Nearly 1,000 festive fans turned out for the first tailgate party at La Crosse’s Oktoberfest Festgrounds.
Fun was had for fans of all ages as the event’s younger attendees enjoyed an archery range, inflatables, face painting and music.
During the event’s question-and-answer session, Mason Crosby got the crowd going with an enthusiastic answer.
Question: “How did the victory in Super Bowl XLV change you?”
Crosby said, “It makes me want to win more!”
The event benefited Children of the Heart, a group of family and friends of people with Down syndrome. More information on the organization can be found online at www.dscoth.org.
According to the organization’s president, Angie Dummer, the event’s impact will go beyond the fiscal support.
“This will help us get our name more recognized in the community,” she said. “We have a walk in October that should be even more successful with this event.”
For Marco Rivera, the party it was an enjoyable end to his first day on the tour.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “Seeing the expressions on all the faces is great. It’s what Packers football is all about. It’s about the fans.
“The visit to the VA was awesome, too. The Vietnam Vet gave me his beret…what an honor that was. No matter what happens the next five days, that was the icing on the cake.”
Another first-time tour member, Crosby, enjoyed his initial experience as well.
“It was a great day, especially the surprise visit at the high school,” he said. “The VA visit was special, too. Many of them fought for our freedom for so long. It was an honor to meet them.”
Day 2 awaits.
Click here to see photos from the La Crosse tailgate party.
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After a tasty lunch at Burnstad’s European Restaurant in Tomah, the Tailgate Tour made a stop at the Tomah VA Medical Center
The facility, situated on 170 acres, serves veterans in Western and Central Wisconsin. Currently about 240 veterans are being treated. The players met veterans who served in a variety of capacities, spanning from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The players addressed a large group of veterans and staff in the commons, pausing to visit with many veterans individually and pose for pictures and sign autographs.
After the group setting, the players had the opportunity to visit a handful of veterans in hospice care who weren’t able to leave their rooms.
One veteran immediately picked up his phone after the chat with the players to excitedly call his sister to share the story.
“This visit will be spoken of for the next two or three months,” said Laura Bishop, volunteer manager with the facility. “It’s so nice to see these vets light up for this. For their families, too, it’s great to have them see their family member enjoy a moment like this.”
For William Henderson, the visit had deep meaning.
“I at one time thought my route may go through the military,” he said in explaining one of his college options if he had not played football. “It means so much for me to be able to thank them for their service. I could have been serving with them.”
Click here to see photos from the tour’s stop at the Tomah VA Medical Center.
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The Packers Tailgate Tour is on the road after its first surprise stop at Omro High School. More than 1,200 students, faculty and staff were on hand to hear from the guys. As the players donned their jerseys, Mark Murphy asked Larry McCarren if he could remember the last time he wore a jersey.
“I can’t remember it’s been so long,” McCarren said after some thought.
Outside the school, Charlie Peprah asked ninth grader Jason Will why he wasn’t in class. Jason provided a hall pass and explained he was on his way to a driver’s license exam.
“Good luck,” Charlie said.
“Parallel parking is the hardest,” Mark Murphy added.
“No texting and keep your eyes on the road,” William Henderson advised.
Principal Brett Steffen greeted the crew and after saying hello to each tour member, he circled back to Larry McCarren and grabbed his famous pinkie, the one with the unnatural angle after being broken during his playing days.
“I’ve got to see your finger,” he exclaimed. “My wife has one just like it.”
Sure enough, his wife, Heather, showed her pinkie to McCarren.
“Well, you do have a start of one,” McCarren confirmed.
Players spoke to the school assembly about the importance of teamwork and the evils of bullying.
A question-and-answer period followed, and Jordy Nelson was challenged to a footrace against senior Amanda Obot, the class’ valedictorian. The six-time state medalist (sprint events) gave Nelson a good race in her bare feet across the gymnasium floor. The race was too close to call.
Marco Rivera was asked about former teammate Donald Driver’s dancing exploits.
Rivera gave a detailed account of last night’s semifinals of Dancing With The Stars, and predicted that Driver would come out on top.
After Rivera commented about Driver’s ability to move his hips, a student asked Marco for his version of the Samba. Rivera complied…and looked pretty smooth for a big man.
The bus continued west toward tonight’s destination: La Crosse.
Click here to see photos from the Omro High School tour stop.
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The ‘Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour’ departed Tuesday morning from Lambeau Field. The tour, a five-day journey across Wisconsin, features Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy, wide receiver Jordy Nelson, kicker Mason Crosby and safety Charlie Peprah, along with former Packers Marco Rivera, William Henderson, and Larry McCarren.
The first stop on the tour is a surprise visit.
For more information on the ‘Tailgate Tour,’ click here.
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The third of QB Aaron Rodgers’ promotional TV spots for the Milwaukee Brewers has been released. It’s entitled, “Bad Reception.”
In this one, Rodgers is on the mound — as he has been in all of them so far — and gets a cell-phone call from a voice familiar to Packers fans, but Rodgers isn’t particularly interested in talking to him.
You can watch the latest spot on brewers.com.
Rodgers filmed all the spots in Arizona during spring training. More ads are coming as the season progresses. We’ll see which one ends up being the best.
Tags: aaron rodgers, milwaukee brewers
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