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Deb Hudak’s camouflage is Black & Gold

January 22, 2011

Those may look like cardboard cutouts of famous Steelers to most people, but to Debbie Hudak, owner of the Camouflage Inn, they are part of a unique pre-game routine that she hopes will again lead the Steelers to the Super Bowl. (Photo by Matthew Steffy)

STUMP CREEK — With another trip to the Super Bowl one win away for the Pittsburgh Steelers, many super fans are becoming more noticeable.

There is one, however, that is nearly impossible to miss.

In fact, you would be able to tell where Debbie Hudak’s rooting interests lie even if you saw her dog.

Those interests would become even more apparent if you saw her bar, the Camouflage Inn, in Stump Creek, which Hudak has owned for the past 21 years.

The bar may be decorated with more Steeler commemorative gear than most novelty shops in the state. The thing is, all of it has special meaning to Hudak, and some is part of her pre-game routine.

By the time kickoff rolls around, Hudak will be wearing her personalized jersey and Steeler shoes, both of which were blessed at St. Vincent Church in Pittsburgh.

She also will have finished kissing cardboard cutouts of Hines Ward, Jerome Bettis and Ben Roethlisberger.

“I was mad at Ben for a while, and he didn’t get a kiss,” Hudak said. “But now, he’s been doing good, so I’ve been kissing him again.”

She met Bettis several years ago, and told him of the ritual.

“I told him he wasn’t allowed to tell his wife,” Hudak said.

The same table will be occupied by Hudak at the Camo Inn, with the same people sitting around at kickoff time.

“We’ll all be sitting in the same seats; nobody’s allowed to change seats,” she said. “I have one shot of Canadian Club before the game. Nobody is allowed to touch or call me because I’m just a nervous wreck. If I break a nail, I have to go and fix it right away.”

Her fingernails are of special interest, because they are airbrushed with Steeler emblems. Perhaps a final touch to the game-day wardrobe that Hudak is confident will see the Steelers through to the Super Bowl.

“Final score, 24-10 (Steelers),” she said. “I’m hoping Troy (Polamalu) is the MVP. (LaMarr) Woodley is playing really well. I hope it’s Troy, but I really think that it’s going to be (James) Harrison.”

If the Steelers do win the Super Bowl, Hudak will have another day booked the following week, because she has never missed a Steelers’ Super Bowl parade.

“I’m football nuts,” she said. “Just football crazy. I like the Penguins. I like the (Pitt) Panthers, but the Steelers are it for me. It’s crazy, my dad says.”

She added that if the Steelers won Sunday against the Jets, they would play in the newly-built Cowboys Stadium.

“And I know a secret about that stadium,” she said.

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