Thu Oct 14 02:47pm EDT
The Saskatchewan Roughriders' fans have a long history of making Mosaic Stadium one of the most uncomfortable environments for visiting teams, but they may be taking that to a new level this Sunday when Saskatchewan hosts the Calgary Stampeders. The Stampeders are led by quarterback Henry Burris, who of course became infamous for some pictures of him in a bra that have been floating around the Internet this summer. According to Burris, those were perfectly harmless, but it must have been at least a little embarrassing for him to have those get out. Now, Saskatchewan's going to remind him of that experience. Several fans are apparently already planning to wear a new line of watermelon bras in the appropriately-dubbed "Bra Bowl".
Watermelons have long been a staple of Saskatchewan fans' attire, and even watermelon bras have been around for some time, as the above photo (taken before this year's Labour Day Classic in September) shows. There's even video of a (male) watermelon bra-clad Saskatchewan fan at a July 8, 2007 game:
These latest ones are a bit different, though. They're designed by Saskatoon native Ed Onishenko, using an idea his daughter's sister-in-law (a Saskatchewan fan who lives in Winnipeg) came up with. Onishenko has been selling them at a local mall, so it seems likely we'll see quite a few of them come Sunday. They also carry a positive fringe benefit; one dollar from each bra sold will go towards raising awareness of breast cancer.
It's a quirky idea, but it's one that will likely appeal to plenty of Saskatchewan fans. Fantuz Flakes became a best-seller, after all, and are now spreading across Western Canada, so there's certainly a market for offbeat Rider-based promotions (although perhaps not extending to barnyard-scented anti-dandruff shampoo).
The Riders-Stampeders rivalry might take this one to a new level, though. Wearing these watermelon bras in general is probably an expression of support for Saskatchewan, but wearing them to this particular game also carries the tag of mocking Burris. Considering that he's a former Roughrider quarterback who now plays for one of their most hated rivals, I'm sure that will probably add extra incentive for Rider fans. Onishenko came up with these before "BraGate", but he recognizes that it's likely to play into his favour:
"'Thank you to Henry Burris,' Onishenko said. 'The timing couldn’t be better.'"
Onishenko and his fellow Saskatchewan fans might want to be careful just how much they prod Calgary's star quarterback, though. Burris can be spectacular, but he can also be spectacularly inconsistent. His last big game came the week after BraGate, when he threw for 412 yards and four touchdowns without a single interception against the Alouettes, so it's possible he used that controversy to fire himself up. A road game against Saskatchewan with the West Division title potentially in the balance is huge enough on its own, but personal taunts from Saskatchewan fans might just give Burris extra motivation. We'll have to wait to see how the Bra Bowl turns out, but it has the makings of a potential classic.