Jim Wagner and his family are set for their first weekend at Lambeau Field. In fact, he’s already taken in his first training camp practice, Friday afternoon at Ray Nitschke Field.
“This is awesome,” he said from the bleachers, seated with his wife, Debby, and daughter and son-in-law, Tanza and Mark Goodman.
The group’s opportunity to make their first trek to the venerable Packers’ home comes courtesy of Wagner’s draft-weekend prognostication skills, and good fortune.
The Mifflintown, Pa., resident bested more than 2,600 fans and correctly picked the NFL’s top five picks, plus the Packers’ No. 1 selection, Bryan Bulaga, in the Packers’ Draft Challenge, an online draft pick contest held during the draft in April. Among his winnings were four tickets to Packers Family Night, Presented by Bellin Health.
“I was on the website before the draft and thought that would be fun,” Wagner recalled. “I gave it a shot and was fortunate enough to get the right picks. I actually follow a lot of college and pro football, so I have to have my football fix in the spring. I did some research and read about the Packers’ needs.
“I was hoping Bulaga would fall. I think he’s a good pick, and a good fit for the team.”
A Packers fan since the mid-1960s, Wagner remembers the Ice Bowl as a young fan, particularly quarterback Bart Starr’s winning sneak. He became a follower that day.
Fast forward 40-plus years and Wagner is now ready for the green-and-gold experience in person.
“Now I get the opportunity,” he said. “You have to be able to experience Lambeau Field and the whole Packers experience. When we were coming down Lombardi today and saw Lambeau, it sent chills down my spine.”
After spending Friday morning in the Atrium, taking in the Hall of Fame and the Pro Shop, the group attended practice and is gearing up for Friday night’s Packers Partners Club of Champions annual party. And then Saturday night’s main event.
Has the experience whetted his appetite to come back, perhaps for a regular-season game?
“Definitely,” he responded with enthusiasm.
In addition to the four tickets to Family Night, Wagner also received a Packers prize bucket, autographed items from Greg Jennings and B.J. Raji, a one-year Championship Membership to the Packers Partner Club of Champions Packers Fan Club, a one-night hotel stay and gift cards.