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.
RHINELANDER - After the vendors closed up at the end of the first Hodag Farmers Market of the season, several people stayed behind to honor the man who started the market.
That's Douglas Jacobson, and he died last October.
His son, Jonathan Jacobson, said Douglas Jacobson was a big part of the Rhinelander community‚Ä"serving as Lions Club president, being part of many clubs and being a landscape architect for the U.S. Forest Service.
The Jacobson family and Rhinelander city leaders worked to dedicate a bench in his honor in Pioneer Park. That bench went up on Saturday, just off the road that leads into the park.
"He was a pioneer in helping to establish the Hodag Farmers Market many years ago. And from those humble beginnings, the market vendors, the patrons that arrive here, the citizens of Rhinelander, and those in the community have a wonderful place to come to get fresh, home grown, locally grown vegetables," Jonathan Jacobson said. "It was a great event. It was really nice to have everybody stop out and pay attention to what my dad's been doing and acknowledge all the effort he put into the farmers market for many years. And not only that, dad was a great citizen here in the Rhinelander community."
WAUSAU - In the midst of a national push to prescribe fewer painkillers, a new Wisconsin proposal appeared that would let chiropractors prescribe prescription drugs, including painkillers.
After speaking with one of the bill's authors, that notion is not at all true.
John Murray, the executive director of the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association, which supports the bill, said the bill was never intended to cover narcotics, or any drugs not related to neuro-muscular skeletal healing. The bill is in its early stages, having had a co-sponsor hearing on Tuesday, and future drafts of the bill will feature more specific language.
RHINELANDER - You'll likely find some slow-moving guests on the road this weekend. Turtles start laying their eggs in late May and continue through mid-June. But, because of where they like to lay those eggs, it's a dangerous time for the reptiles.
Wild Instincts Rehab Center in Rhinelander treats at least 30 injured turtles each summer. Painted and snapping turtles are most common in the Northwoods. They tend to lay their eggs along roadsides, driveways, and in places with soft sand.
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