Wisconsin Rapids man in the running for 2010 Packers Fan HoF - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin Rapids man in the running for 2010 Packers Fan Hall of Fame

By Katie Rosenberg - bio | email | Twitter 

WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW)--Many Wisconsinites probably consider themselves Packer Backers; those tried and true fans of the Green and Gold. But there are only a few who belong in the "Green Bay Packers Fan Hall of Fame" and a Wisconsin Rapids man could be one of them.

Gene Noonan has been a Packer fan all of his life. "Every kid in Eastern Wisconsin, I grew up in Kaukauna, dreamed of being a Packer player," Noonan said as he reflected on his last several decades of being a Packer fan.

In 1945, not yet teenagers, Noonan and his brother hitchhiked 20 miles from Kaukauna to Green Bay to see their first game. "The third car picked us up, we were hitchhiking, I was 11 and he was 12."

They heard a rumor, that just a quarter could get you into the game. "If you had 25 cents these guys would throw you over the wall at Green Bay East, they had a wooden wall." When they got to Green Bay they found out the rumor was true. A couple of big guys stood by the fence, collecting change for a boost over. "So he said, what we're going to go is we're going to do, is we're going to throw you over the fence. And when you land on the other side, you get up and you run as fast as you can because the guys they have trying to catch you are real slow. If they don't catch you in the first 3 strides, you're in."

From then on Noonan and his brother secretly hitched rides to Green Bay each time the Packers played, taking that 25 cents as their admission. "In those days, there were literally hundreds of kids in the end zone that somewhere or another got over that fence. "

Now 76, Noonan is in the running for the Green Bay Packer Fan Hall of Fame.

He's one of 10 finalists who will be whittled down to two winners in a contest put on by the Green Bay Packers.

Noonan thinks it's a unique opportunity for the average person. "We all had that same dream/I think I'm just an average guy."

Winners will get their names up on the Fan Hall of Fame wall at Lambeau Field. If you want to help Noonan you can cast your vote online or by mail. Click here for more information on how to cast your ballot.

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