Great plumes of smoke drifted into the cold November air around McMahon Stadium as legions of Stampeder and Eskimos fans vied for tailgating space at yesterday’s CFL western semi-final.

Though team distinction wasn’t the only division in the parking lot before the game as groups of tailgaters, seeming to ignore the mixing of jerseys, collected throughout the massive parking lot choosing whose burgers and chili to eat as the defining factor.

“There’s the corporate guys in the southeast corner with their portable sound-systems and huge rented grills, but here’s where all the real fans come,” said Brett Lister who chose to mingle with the Calgarians in the southwest corner, cooking out of small barbecues from the back of their trucks.

“We wanted to put on a great spread for our clients and employees, but all are welcome to our food,” said Carol Johannas, one of the cooks minding the grill supplied by Spartan Controls.

Less traditional fare was supplied in the cluster of Calgarians in the southwest corner, such as Jenny Krepinski’s all-vegetarian spread.

“Everybody’s been pretty accepting, there’s no real difference about where you are or who you’re with. We’re all here to have a good time,” said Krepinski, who said she did notice a heavy tilt to the southwest corner when it came to raucous cheering.

Calgary police were on hand to keep an eye on the proceedings but did not report any incidents with the crowd.