Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Packers 'Bike Brigade' one of the most beloved training camp traditionsSubmitted: 07/26/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

Packers 'Bike Brigade' one of the most beloved training camp traditions
GREEN BAY - Of all the traditions that make the Packers franchise special for fans, one activity stands out as one of the most unique in the NFL. And it's thanks to some of the players youngest fans.

Day one of training camp kicked off today... Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm takes us to the Bike Brigade.

Training camp is much the same for all NFL teams: weeks of grueling practice in the summer heat; players showing off what they've built on during the offseason; it's where starters are made and jobs are earned. But in Green Bay it all starts on teeny... tiny... bikes.

"We were way over there by the Oneida Nation gate and there was like this open area where all the Packers came out. And we just stood there with our bikes. And you could ask all the Packers to ride on your bike," says Jason Yaeso, from Shawano.

"Getting picked out of everyone else here; I think that's just a rush of adrenaline," says Jonathan O'Connell, from Suamico.

Legend has it nearly fifty years ago Vince Lombardi saw some of his players riding local kids bikes out to the practice field. He decided it should be a daily training camp ritual to help players connect with fans. And in true Packer form, connect with fans they did... and have been doing ever since.

"The kids really like it. They get to be with some of their favorite football players; riding bikes with them. I think it's a great tradition. I'd never seen anything like it when I came in as a rookie," says Bryan Bulaga, Packers Offensive Tackle.

They lined up by the dozens this morning to taxi the men in green and gold to practice.

"I got number 69 to ride my bike, and I think his name was Brian. And we talked about how old I was," says Madison Fellons, from Winchester.

"(We talked about) how I play baseball and football and basketball," says Ethan Sauer, from Green Bay.

"I had M.D. Jennings ride my bike because he rides my bike every day, because he's my permanent rider," says Callie Vanlaanen, from Ashwaubenon.

Some players pick new kids every time. But some form a bond that first time and become permanent bike buddies.

"I just raised my hand and he picked me," says Vanlaanen.

The hilarity of seeing a grown man on a bike with training wheels has never gotten old. But some players operate on the theory that the bigger the man, the tinier, and pinker the bike.

"It's tough for anybody to ride a bike like that. I think I saw James Starks with a bike like that and he just had the little girl ride it and he walked next to her. I think I had one of those my rookie year too," says Bulaga.

No matter the size of the player, the kid, or the bike, this tradition gives the teams youngest fans an experience they'll remember forever.

"We get to see Packer players in person and not on a TV screen," says Sauer.

"It's pretty cool. I get a Packer to ride my bike every day," says Vanlaanen.



Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

ANTIGO - You'll always find 11-year-old Mara Antone wearing her helmet while she's on a bike. Last week, after leaving the Antigo Boys and Girls Club, she had an unexpected encounter. 

"I was riding home and I saw a cop car go and I waved," said Mara. 

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Pretty soon little ghosts, goblins and ghouls will hit the streets expecting tricks or treats.

However, some families may take their kids to church or club festivities as a safer way to celebrate.

Some of those places could actually attract convicted nonviolent sex offenders.

"[Kids] can't defend themselves at that age," said Minocqua vacationer and grandmother Donna Davies.

Davies thinks Halloween is a time to keep an extra eye out for sex offenders.

"With sex offenders you need to be super cautious," said Davies.

In Minocqua, there are no laws keeping nonviolent sex offenders from attending youth groups, children's activities and even boy scouts meetings.

"The public thinks sex offenders are a threat to public safety," said Minocqua Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim.

He says sex offenders are always around, but trick or treating can get dangerous.

"They're there and we don't always know they are there," said Hartzheim.

+ Read More

Play Video

KINGSFORD, MI - Fridays in Kingsford, Michigan belong to the Flivver faithful.

"Being a Flivver is a part of our life," Kingsford High School senior Mitchell Wiltzius said.

It's a special name and mascot reserved for just one community.  The name comes from the old Ford plant in Kingsford that once produced station wagons starting in 1931.

+ Read More

LINCOLN COUNTY - A man died after his ATV hit a bear in northwest of Tomahawk.

Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputies tell us it happened just after 7:30 p.m. Thursday night in the Town of Wilson.

A 51 year old man had been headed west on County Road CC, east of Poplar Drive.

+ Read More

MADISON - The Natural Resources Board will consider creating dozens of miles of motor sport trails in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.

The board is scheduled to vote on an amendment to the forest's master plan on Wednesday.

The amendment calls for developing up to 36 miles of off-road motorcycle trails in the forest.

+ Read More

MADISON - Several proposals targeting Alzheimer's Disease and dementia are being circulated in the Wisconsin Legislature, the latest attempt to improve care both for patients and family members.

The bills are the outgrowth of a task force created in 2015 to address Alzheimer's, which is the sixth leading cause of death in Wisconsin.

+ Read More

GREEN BAY - The FBI says two Wisconsin children were among dozens who have been rescued during a nationwide sex trafficking sting.

WLUK-TV reports that police from multiple agencies searched websites and arranged meetings with people who buy or sell sex as part of Operation Cross Country.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here