Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

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


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

NORTHWOODS - You might notice young drivers tend to be more distracted than others. A new study from AAA shows that 88 percent of young millennials are risky drivers. Texting while driving, speeding, and red-light running all fall into that category.

Eighteen-year-old Faith Stapleton admits that she isn't the most focused driver.

"I know I've gotten pulled over more times because I've been checking my phone and I wasn't monitoring my speed very well," said Stapleton.

+ Read More

Play Video

NORTHWOODS - Firefighters in Vilas County put out Monday's house fire on Highway 17 without anyone getting hurt. Many have put out more fires than they can count. But all of them experienced a first Monday. The Eagle River Area fire department used a mutual aid system that is just beginning to grow in Vilas County.

"It allows you to focus on the incident as opposed to the resources that you have," said Eagle River Area Fire Chief Michael Anderson.

+ Read More

PLOVER - Police make a second arrest in an armed robbery that happened in Plover over the weekend.

Plover Police say they picked up 20-year-old Andrew Jelinski, who's from Stevens Point, on Monday afternoon.

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Kim Kargus-Myers knew she'd need to do some lifting Tuesday afternoon.  The Lakeland Union Student Council adviser raised a big trophy above her head.

"Very heavy, it's heavier than my children," Kargus-Myers laughed while speaking of the award.  "It felt great, I got my workout in for the day."

Kargus-Meyers stood proud in the LUHS field house, letting hundreds of students know that trophy is theirs.

"It was a special moment," Kargus-Meyers said.

+ Read More

MADISON - Two-term incumbent state Superintendent Tony Evers will face former Beloit superintendent Lowell Holtz in the April 4 election to be the state's top education official, after the two longtime educators advanced in Tuesday's primary.

Former Dodgeville administrator John Humphries, who tried to cast himself as more conservative than Evers but more bipartisan than Holtz, finished a distant third and was eliminated.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - People will use tax preparers and online sites to file their tax returns. 

Here's information that accountants think they should know. 

Matthew Whalen is the Manager of Taxation at Northland CPAs in Rhinelander. 

He often gets calls from clients about messages they received from the IRS.

"They [get] a phone call from the IRS that says they're filing a lawsuit against the client. 

That is entirely false that's just a scam artist trying to get you to wire money to them. 

The IRS and the department of revenue will only send letters," said Whalen.

The IRS and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue only send real paper letter sin the mail. 

They will never call you.

+ Read More

MADISON - The head of the state prison system is assuring lawmakers that Wisconsin's troubled youth prison is safe.

Department of Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher told the Assembly Corrections Committee during an informational hearing on Tuesday that the prison outside Irma is safe and secure and is focused on educating inmates.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here