Fort Worth

The winning drive: 3 Cowboys fans relish 1,350-mile trip to Green Bay

Three local Dallas Cowboys fans will be in the stands at Lambeau Field in Green Bay for Sunday's game against the Packers. From left are Bobby Harris, Ronald Bell and Anthony Pontremoli.
Three local Dallas Cowboys fans will be in the stands at Lambeau Field in Green Bay for Sunday's game against the Packers. From left are Bobby Harris, Ronald Bell and Anthony Pontremoli. Star-Telegram

When the Dallas Cowboys walk onto Lambeau Field on Sunday, the stadium will be an ocean of green and gold, with most of the roughly 81,000 people in attendance wearing the Green Bay Packers’ colors.

But if those watching the game look closely, they might spot three guys wearing dark blue Cowboys jerseys in Section 107, Row 1, along a corner of the north end zone. It’s usually a popular spot for Packers fans, where players take a “Lambeau leap” into the stands after scoring a touchdown.

Ronald T. Bell, Anthony Pontremoli and Bobby Harris bought tickets for $860 each on a secondary market and left Friday on a roughly 1,350-mile drive to Green Bay that will include a few side stops.

“Lambeau is on our bucket list, so here we go,” said Bell, a Brock resident who owns Bell’s Natural Stone, an architectural and landscaping material company along the Interstate 20 frontage road in Willow Park, west of Fort Worth.

Pontremoli, who lives in Weatherford, and Harris, of Granbury, also work at Bell’s Natural Stone.

On Friday, the trio stopped to visit the famous Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The men also took a quick tour of a brewery, sampling pale ales and India pale ales.

Pontremoli said he and Harris enjoy beer more than Bell does.

“He wanted to do a margarita tour,” Pontremoli said Saturday during a phone call from the road. “He’s more of a fruity-drink guy.”

Bell responded: “It’s true. … I think it takes more of a man to roll into a party with a fruity drink than with a beer.”

Later Saturday, the men planned to tour the University of Notre Dame’s famed football stadium in South Bend, Ind., then drive to Chicago for pizza before heading to Wisconsin. They planned to stay in a hotel around Milwaukee, then get up before dawn Sunday for the nearly two-hour drive to Green Bay.

Kickoff for the NFC playoff game is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.

On the way home, they plan to visit the Field of Dreams cornfield/baseball park in Dyersville, Iowa, which was made famous by the 1989 movie of the same name.

It promises to be an ultimate sports road trip — one that would be enhanced by a Cowboys victory.

Hot tickets

The men are also getting a rare chance to watch their favorite team play in a setting widely considered a football shrine. Every Packers game at Lambeau Field has sold out since 1960, according to the team’s archives, and there’s reportedly a 30-year waiting list for season tickets.

But many season ticket holders are willing to sell seats at certain games for a tidy profit, ostensibly to cover their costs for the rest of the games, said Barry Griffith, vice president of operations at Star Sports Tours, a North Texas company that helps Cowboys fans arrange travel to away games.

“We did have three calls this morning from Green Bay. There are people wanting to sell their tickets,” Griffith said.

Griffith said he expected to make arrangements for about 50 people to attend the game for $650 to $1,525 each. The exact price depends on factors such as the size of each party and the type of hotel. (There aren’t many hotel choices in Green Bay, whose population is about 120,000.)

Prices include game tickets, one or two hotel nights, breakfast, a meet-and-greet with an unspecified player and a pregame tailgate party at Packers legend Brett Favre’s restaurant — but not the cost of traveling to and from Green Bay.

Griffith said most people fly to Chicago or Milwaukee and rent a car to get to Green Bay.

Unlike college football, in which schools commonly allot thousands of tickets to fans of visiting teams, professional football has no such requirement. The teams do provide enough tickets for visiting players and coaches to accommodate relatives who wish to see the game, Packers team spokesman Aaron Popkey said.

Most Cowboys fans at Sunday’s game likely bought their tickets on the secondary market. Bell, Pontremoli and Harris got theirs at Ticket Exchange, a company that partners with the National Football League to match up buyers and sellers.

Another service, Stubhub.com, still had about 1,700 Cowboys-Packers tickets for sale Thursday, priced at $140 to $2,182.

“The number can vary from game to game,” said Popkey, who added that the Packers also released 300 standing-room-only seats in a new pavilion over the south end zone.

“We’re fortunate to have an iconic stadium that is on many sports fans’ bucket lists, if you will. Every game, we see a number of fans of the visiting team. And by and large, via letters to the editor in the local paper or word-of-mouth, we find that they really enjoyed their experience, from tailgating to the politeness of fans and the experience of the stadium.”

Don’t mess with4-foot Romo

Bell, Pontremoli and Harris may test that Upper Midwest politeness. They’re taking along a 4-foot poster of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and intend to hang it from the railing of their front-row seats in the north end zone if the stadium authorities let them.

The weather will be frigid: Forecasts call for a high of 20 in Green Bay, which was home to the coldest game in NFL history: the Ice Bowl. On Dec. 31, 1967, the Cowboys and Packers played for the NFL championship in subzero temperatures. Green Bay won on a late touchdown, 21-17.

Now, 47 years later, the three North Texans hope the Cowboys will score a touchdown, see the Romo poster and jump into the stands. Only a few players on visiting teams have tried the “Lambeau leap,” and they’ve usually been pushed away or soaked with beer.

Harris said he hopes Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant attempts a leap after performing his signature X-shaped salute with both arms.

“Dez can throw up the X and come up, and we’ll catch him,” Harris said.

The group isn’t worried that Packers fans might try to rip down the Romo poster.

“They’re going to have a fight on their hands,” Harris said, laughing.

Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796

Twitter: @gdickson

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