It was supposed to be a big year for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Regina was set to host the Grey Cup in its new Mosaic Stadium, and the club is celebrating its 110-year anniversary.
Marketing staff had been planning for a full slate of celebrations, and then COVID-19 changed everything.
"This has been one of those things where we definitely have had to pivot, but we feel like we owe it to Rider Nation to put something on and to celebrate with them in any way possible,” explained Miram Johnson, Saskatchewan Roughriders director of marketing.
On Sunday, 600 cars full of Rider faithful lined up to drive past Mosaic Stadium over three hours, collecting team paraphernalia and goodies, all from the comfort of their vehicles.
This year’s celebration may have a lot more masks and hand sanitizer than organizers were expecting, but there was no less enthusiasm.
"The community-owned teams in Canada, like Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and Edmonton, they're the foundation and there's something to that community thing," said Steve Mazurak, former Roughriders receiver and staff member.
Mazurak has been celebrating the Labour Day Classic for the past 60 years, but he’s never seen one like this.
With the 2020 CFL season cancelled, he said it’s important to keep momentum going for next year.
"Trying to keep that fire alive and that’s the challenge that marketing people have is to try and keep fans engaged," said Mazurak.
The Roughriders will be launching a campaign to celebrate 110 years with online giveaways and events to tide Rider Nation over until football returns to Saskatchewan.