‘Roughriders Week’ Declared in Wheeling Ahead of Championship Game
It’s championship week in the Friendly City. It’s also West Virginia Roughriders Week.
With the undefeated Wheeling-based indoor football team hosting the Carolina Energy on Saturday night for the American Arena League championship, Mayor Glenn Elliott issued a proclamation declaring the week of June 23-29 as “West Virginia Roughriders Week” in the city.
“The mayor declaring this being West Virginia Roughriders Week was awesome. That was huge,” Roughriders Head Coach Mook Zimmerman said Monday afternoon before putting his team through a practice session inside WesBanco Arena. “We definitely appreciate it. Mayor Glenn has been awesome. We definitely thank everyone in the city and the Ohio Valley.
“It’s exciting because there is a lot going on, but our main focus is still to be successful on Saturday,” he continued. “We want everyone to come out to the pep rally on Thursday and support us. That kicks the weekend off.”
The proclamation, issued on Friday, lauds the team’s successful season and asks the city and the team’s fans to “participate this week to create a culture of excitement and support through signs, words of encouragement, and by attending the pep rally and championship game.”
A pep rally will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at River City Restaurant at 1400 Main St. in Wheeling ahead of the championship game, which will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at WesBanco Arena.
Zimmerman is looking forward to being able to host the title tilt.
“This is absolutely huge. We have hosted the championship game the past three years we’ve been in it,” Zimmerman said. “We take pride in having it come to our house. We take pride in playing in front of our fans and our friends … our people.
“There’s nothing like being at home. It’s just like being at your regular home,” he added. “Nothing better than being in your own home and knowing the dynamics of the field such as the big screen in the middle of the arena, so that you kind of understand all the ins and outs of the arena, the (team) itinerary.
“The ninth man (the fans) have been awesome. They give us that push that we may need,” he continued. “I don’t think people understand that in professional sports, the crowd can make or break momentum. It’s a very good advantage to have. It’s extremely important.”
The Roughriders will be trying to bring the third professional indoor football championship to Wheeling.
The Ohio Valley Greyhounds won back-to-back National Indoor Football League titles in 2003-04, going 14-0 during the second season.