The hand off wasn't the cleanest in Winnipeg Blue Bombers' history, but diehard fan Todd Perdonic's pass of a tall boy of Bavaria beer to a fur coat-clad Chris Streveler during Tuesday's Grey Cup parade might fit nicely into next year's Bomber playbook.
Without hesitation, a shirtless Streveler, standing in the box of a grey pickup truck with a cigar between his teeth and a white cowboy hat on his head, grabbed the beer.
The quarterback, who threw for the 39 yards and one touchdown in the 2019 CFL championship final, poured the brew into the chalice of the Grey Cup, and thanked Perdonic.
"He actually saved me half of it," Perdonic said. "He poured it out and drank, and then passed it right back."
When asked if it's tradition to fill the championship cup, Perdonic didn't hesitate.
"It is now! When we repeat next year it will be. I’ll be back to do it again," he said.
Bombers host social, and family eventClick to Expand
Winnipeg’s CFL victory celebrations will continue with a social hosted by the 2019 Grey Cup champions on Friday night.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are hosting a party with a live DJ at the RBC Convention Centre from 7:30 p.m. until midnight. Attendees will be able to meet players and alumni, get their photo taken with the Grey Cup and purchase championship merchandise.
For $25 each, general admission tickets can be purchased at the door or online. Season ticket members can purchase tickets for $5 less through their online accounts.
The team is also hosting a free family event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., also at the downtown convention centre. Buzz, Boomer and the Grey Cup will all be in attendance for photos.
Perdonic said he was on a "scotch day," joining an estimated 10,000 other fans on the streets of downtown Winnipeg on Tuesday to celebrate the end of the Winnipeg Football Club's decades long championship drought, and the return of the Grey Cup to Winnipeg.
A convoy of pickup trucks and two flatbed tractor trailers shuttled the Bombers — including homegrown MVP Andrew Harris, defensive player of the year Willie Jefferson, and club president Wade Miller — down Portage Avenue, past hundreds dressed in Bombers fan gear, and others in suits and ties, who lined the boulevard and sidewalk from Hargrave Street to Main Street, and through to the entrance of The Forks.
Surinder Brar slipped out of his office near Portage and Main over the lunch hour to witness the parade. The 68-year-old joined Bomber Nation in 1980 when he arrived in Winnipeg, and recalls fondly a time when Grey Cups weren't so hard to come by.
He took in the championship game at home with his wife and said he and his extended family across the city danced when the Bombers broke the drought.
"It's just like I won the lottery, after 29 years," Brar said. "This is great, and my voice is going down because I've been cheering. It's fantastic."
Down the block, 40 students from Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary School took in the Grey Cup parade as a lesson on civic pride. Sara Litz, a teacher at the school, brought her class, and one other, to the festivities with blessings from her principal.
Earlier that morning, she'd led her students through some Bombers' history and what it means to be an underdog and to persevere.
"It's super exciting to show some city spirit," Litz said. "We were really hoping that it would be during the school day so we could go. We're glad it worked really well for us."
"I'm excited to see all the Winnipeggers here supporting the team, throughout all the years of struggle, and finally winning," Grade 7 student Alex chimed in. "We put the 'win' in Winnipeg."
After about 90 minutes on the road, the Bombers' convoy finally rolled into The Forks with thousands of fans in its wake. From a stage beneath the canopy, across from the Johnston Terminal, Premier Brian Pallister addressed the crowd first, followed by City of Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, who announced Chancellor Matheson Road between University Crescent and Pembina Highway, will be renamed "Grey Cup Champions Way."
Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea was welcomed on stage to fans chanting his name to the tune of Ole Ole.
"It's time to get some new gear," said O’Shea, who was sporting a 1990 Grey Cup championship shirt.
"This all very overwhelming. The tremendous amount of gratitude we feel for our fans, the city and the province this whole weekend is truly overwhelming. That feeling of gratitude will never go away," O'Shea said.
"I don't talk a lot, so I just want to say this: it's your cup, it's your cup Winnipeg."