What do you do when the Grey Cup comes to Regina? You jump on the bandwagon and queer Canadian football’s biggest weekend of the year by creating the first annual Gay Cup celebration.
Bryon Grothe, general manager and bartender at Q, Regina’s only gay nightclub, is spearheading the celebration.
“I decided to switch the name from Grey to Gay,” Grothe says with a laugh. “I’m the only straight employee working here, and I was surprised to learn how knowledgeable many of the members were about football. I was talking defence strategy, and the members were just kicking my ass with their knowledge.”
Grothe, who has worked at Q for nine months, says this is, after all, Regina, hometown of the Canadian Football League’s most fanatical team boosters, for the community-owned Saskatchewan Roughriders. So you can understand how ingrained football is here, he says.
“There’s even a women’s football league, mostly comprised of lesbians, with teams in Regina and Saskatoon, and roller derby nights are huge here for lesbians. They get 1,200 fans out at the Tartan Curling Club,” he says. With Regina the host city for the 101st Grey Cup, on Nov 24, Grothe says he’s expecting many gay and lesbian football fans.
“We have people coming in from across Canada and the States to enjoy Grey Cup Festival and the big game at Mosaic Stadium — including drag queens — who we also expect here for Gay Cup. It’s just a good old party.”
Gay Cup, which will be celebrated Nov 20 to 24, mirrors the Grey Cup festival. Events include karaoke, a Saturday afternoon pool tournament, theme nights, prizes and drink specials, and a barbecue at 4pm on game day, when the Roughriders will confront the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats on screens throughout the bar.
“If you’re coming down to Q this weekend, get ready to show both your Rider and gay pride,” Grothe says.
“And if the Riders win, look out. I might have to apologize ahead of time for a lack of beer. The city is already running low on beer, clamato juice, watermelons, et cetera, et cetera from Agribition, which was held last weekend,” he says. “I have beer right up to the ceiling, in linen closets, everywhere.”