THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Tales from the old-timer
Tulsa Packer Fans
Old-Timers Column submission courtesy of Old-Timers daughter, Janie Martin of Oklahoma
When my family and I were transferred to the Tulsa, Okla. area 13 years ago, there were many things I quickly started missing besides my family and friends - including good cheese, the Friday night fish fries, and the Packer fans. My husband and I are big Packer fans, and were used to daily news updates on our favorite football team. We loved the Larry McCarren show. Professional football isnt all that popular in Oklahoma. Theres some Dallas fans, and some Chiefs fans, but most focus is on college football.
Imagine our surprise when we discovered there was a Packer fan club in Oklahoma. Not only a fan club, but one with 600 registered members. When we attended our first Packer game watch with the club, held at a local sports bar, we were surprised to find an atmosphere much like that in any Wisconsin bar. There was all sorts of Packer team regalia, Packer jewelry, shoes, and green and gold face paint. The group also sells its own Tulsa Packer Backer t-shirts every year.
Games start with a tail-gate in the parking lot, featuring food, music and banners. They often make food for the club members and accept pay as much as you wish donations to cover the costs. During the game, there are raffles and contests. The truly unique thing about that, is that all of the money they raise is donated in the name of Cheeseheads for Charity to the local Toys for Tots group, and in the last 17 years that charity has received more than $108,000 from the club, enabling them to bring a nicer holiday to many local children. Since Tulsa is a Bible belt city with a dim view of alcohol use, the site of the Packer fans out partying in a parking lot on Sunday probably raises a few eyebrows. But no one can deny the positive impact this group has on one local charity.
Imagine how surprised we were when we found out the founder of this remarkable club was Tim from Marinette! I was not able to confirm his last name before I submitted this, but he has made a home away from home for ex-pats of the state of Wisconsin and those Packer fans who arent from Wisconsin, but just wish they were. My guess would be about a third of the members are Native Wisconsinites like us, about one-third have friends, family or other close ties to Wisconsin, and the other third just love the Packers.
It makes us a little less homesick on game days to know we can go hang around with Tulsa Packer Backers and always enjoy seeing our enthusiastic leader at his best during the games.
Some members of the Tulsa Packer Backer fan club. Exact identity unknown.