The CFL’s top rivalry renews on Sunday when the Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-4) host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5-5) in the annual Labour Day Classic.
The Riders announced last week that the 2018 LDC is already soldout and now it’s time for the revelry to begin.
Veteran Rider cornerback Jovon Johnson has played for both teams in his 11-year career and says there’s a big difference between the two fanbases.
“Winnipeg fans, when they’re playing well, everybody loves you but when you’re not doing so hot, they’ll get on you.” Johnson said Thursday. “It’s just night and day of how the fans are. But at the end of the day, both fanbases are loyal and they’re both excited about the game.”
Rider lineman Brendon Labatte will be appearing in his 11th LDC on Sunday, after spending the first four years of his Hall of Fame career with the Bombers. He said the Rider fans on the east side of Mosaic Stadium (behind the Bomber bench) can have a big impact in this game.
“Definitely,” the Weyburn product smiled. “When I was a younger guy, that used to be able to get to me. If I gave up a hit on the QB and they started talking smack to me from behind, that was tough to block out and flush. The fans can definitely have a bit of an impact on the game.”
Labatte treasures the fact he’s been able to experience the LDC festivities from both sides of the border.
“It’s great,” Labatte continued. “To be able to think back at all the abuse we took on the east sideline, it was fun. I think it’s definitely made me a better player, and made me be able to handle the big games.”
Kickoff on Sunday is 1:00 pm on TSN and the CKRM Rider Radio Network.