on his infamous characterization of Saskatchewan residents as “a bunch of banjo-picking inbreds.”
The matchup between the two rivals is held the weekend after the Labor Day Classic, which traditionally sees scores of Winnipeg fans head to Regina to watch the blue and gold face the Riders.
The Bombers (4-1) scored 16 unanswered points in the second half to earn a 23-8 victory over the Riders (3-1) on Sunday at 2021’s Labor Day’s Classic in front a sellout crowd at Mosaic Stadium.