'Packer Guy' Kuhar wants your vote
JANESVILLE Janesville’s “Packer Guy” needs your vote.
Joe Kuhar has from now through Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5, to gather more votes than nine other nominees to become the 14th member of the Green Bay Packers Fan Hall of Fame.
Voters can cast one vote per day throughout the election period.
“I need votes,” said the 73-year-old Kuhar, a retired Janesville policeman who turned his basement into a Packer-backer, memorabilia-filled man cave. “I’m fortunate to be one of the 10 nominees.’’
As of Monday evening, Kuhar was in fourth place with 1,739 votes. Rick Steele of Greenburg, Pa., was the leader with 2,956 votes, and Rick Wiltzius of Wausau was in second place with 2,906 votes.
In addition to a plaque in the Packers Hall of Fame, the winner receives a trip for two to a 2012 away game, four club seats to a 2012 regular-season home game, a $500 Green Bay Packers Pro Shop gift certificate, and a one-year subscription to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Packer Plus and its online Packer Insider.
Kuhar has donated newspaper articles to the Packer Hall of Fame, and a 1996 Janesville Gazette story on his Packer collection is mounted in a display there.
“I said I was going to have a Super Bowl party, and Reggie White was going to be there,” Kuhar said. “Of course, Reggie White was a cardboard cutout.’’
Despite his Packer Hall connections, Kuhar doesn’t believe he has an inside track to winning the election.
“I doubt they know I’ve been in there,” said Kuhar, who has attended 130 Packer games.
Kuhar’s five daughters made several attempts in the past to get their father a Hall nomination.
“We wrote several times,” said daughter Kim Marnocha of Seymour. “It’s been a combined effort.’’
This year, daughter LaRae Kuhar of Janesville wrote the nomination letter that hit home with the Packers.
LaRae used a concise approach.
“I could have gone on and on,” LaRae said, “but I wanted to keep it short and sweet.’’
LaRae wrote about her father’s dedication to anything Packers and his relative fame in Janesville.
“He has turned his basement into what our family likes to call ‘The Shrine.’’’ LaRae wrote. “He enjoys showing all of his memorabilia to anyone interested.
“Often, people from town recognize him as ‘The Packer Guy’ that they have seen more than once in our local newspaper, sharing stories of his collection. He has over 5,000 pictures of more than 700 different Packers from the 1920s to present years.”
“I thought it was going be hard to write, but once I got going it was easy,” LaRae said.
After Kuhar was told he won a nomination, his family went to work on his campaign.
“Facebook is huge,” LaRae said. “All the nieces and nephews are all over it.’’
LaRae has placed fliers around town, and Kim—because she lives southwest of Green Bay—has circulated fliers at Lambeau Field.
“I made a lot of fliers and took some to Lambeau,” Kim said. “My dad has an interview with the local (Seymour) newspaper.’’
LaRae said the family is fine with their father’s fervor.
“We all kind of think it’s great,” LaRae said. “It’s gives him something, and it pleases him.’’
Kuhar said his passion for the Packers is a healthy pastime.
“This is really been a spare-time part of my life,” Kuhar said. “If I can get in the Packer Hall of Fame, that’s great.’’