The heat cranked up on the Craven Country Jamboree Thursday helping the good times go down for thousands of festival lovers.
Many were still hauling their campers or trailers on the highway, ready to set up and hunker down for the weekend. Inside the gates, the party was already well underway, beers in hand and clothes peeled back because of the 30-degree temperature. For some, the party had been a continuation from the day before.
Some campsites had Saskatchewan flags flying. Others had Roughrider flags. But there was one flag flapping in the wind, smack dab in the middle of Craven unlike any of the others — a Winnipeg Blue Bombers flag.
“In the gold we’re pretty safe. If I were across the river I’d probably be dead,” laughed Doug Westhouse in relation to his camping spot.
Westhouse has been coming to Craven from Dauphin, Manitoba for the last 11 years. He always brings his flag, strapped on a pole of top of his camper so that he can proudly wave it in the face of Rider fans.
“For the attention,” he admitted.
Surprisingly, Westhouse hasn’t been run out of the music festival based on his choice of CFL team. He gets dirty looks and an earful from those who pass by most years, especially when he goes out to the road to chant for the Bombers.
Sharing a site with Westhouse is Marc Lemier. He’s from Saskatchewan. He flies a Saskatchewan flag just a few feet away from the Bomber flag.
The two have a truce of sorts since they’re family.
Lemier described an incident in the past where somebody tried to scale Westhouse’s camper’s ladder and rip the flag off of the pole on which it rests.
“Crawled up after him and I started talking about the Banjo Bowl and then pretty soon we were buddies,” he conceded.
Somehow, someway, Westhouse’s flag has remained safe, despite efforts to forcefully remove it on behalf of Rider Nation.
“Nobody’s successfully got at it.”
He laughed that even the RCMP has given him a hard time about the flag.
“Yeah, they were going to ticket me because I was flying a Blue Bomber flag,” he joked.
However, maybe the joke’s on him. He works and gets paid in Manitoba and spends his hard-earned money in Saskatchewan.