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NEWS STORIES

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

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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.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
Northwoods Children's Museum hosts turkeys for educationSubmitted: 11/28/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - People who head to the Northwoods Children's Museum will get a special surprise.

The museum in Eagle River is hosting a couple of live turkeys this month.

Workers say the live animals help children understand exactly where their Thanksgiving meals come from.

The program has been running for about 10 years.

Turkey and Tradition draws a lot of people to Eagle River every November.

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Black Friday Shopping in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 11/28/2014

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RHINELANDER - Many people woke up early and headed to the store for Black Friday.

It is considered one of the biggest shopping days of the year because it can mark the start of the holiday shopping season.

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Holiday Model Train Show Opens in MinocquaSubmitted: 11/28/2014

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MINOCQUA - If Black Friday and the snow didn't get you into the Christmas spirit just yet, a local train display could help.

The Northwoods Model Railroad Club opened Santa's Village Friday.

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Local author writes book after 11 years of researchSubmitted: 11/28/2014

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PRESQUE ISLE - You can learn a lot about your family history after 11 years of research.

Presque Isle's Richard Fields now knows five generations of his family name, and 1200 people related to him.

He started his research in 2003. Fields finished this year.

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Wisconsin's wolf hunt may soon come to an endSubmitted: 11/28/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin's wolf hunt may soon come to an end.

Hunters are four wolves shy of Wisconsin's statewide kill limit, throwing the prospect of using dogs in this year's hunt into doubt.

State tallies show hunters had taken 146 wolves as of Thursday, just short of the 150 wolf limit.

The 2012 Republican law that created Wisconsin's wolf hunt allows hunters to use dogs to trail wolves beginning the first day after the end of the nine-day gun deer season.

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Funeral set for 3 children who died in U.P. crashSubmitted: 11/28/2014

DAGGETT, MI - A funeral has been scheduled for the three children killed in a weather-related crash in the Upper Peninsula.

TV station WBUP-WBKP reports (http://bit.ly/1vpSGy8 ) the funeral for Michael, Maxwell and Joelle McCue is set for Sunday at the Carney Free Church in the Menominee County community of Carney. The children ages 11 to 14 died Monday after their van smashed into a semi-truck on snowy U.S. 41 near Daggett.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/28/2014

- People in the Northwoods didn't let the chillier temperatures stop them from heading out for Black Friday this morning.

- Kids in Eagle River got a special treat at the Northwoods Children's Museum. The museum brought in two live turkeys for their annual Turkey and Traditions event. Every November, two turkeys are brought in to help teach kids about where their Thanksgiving meal comes from. Hear about the importance of the program coming up on Newswatch 12 tonight.

- If you're not in the Christmas spirit yet, a local model train show can help transport you to Santa's Village.

- And homemade pizzas turn into more than sauce and dough at one Eagle River household. We'll meet Gary Anderson tonight on Newswatch 12 and tell you how his pizza making turned into a fundraising tool to help people in the Northwoods.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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