Megabus loaded and unloaded passengers on the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Third Street for a stretch of time. Eventually, the company was told to take it off the street. Space was rented in a parking lot around the corner.
The customers stand in the open, near some cones that indicate where the Megabus will park. There are two porta-potties to serve the needs of passengers.
On Friday, there was porta-potty competition, as this parking lot also was a preferred location for dedicated tailgaters congregating early for the Vikings exhibition opener.
“The knighting ceremonies take place right over there in the corner,” said Bill Keech, pointing to his left.
Bill lives in Le Center. He works as a welder for Waste Management in Mankato. He had arrived with his wife, Kathy, and son, Richard, more than seven hours before kickoff.
There was a grill in the trunk and a couple of coolers. Before tailgate preparations, Bill reached for his hat with horns and made sure it sat on his head properly. This wasn’t a cheap, purple-plastic model, but a sturdy hat with horns that could gore a crowd of Cheeseheads, if necessary.
Bill wore a jersey with letters reading “VWO,” plus patches identifying Bill as Sir Keech and in honor of the USMC.
A reporter took this in and asked: “Were you in the Marines?”
Keech shook his horns and said: “I’m a knight in the Marine Division in the VWO.”
And what might that be? “The Viking World Order,” Keech said. “Syd Davy started it. You know Syd, don’t you?
Yes, I know Syd … the guy from Winnipeg who used to catch Randy Moss in the end zone after Moss’ Metrodome ripoffs of the “Lambeau Leap.”
“Is Syd going to be here today?” I asked.
The answer from Keech and a couple of other nearby knights of the VWO was that they weren’t expecting Syd for this game. In other words, the superfan from Winnipeg had an attitude similar to the average season-ticket holder from Eden Prairie: He doesn’t do exhibitions.
This is how the group started, according to the “THEE Viking World Order” account on Facebook:
“The Viking World Order (VWO) was founded in 1997 by the Legendary Syd Davy. He began ‘knighting’ other members into the Viking World Order in 2007, in order to assemble an army to lead the fight against the Minnesota Legislature to help the Vikings build support for a new stadium.”
There are six divisions to Davy’s army of pro-stadium zealots: Special Ops, Homeland Security, Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine. There’s also a Valkyrie Division, which we would’ve called the ladies auxiliary before Bella Abzug raised a ruckus about such things four decades ago.
Kathy Keech is listed in the Valkyrie Division. Big Vikes fan, Kathy?
“Sort-a, kind-a,” she said.