Vikings-Packers rivalry divides, unites Eau Claire family

By: Joe Nelson
By: Joe Nelson

EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - Saturday's game divided families in western Wisconsin, as Minnesota Vikings fans across the border trash talked with native Green Bay Packers die hards.

For the third time this season, and for the past 16 years, the Vikings - Packers rivalry has put the Thews of Eau Claire at odds, but also brings them together.

A tradition passed down from his parents, J.R. Thews grew up cheering for the Green and Gold.

But he said when he met his future wife Katie, a life-long Vikings fan, things changed.

"When we were dating, I kind of covertedly went over to the other side as I was wooing her. And then my friends found out, and I am now shamefully known as the 'Packer Viking fan,'" he said.

"I had a (Randy) Moss jersey and everything ... But it got me a wife, so ... " "Once we got the ring and got married, I was back to the Pack.

Back with the Pack, and the stakes so high facing off in the playoffs, J.R. and Katie have kept the rivalry alive but, "friendly."

"We cheer for our teams and keep it moderately civil," J.R. said.

"I get over (a loss) pretty quickly," Katie said.

"I'm the one with the problem with that," J.R. said.

"It makes it more fun. Why marry someone you agree with everything on?" J.R. said.

"The cool thing about football is we can be rivals, but it brings us together too," he said.

Both Thews said they would support the game's winner next week.

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