Packers Tailgate Tour ticks me off


Packers fans across the southern reaches of the state of Wisconsin and even those in Dubuque, Iowa, will get the chance to catch up with the Packers Tailgate Tour starting May 14.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In 10 days, the Green Bay Packers will once again host one of their most unique events, the Tailate Tour, which reaches out to fans across the state of Wisconsin – this year reaching as far as into the state of Iowa. Packers president Mark Murphy gathers together representatives of the team, in addition to some past and present players, to make stops in towns and meet with their fans.

Here’s what Murphy had to say about the tour on this week:

"There are two reasons we conduct the Tour. First, we want to thank our fans for their great support. Every team in the League talks about how great their fans are, but as we travel across the state (and Iowa) and see our fans, I realize how strong the bond is between our fans and the team. The other reason for the Tour is to raise money for a charity in each of the five towns where we stop. Over the previous seven years of the Tour, we’ve raised over $800,000."

The Tailgate Tour Bus. photograph

That’s a fantastic gesture by the franchise owned by the fans.

And it ticks me off …


Well, it’s quite simple. I live in northern Wisconsin – that outpost of trees, lakes and snow – and for the past two years the tour has ignored all of northern Wisconsin and its legion of fans, myself included. Ok, so the team bus did hit the Northwoods in early 2011, but not since.

Whether you live in Hayward, Glenwood City, Medford, Ashland, Rhinelander or Arbor Vitae, you’ve been out of luck. There’s been no scheduled ride of the tour bus to these regions for quite some time.

In fact, if you live north of Highway 29, forget it. You may never see the bus – ever again – especially if the plans are to reach out to fans in other states. Heck, they may even make plans to head into those bastions of evil – Illinois and Minnesota – before touching the ground that is known as the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

A Tailgate Tour stop in La Crosse. photograph

Yes, we have roads here … and yes we have Packers fans here. In fact, we greatly outnumber those dastardly Vikings, Bears and Lions fans. We cheer as loudly on Sundays as the best of them and follow the team as closely both during the season and the offseason.

So, not to make bad light of all those fans who live in Oshkosh, Beloit, Tomah, Wisconsin Rapids, and even Dubuque, Iowa – they deserve every chance to visit with their heroes as we in northern Wisconsin. We don’t begrudge their opportunity at all. We just hope that we, too, get the chance someday. We hope that Mark Murphy will turn his eyes northward for once and point the bus in our direction.

Wherever they stop, we would be there to meet them and cheer them.

Yes, we hope folks in the southern reaches of our great state enjoy their time with Murphy, Alex Green, Jarrett Bush, and Randall Cobb. Get an autograph for us here in the hinterlands.

We’ll be thinking of you and hoping for the same opportunities some time in the future.