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September 12, 2003

RIDGWAY NOW HALL OF FAME ROBOKICKER Sep. 12/03

By KEVIN CLIVE
Riderville.com Editor

Everyone wants to be the kicker at practice. Hang out on the sidelines until special teams and then kick a few field goals at the end of the workout just to knock the cobwebs off.

But when it comes down to mere seconds on the clock left in the biggest game of the year, being a kicker is not necessarily an easy job.

For former Roughrider kicker Dave Ridgway, being successful in that job earned him a Grey Cup championship, famed football glory and as of this weekend, a place in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

"Robokicker" as he came to be known, will forever be remembered for his game-winning field goal in the 1989 Grey Cup championship in Toronto over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Ridgway’s effort brought Saskatchewan only its second championship in franchise history and he was – and still is – a provincial hero because of "The Kick".

Ridgway was born on April 24th, 1959 in Stockport, England. Ridgway came to Canada in 1974 and began his football career while attending M. M. Robinson High School in Burlington, Ontario. Through the encouragement and support of his teacher and members of the Tiger-Cat organization, Ridgway won a scholarship to the University of Toledo.

In 1982, Ridgway joined the Roughriders. Throughout his 14-year career here, Ridgway amassed some impressive statistics and established several Canadian Football League records. Ridgway still holds the League record for most field goals in a regular season (59 field goals in 1990), most field goals in a regular season game (8 field goals) and most consecutive field goals in a regular season (28).

His other records include 541 converts all-time regular season (5th in League standings), 574 field goals all-time regular season (4th in League standings), and he also holds the record for second-longest field goal in the League at 60 yards. Current Rider kicker Paul McCallum bettered that feat with a 62-yarder in Week 17 of the 2001 season.

Although McCallum is creeping up on Robokicker, he will be hard-pressed to match the efforts put forth by Ridgway during some lean years as a Rider.

Ridgway finished first in scoring in the Western Division three times during his career, scoring 215 points in 1988, 233 points in 1990 and 216 in 1991. Ridgway finished his CFL career with 2,374 points. His incredible talent as a kicker was recognized six times as a CFL All-Star and Western All-Star seven times.

Ridgway’s last season in the CFL was 1995 and her retired from league action in the spring of 1996.

His career was full of positives and some negatives – the 1992 slip for instance in the Western semi-final is one that stands out – but Ridgway’s accolades and dedication far outweigh that moment and are now the benchmark for many up and coming kickers.

Ridgway joins several Roughriders from that 1989 team now in the Hall of Fame, including Roger Aldag and Ray Elgaard.

Assistant general manager Bob Vespaziani stated, "the Saskatchewan Roughrider organization is proud that Dave Ridgway has been recognized for his outstanding career and feel he is well-deserving of such an honour."

Awards and Honours:

CFL All-Star – 1982, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993
Western All-Star – 1982, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993
Dave Dryburgh Memorial Trophy Winner – 1988, 1990, 1991
Dick Suderman Trophy (Most Outstanding Canadian in a Grey Cup) – 1989
Saskatchewan Plaza of Honor – 2000
Jersey #36 retired by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1996
Grey Cup Participation – 1989
Grey Cup Winning Team – 1989