The seventh Packers Tailgate Tour concluded on a high note Saturday night at a very successful tailgate party to benefit the Door County Habitat for Humanity. More than 600 people attended the event at beautiful Sunset Park on the shores of Sturgeon Bay.
The arrival was parade-style, complete with a police escort, as the players sat up on the rear seats of convertibles (a Tour first) and made their way through downtown Sturgeon Bay from the Maritime Museum.
Before they boarded the cars, Jordy Nelson demonstrated to the other players how to wave.
“Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist,” he said as he deftly moved his arm.
A lively Q-and-A session covering a whole host of topics delighted the crowd.
Marco Rivera performed one more Samba dance in conjunction with a question about Donald Driver.
Larry McCarren’s pinkie finger again was a topic on at least one person’s mind. The questioner wanted to know who broke it.
“If I had a big scar on my face, would you make fun of that, too?” McCarren asked back to the laughter of the crowd.
Players also discussed the hardest hits they received; Nelson’s was from Chicago’s Lance Briggs.
One Rivera admirer told the former guard that he looked young enough to still be playing. Rivera answered that while he may look well, he’s all broken down inside. But, he was very thankful that he got 11 good years in. He also revealed a secret about how he maintains his youthful look.
“I use moisturizer,” he said.
Elsewhere in the park, young attendees took advantage of another Tailgate Tour first: a petting zoo.
All in all, it was good night for the Habitat.
Started in 1993, the Door County Habitat for Humanity was formed to give a “hand up,” not a hand out to their partner families. Homes are sold to families who must make a down payment, work 200 hours of “sweat equity” for each adult in the family, make mortgage payments and pay taxes as any homeowner would. A total of 33 new homes have been built in Door County since its start, with roughly 2.5 homes built each year. More information can be found online at www.doorhabitat.com.
On the bus ride back to Green Bay, the crew reflected on this year’s tour, an approximately 800-mile trek that traveled through Omro, Tomah, La Crosse, West Salem, Oconomowoc, Madison, West Allis, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Grafton, Cedarburg, Algoma and Sturgeon Bay.
Henderson: “It was a great time. Really fantastic and definitely memorable. I had a chance to hang with old compadres and form some new friendships. I liked interacting with recipient charities; it was good knowing the support they would be getting.”
McCarren: “It is such a unique event. I can’t imagine any other team doing it this way, getting the reception it gets, and raising the money it does. It is one of the many unique aspects of Packers. Try as you may, you can’t duplicate it.”
Charlie Peprah: “I enjoyed seeing parts of Wisconsin that I don’t normally get to see. The soldiers were a memorable visit for me. The players on the trip were a great group of guys. We got along really well and jelled well.”
Mason Crosby: “Being able to reach out and see kids is something we’re not able to do all the time, so that was fun for me.”
Rivera: “I liked touching the fans the way we did. And they touched us, too. On the other players on the trip…hey, we survived. Actually, I was glad to be a part of the trip.”
Nelson: “I enjoyed all the stops, but the soldiers – past and present – were a highlight for me. The relationships I was able to build on with my teammates was great. And the opportunity to bond with guys from the past was cool, too.”
Rivera and Henderson weren’t able to determine who had the larger belly circumference at the end of the week without a tape measure. Henderson pointed out that Rivera seemed to eat more food all week, but Rivera said that didn’t matter.
“I just process my food differently,” Rivera said in a matter-of-fact manner.
Everyone else laughed and shook their heads.
Click here to see photos from the final stop on the tour.
Tags: door county, packers tailgate tour, parade, sturgeon bay
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Tailgate Tour