Your Guide to Investors Group Field

June 2013

A guide to the new home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Investors Group Field

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Page 42 of 47

GET READY TO PLAY NOW THAT'S CARPOOLING 43 BOMBER LOVE SPANS GENERATIONS The Hilderman family has followed their beloved Blue Bombers through the generations all the way from Osborne Stadium and Winnipeg/Canad Inns Stadium to the new Investors Group Field at the University of Manitoba. Ed Hilderman got his first taste of CFL live action as a young man cheering on the Winnipeg Football Club at the former Osborne Stadium. By the 1970s, he was a Blue Bombers season ticket holder, attending games with his son, Randy. Randy's son, Tim, eventually joined the game-going group, as did Tim's sons as time went by. 'HIS STORIES ABOUT THE BUD GRANT ERA ARE LEGENDARY.' Hats off to Irv Koch, not only for his 40 years as a dedicated Blue Bomber season ticket holder, but also for being way ahead of the trend when it comes to carpooling. Dubbed "Citizens for Safety", Koch, his wife Sandy and their pals love the live game day experience so much that they bought their own former Greyhound bus to transport fans to and from Stonewall for Bomber games. 'IT'S USUALLY BRIGHT AND SUNNY OUT AND EVERYONE IS IN A GOOD MOOD AND CAN'T WAIT TO GET THERE.' "Everyone likes to whoop it up on the bus on the way to games," said Koch. "It's usually bright and sunny out and everyone is in a good mood and can't wait to get there." The bus holds about 45 fans and Koch expects it will be full for every game this year. Koch is well-known at Bomber games for his hat that blows bubbles and he often brings along other self-crafted novelty apparel or cheering aids like banners and a locomotive bell. His love for the Blue Bombers goes back to the Osborne Stadium era when he was earning money as a paper boy. When he wasn't able to pay his way, he sneaked in to games and has been smitten with the CFL team ever since. Now the proud owner of the legendary Appleton Rum Hut, which he won for his $10,000 bid in the Canad Inns Stadium auction, Koch looks forward to the new season in the new stadium. Koch and his wife Sandy tested out their seats at Investors Group Field recently and can't wait for game time. Just two years ago, there were four generations of Hildermans cheering on the home team, a phenomenon highlighted when TSN chose to feature them as a Friday Night Football Family of the Week. "My grandfather has always been a huge Bomber fan, going back to the early days of the team," said Tim. "He loves to tell stories about some of the Bomber greats, players like Fritzie Hanson, that he'd seen and remembers so well that it's like they played just last year. His stories about the Bud Grant era are legendary." Those stories were handed down, generation to generation, in the Hilderman family and Tim says he is proud to share them with his own sons who range in age from 10 to 20 years old. As avid as ever, Ed cannot attend games in person, but still follows his Blue Bombers via radio, TV and newspaper. The other three generations of Hildermans are looking forward to continuing their great family tradition when a new era of Blue Bomber football begins at Investors Group Field. They look forward to being inspired by the new stadium. "Everybody has their favourite game-day rituals, so we will all have to adapt to the new environment," said Tim. "But once we do, I think we will find that the experience is better than ever."

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