Friday, June 28, 2002

Bengals stadium shop does brisk business

Visitors buying stadium memorabilia

By Steve Eder,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Through rain, sleet, snow and even the Billy Graham mission, the Bengals Pro Shop remains open to serve those who want to take home the the latest team jerseys and paraphernalia.

        Monty Montague, the team's merchandise manager, said Friday evening that hundreds have traveled through the stadium shop during the mission in pursuit of small gifts and to “bring home a piece of Paul Brown Stadium.”

        The store was especially handy during the storm that raked the stadium with heavy rains and winds before Thursday night's mission began. Missioners flocked to the store to purchase rain ponchos.

        The manager expects more than a thousand missioners to stop in the shop before the mission ends. Mr. Montague described visitors as “a little lower key” then patrons during Bengals games.

        Even though the mission is taking place in the home of the Bengals, the most popular clothing in the stadium are the red-and-blue shirts sporting the Billy Graham Mission logo.

        But not everyone chose to follow suit.

        Tim Winchek, 45 of Wilmington, Ohio, wore a shirt that stuck out, saying “At my church, we worship a dragon-slayin' devil-stompin' demon-whoopin' grave-robbin' thief in the night. Wanna come?”

        Mr. Winchek, who attended the mission with his wife, said the shirt was a “more macho-looking” way for him to express his religious beliefs.

Complete Mission details in our special section