Husker fanatic: Making the trek from Canada to North Stadium

2012-09-21T23:15:00Z 2012-11-30T17:27:17Z Husker fanatic: Making the trek from Canada to North StadiumBy CLARK GRELL/Lincoln Journal Star

Thank goodness for satellite television.

It allowed Rob Champoux to catch his beloved Huskers at a hangout in Burlington, Ontario.

But little did the born-and-raised Canadian know that a run-in with some Husker fans in that sports bar would lead to seats at Memorial Stadium.

"Around 1993, we were at the sports bar (in Burlington), and in walks this family," the 52-year-old Champoux said. "They were dressed in Husker gear. I looked over and just couldn't believe it. I've never seen people (around here) in Husker gear."

That sparked a friendship with Dave and Judy Walahoski.

Dave Walahoski, a native Nebraskan who was working in Canada, and Champoux talked and watched Husker football. Walahoski told Champoux that he needed to get to Lincoln to watch a game.

So Champoux made the trek to Lincoln in 1997 for a game against Texas Tech.

"The biggest moment for me was the very first game and witnessing the Tunnel Walk," Champoux said. "The hairs on my arms were standing up."

The Walahoskis, now living in Des Moines, Iowa, and Champouxs split a season ticket package. This season, Champoux attended Nebraska's first two home games and will return for the Penn State game. The two families pick one game each year where they go together.

Champoux, who works for Air Canada, flies into Kansas City, Mo., and drives to Lincoln from there for the games.

"The games are great, but the people in Nebraska are fantastic," Champoux said. "They always welcome you with open arms."

Champoux and his wife, Tammara, have two children. Son, Derek, is 25 and daughter, Talisa, is 23. Of course, they all bleed Husker Red.

So how does someone who was born and raised in Milton, Ontario (about a half-hour west of Toronto), became a Nebraska fan in the land of hockey?

"Back in '71 I was 11 and a buddy of mine, we were two little sport nuts," Champoux said. "(TV) was promoting this Game of the Century. We made a bunch of chocolate-chip cookies and watched this game (between Nebraska and Oklahoma). We kind of took a fascination to the team that won."

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