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YINZ OR Y'ALL: From Texas or Pa., Woody’s welcomes Steelers fans

February 4, 2011

Steelers fans congregate at Woody’s Tavern, home of the Fort Worth Steelers Fan Club, Thursday night in Fort Worth, Texas. But what’s with the Green Bay fan to the far left? (Photo by Alan Freed)

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Dallas-Fort Worth area is probably one of the few places on Earth one might find die-hard Steelers fans, but the truth is, the Super Bowl is in town, and fans overtaking Woody’s Tavern in Fort Worth are treating this like a home game.

“We have a huge following of Steelers Fort Worth fans,” said Rich Gee, one of the owners of Woody’s, which hosted broadcasters from both KDKA-TV and WPXI-TV Thursday night for live feeds. “They’ve been coming every week for seven years. Some are transplanted and found their way here, but most of them are proud to be Steelers fans from Texas.”

Becky Robinson is the founder of the Fort Worth Steelers Fan Club, a group that has also attracted fans from Dallas, as well. And the Fort Worth Steelers Fan Club calls Woody’s — described on its Web site as “the go-to place for yinzers in Fort Worth” — its home.

The cities of Dallas and Fort Worth may be less than enthused to see two Cowboys rivals battling it out in the Super Bowl — the inaugural championship game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas — but Woody’s is welcoming fans with open arms to its 5,500-square foot space that can hold about 330-350 people.

Gee said the tavern hosted about 250 fans for the Steelers-Jets playoff game Jan. 22.

“Steelers fans are definitely rabid, and I would consider them more like college fans, the way they have a good time,” Gee said. “They get along with other fans and bring food. They get to chanting, singing the song. It’s a pretty good time.”

The weather in Texas has been unseasonably Texas-like. At 9 p.m. Thursday, the temperature was 20 degrees, with a wind chill of nine degrees. Last Saturday, Gee said, it was 75 degrees.

“I was out playing golf,” he said, adding that a few days this week, “Our temperatures were colder than y’all’s (in Pennsylvania). That doesn’t happen very often. Hopefully by Saturday, it will be close to the 60s.”

Gee said he’s met some Pennsylvania fans who traveled to the area and had trouble flying into the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport due to the weather. They wound up having to fly into locations in Louisiana instead.

“We were wondering where they all were, but they’ve been trickling in,” Gee said.

He recalled another conversation with a fan in Alaska who sought directions to Woody’s.

“I said, ‘Why don’t you get to Texas first,’” Gee said. “We’ve had people call from all over.”

So with all the Steelers fun going on, one would think Gee, a native of Odessa, Texas, would be a Steelers fan, right?

“Well, I am technically not a Steelers fan,” he said, adding that while his back-up team is Pittsburgh, he tends to go for the Dallas Cowboys.

“I met Terry Bradshaw. He married a girl from my hometown, who was Miss Texas, and we got to meet him when he came to a practice,” Gee said. “For one season, I was hated.

“The Steelers are my second team,” he said. “It’s distressing when they have to play Cowboys.”

Of course, amid the chants, the singing and the beer, there are scoring theories all over Woody’s Tavern this week.

“We heard a few earlier, and they think it’s going to be pretty close,” Gee said. “They say 27-24 a lot, 28-21. They think it will be a touchdown or less. Of course, they put the Steelers on top.”

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