To say those in and around the Richmond, Va., area were excited to hear about the Washington Redskins relocating to Richmond for training camp in 2013 would be an understatement.
The announcement was made by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on Wednesday — coincidentally three days before the Redskins 80th Anniversary Thank You Tour Stop came to the Richmond area on Saturday.
The first stop of the Saturday’s Thank You Tour was at Kings Dominion amusement park in Doswell, Va., which sits about 30 minutes north of Richmond. There was certainly an added buzz in the crowd of locals who were excited about the Redskins’ arrival in 2013.
But the excitement was much more apparent in Richmond itself at the Richmond International Speedway, which was playing host to the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival — the second stop of the 80th Anniversary Tour on Saturday.
Standing in line waiting to meet several current and former Redskins in attendance at the tour stop were diehard Redskins fans Roger Hale and his son, Chip, of King William, Va. — a community about 30 minutes northeast of Richmond.
Roger Hale — a Redskins fan since he was 6 years old — said it will be “amazing that the Redskins will be so close to home.”
A local college student, Chip Hale said he felt the move to Richmond for training camp will only connect more fans with the team.
“Obviously, you’re closer to home now for a lot of fans,” he said. “Yeah, they play in Maryland, they’re located in Ashburn, but now you get the lower Virginia region. It’s good for everybody that they can get a chance to go see them.”
With the added excitement of this year’s Redskins team — which includes the addition of No. 2 overall pick and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III and key free agent acquisitions like wide receivers Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan — Roger Hale said “the sky’s the limit” for the future of the organization.
Chip Hale, meanwhile, already had his eye on Griffin III before his final season at Baylor was complete.
“I could admit I would’ve probably had a lot better grades if I wasn’t watching (Griffin III’s) games over and over and over again on ESPN3,” he said. “I was practically scouting the kid. I remember watching (Griffin III’s) Oklahoma game and thinking, ‘I want this guy. That’s who should be our guy. If he can throw the ball 50 yards across the field into the corner of the end zone, let’s come see what he can do under Shanahan’s offense.’”
If that doesn’t scream diehard fan, I don’t know what does.
Here’s a photo gallery from Saturday’s two tour stops in the Richmond area:
Tags: 80th Anniversary Tour, Kings Dominion, Richmond, Training Camp, washington redskins
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