Grafton provides electric welcome

Posted by Aaron Popkey on May 18, 2012 – 10:19 pm

The gym at Grafton High School was an electric venue Friday night for the fourth party of the Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour.

Nearly 900 fans were on hand to welcome the players and Mark Murphy for the event to benefit Portal Inc., an organization dedicated to advancing employment and meaningful community life opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

During the stage portion of the program attendees learned more about Jordy Nelson’s farming background, specifically that his least favorite chore: working the ground.

“It was just boring, more than anything,” he said.

In addition to the Q-and-A and autograph session, fans had the opportunity to play games with members of the Grafton High School football team.

On the ride back to the historic and quaint Washington House Inn in Cedarburg after the party, tension again surfaced between Marco Rivera and Larry McCarren. Apparently Rivera had been teasing McCarren as more fans in the autograph line had been telling McCarren about how much they liked his voice on the radio broadcasts.

“I kept saying, ‘Oooh, Larry, your voice is so soothing,’” Rivera said. “I was working him all night telling him how much the older ladies loved him.”

McCarren threatened Rivera by saying, ““I’ll slap you around and make you cry in front of your friends.”

The rest of the Tour members on the bus howled in laughter.

Aside from the mock threats, the crew is getting along famously thus far through four days of the Tour.

The final day of the Tailgate Tour is on tap for Saturday, with a party in Sturgeon Bay to support Habitat for Humanity. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the party at Sunset Park.

Click here to view photos of the Grafton High School tailgate party.

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Recess is my favorite class

Posted by Aaron Popkey on May 18, 2012 – 1:49 pm

The Tour is taking some down time after back-to-back school stops in the Milwaukee area, the first at Riverside University High School and then at Indian Hill Elementary.

At Riverside, the players spoke to 450 freshman students about making good decisions and how to benefit one’s community by lifting up individuals as opposed to tearing it down by bullying.

At Indian Hill, the players helped serve lunch and also played with the young students at recess. Swings, soccer and jump rope provided much needed exercise for the guys.

“That was a blast,” said Mason Crosby. “We’ve been on the bus and inside buildings for much of the trip, so to be outside and see the energy of the kids was fun.

“They had some good little athletes out there. They were like piranha the way they surrounded you. There’re pretty small too, so I had to make sure I didn’t elbow them or step on them.”

Was he nervous serving lunch?

“Each tray has a certain compartment for each food, so I was trying to get it right for the kids because they were so serious coming through the line,” he said. “Once a piece of steak was in the wrong one…it threw me off. I had never served lunch before, so that was fun.”

After a nice lunch at the Vintage Café in Cedarburg, the crew will rest up for tonight’s party at Grafton High School to benefit Portal, Inc.

Click here to see photos from the tour’s visit to Indian Hill.

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Day 4 starts at Franks Diner

Posted by Aaron Popkey on May 18, 2012 – 9:40 am

Franks Diner

Day 4 of the Packers Tailgate Tour is off to a great start after a hearty breakfast at Kenosha’s landmark Franks Diner.

The crew enjoyed a variety of delicious meals, with several of the guys ordering the signature dish known as The Garbage Plate. A normally boisterous bunch, the players were relatively quiet during their meal as they focused on the food.

Afterward, as the players were selecting some Franks Diner t-shirts to purchase as souvenirs, Jordy Nelson demonstrated why he’s not necessarily a morning person.

“What color are those blue t-shirts?” he asked.

Click here for photos of the stop at Franks Diner.

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Kenosha party serves kids

Posted by Aaron Popkey on May 18, 2012 – 9:13 am

William Henderson talks to kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha

The wonderful Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha served as host for the week’s third tailgate party. The facility, which is just under a year old, entertained more than 800 people.

Prior to the start of the program, the players had the opportunity to participate in football drills with young members of the club on the indoor athletic field. The players played catch with Jordy Nelson and Charlie Peprah, and learned the finer points of offensive line play from Packers Hall of Fame center Larry McCarren.

William Henderson, after leading a group of kids through pushups, spoke to entire gathering about developing healthy habits like the NFL’s Play 60 program.

The evening’s Q-and-A featured a question to Mark Murphy about playing in the famous Packers-Redskins Monday Night scoring barrage. McCarren, who was on the opposite side of the field from Murphy’s Redskins, happily took the microphone.

“Well, since you brought it up,” McCarren began as he shared some memories of the 48-47 Packers victory.

“It was not a good night to be a defensive back,” Murphy added.

Overall, fans enjoyed the give and take from the stage and appreciated the Packers’ visit to this city just north of the Illinois border.

“There are a lot of Bears fans here in Kenosha, so having the Packers here certainly helps us keep things proper,” said Ron Stevens, the club’s associate director of marketing and resource development.

Helping the cause were Jean and Bob Costello, who made a two-hour drive from Crown Point, Ind., for the party. The couple takes in multiple games each year, joined Henderson on a Packers cruise this year, and will attend their first shareholder meeting in July.

“The chance to see the guys is why we came,” Jean said. “It’s fun to see them away from the game. They’re really fun.”

After the party, the bus ride back to the hotel featured some razzing among the players.

All the players gave Henderson a hard time about his multiple hugs to fans coming through the line, including the Costellos.

“Do you know everyone?” asked Marco Rivera.

Rivera gave McCarren a few shots about some women who had come through the autograph line. They are avid listeners to Packers radio broadcasts and told McCarren how much they loved his voice.

“OK, OK, Marco,” McCarren said as the others joined in the laughter.

The laughs continued at McCarren’s expense as the crew got off the bus at the hotel. The reason: He had forgotten to take his jersey off. “Everyone knows who you are Larry, you can take your jersey off,” quipped Murphy.

Click here to view photos from the Kenosha tailgate party.

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