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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.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/21/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll tell you about a survey Merrill Area Public Schools are giving residents to get input on how they would feel about a referendum.

We go to Rhinelander retail businesses to see how they're preparing for Black Friday.

And kindergarten teachers in Eagle River received grant funding for Lego sets. Today some of the kids enthusiastically show us their projects.

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

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MERRILL - Merrill Fire Department wants to remind you to stay safe this Thanksgiving.

Deep-frying a turkey is a popular cooking style, but it's also the most dangerous way to prepare your bird.
 
You should never leave the fryer unattended because it only takes seconds to boil over.

Turkey fryer explosions can be massive.

Set up the fryer in an open-air space, away from kids and pets.

"Fire can expand at least two times the size every minute. Leaving for two or three minutes? You're looking at a pretty big fire," firefighter and paramedic Phillip Skoug.

For those deer hunters out there, never place your fryer near your canopy.

You should also never leave food cooking in your kitchen untended either.

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TAYLOR COUNTY - A kindergartener from north central Wisconsin is among the first youngsters to bag a buck under the state's new law that eliminates the state's minimum hunting age.

Six year old Lexie Harris is no stranger to the woods.

Her dad, Tyler Harris, has taken her hunting since she was three.

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MADISON - Election season is starting early in Wisconsin.

Voters will fill three open seats in the Legislature over the next two months. Primaries are set for December 19th with the general elections scheduled for January 16th.

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MADISON - The authors of a Republican bill that would dramatically relax Wisconsin's air pollution rules say the regulations are placing an undue burden on businesses.

Representative Jesse Kremer and Senator Duey Stroebel told the Assembly's Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations during a public hearing Tuesday that the state regulates scores of pollutants that the federal government doesn't and the rules need to be reviewed.

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ST. GERMAIN - After your big Thanksgiving meal later this week, you might be looking for a way to get active.

St. Germain will be hosting its holiday light parade and Jingle Bell 3K Race this Saturday.

People will pull out their lawn chairs and wool blankets to watch floats take over downtown.

The St. Germain A-T-V club will also be collecting food along the parade route for the Vilas County Food Pantry.

"St. Germain has always had the tradition of the town tree lighting and caroling and stuff like that. We just amped it up and taken it one step further. It is really neat to be a part of and kick off the Christmas season," says special events coordinator Judy Jurries.

You can still register for the Jingle Bell 3K Race.



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RHINELANDER - A mound of boxes full of things like canned goods, toiletries, and clothing stunned LeRoy Eades when he walked into Peoples State Bank in Rhinelander on Monday morning.

"It blew my mind out," Eades said, with a smile.

Eades, his wife Shirley, and Cheryl Zastrow came to Anderson Street branch to pick up donations for their Rhinelander Military Support Group.

"I would have to say, it's probably one of our largest [collections ever]," Eades said.

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