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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.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/28/2015

- After years of rumbling over potholes, drivers in Rhinelander will soon be able to travel smoothly over Lincoln Street. The city will completely resurface the busiest part of the road starting Monday. We'll have what drivers need to know.

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

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PEARSON - People from Wisconsin camp all the time, but it's not every day a group of British Boy Scouts comes to camp in the Northwoods for a week. 

"As a group, we've never been to the United States of America before, " said Troop Leader Stephen Bell.

Bell can cross that off his list. He's one of 11 British Boy Scouts and leaders staying at Camp Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan this week.

"We were looking for somewhere to extend the stay, so after a Google search, this site appeared to be the best one in the local area, so we headed up here for the rest of our time in the US," said Bell.

The 1st Carlton Colville Air Scouts come from the eastern coast of England in Lowestoft, about three and a half hours from London.

After spending time at the EAA event in Oshkosh, the troop came to Pearson for the week. It cost more than $30,000 and two years to make the trip happen. 

"I'm certainly not disappointed having arrived," said Bell.

Now that they're here, scouts say there are many differences from home. 

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RHINELANDER - A crash sent a driver to the hospital in Rhinelander Tuesday morning.

Police say a man driving a pickup truck ran into a parked car on Evergreen Court around 9 a.m.

The crash threw the parked car into the front yard of a nearby home.  No one else was hurt.

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RHINELANDER - It wouldn't be summer in Rhinelander without watching worms race. The 29th annual worm races were held at the Rhinelander District Library on Tuesday. Children and parents from all around the area came out to participate.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says the bill passed by the Wisconsin State Assembly committing $250 million in taxpayer money toward paying for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena is a "good deal all the way around."

Walker made his comments Tuesday while speaking with reporters in Philadelphia.

Walker says he is ready to sign the bill, which passed on a bipartisan 52-34 vote. There were 35 Republicans and 17 Democrats in support, with 20 Republicans and 14 Democrats against.

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