No Cowboys, no Texans in Super Bowl, but . . . Packers, Steelers have fans here
Even though the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans aren’t playing in the Super Bowl this year, plenty of Port Aransas folks still are excited about the big game, especially our visiting friends from up above the Mason-Dixon line.
With the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers set to clash on Sunday, Feb. 6, it’s going to be a Super Bowl with nothing but northern-state teams, and that’s got a lot of Winter Texans in Port Aransas pumped up.
“It’s going to be pretty intense for me,” said Cliff Schneider, a Packers fan who spends the warmer part of each year at his home in Muscoda, Wis., but is wintering in Port Aransas.
“During all of the play-off games, I’ve stayed home, alone, so no one would hear me yelling when things were good and swearing and throwing things when things went bad,” Schneider said.
It’s easy to find Packers fans in Port Aransas, because this town tends to attract a good number of Wisconsin residents each winter. It’s not so easy to find Pennsylvania residents, but there are Steeler fans out there, if you look around.
Buddy Pierce never has lived in Pennsylvania, but he’s a Steelers fan. A New Mexico resident who currently is wintering in Port Aransas, he said a friend got him interested in the Steelers many years ago, and he gradually became a fan.
“It’s the Steelers’ work ethic that I liked, the way those guys went to work every day,” Pierce said. “You never heard them gripe. They just went out and played hard-nose football.”
Pierce is staying in a 40-foot fifth-wheel RV at Pioneer Beach Resort, where plans are being made for a big Super Bowl party in the RV park’s cavernous recreation hall. But he isn’t so sure he’s going to watch the game in the rec hall.
“There probably will be a lot of Packer fans there,” Pierce said. “So, I’ll probably be on my patio, drinking a cold beer and watching it on my TV.”
Another Winter Texan Steelers fan is Mary Beamer, of Mullica Hill, N.J., which is about 20 miles from the Pennsylvania border.
“I just like Big Ben,” Beamer said, referring to the Steelers’ towering quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. “He’s just thrilling to watch. He gets in there and does his job. And I hear he does a lot of charity work, which I like.”
Winter Texan Fern Minter, from Ruidoso, N.M., became a Steelers fan years ago because her sonin law is from Pittsburgh and long has loved the Steelers. She said she’s looking forward to the big game, which she thinks will be a tough contest.
“I’ll tell you, it’s going to be a dandy,” Minter said. “But I think maybe the Steelers have enough to pull it off.”
Ed Schulz is one big Packer fan. He and his wife, Mary, have lived in Port Aransas for a little more than two years now, but he was born in Wisconsin and lived there until he was 39 years old. He’s been a Packers fan his whole life.
How big of a Packers fan is Schulz? Well, in addition to having a Packers jersey and a wooden lawn decoration painted up like a Packers player, he also owns a football autographed by the entire Packers team a few years ago. His daughter bought the ball for him at a silent auction.
There’s more. In 1997, Schulz bought from the Packers organization a box containing actual dirt and grass from Lambeau Field, the stadium where the Packers play. He still has it to this day. He keeps it in the RV where he lives in Port Aransas.
Another strong Packers fan here in Port Aransas is 60-year-old Laurie (short for Laurence) Pitts, who grew up in Green Bay. He lived in Green Bay until just four years ago, when he began living in his RV and traveling in it, full-time. He is spending the winter in Port Aransas.
“I can remember as a toddler, really going to my first game (in Green Bay). … It was before 1957,” Pitts said.
Today, Pitts can be seen wearing a leather Packers jacket and tooling around Port Aransas on his Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster. He said he’s amped about the Super Bowl.
“We knew we had a good team,” Pitts said. “Our worst loss of the season was only by four points, and with the injuries we had, it took a while for the team to jell. But by the last five or six games, we were almost unstoppable. It’s pretty exciting.”