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updated: 1/20/2011 7:53 AM

Packer fan recalls rivalry prank

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  • Few understand the Bears-Packers rivalry like John Cochara of Spring Grove. As a former bar manager for KC's Cabin in the town near the Wisconsin border, Cochara was duct-taped to a stop sign, above right, after the Packers beat the Bears 15 years ago.

      Few understand the Bears-Packers rivalry like John Cochara of Spring Grove. As a former bar manager for KC's Cabin in the town near the Wisconsin border, Cochara was duct-taped to a stop sign, above right, after the Packers beat the Bears 15 years ago.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • John Cochara of Spring Grove was duct-taped to a stop sign by unhappy Bear fans after the Packers beat the Bears 15 years ago.

      John Cochara of Spring Grove was duct-taped to a stop sign by unhappy Bear fans after the Packers beat the Bears 15 years ago.
    Submitted photo

  • Video: Packers fan in Spring Grove

 
 

Few people really understand the intensity of the Bears-Packers rivalry like die-hard Green Bay fan John Cochara.

Cochara made news 15 years ago when pranksters duct-taped him to a stop sign outside a bar near the Wisconsin border after a Bears loss.

"I was surrounded by Bears fans, and they were all messing with me during the game," he said. "I was giving it right back to them. I couldn't help it, the Packers bring out the worst in me."

Cochara, who was the manager of KC's Cabin in Spring Grove in 1995, admitted the pranksters were his friends. Throughout the game, they were playing jokes on him. He was duct-taped to a bar stool and handcuffed and tossed in the back of a pickup truck in mid-20-degree weather, he said.

But the Spring Grove resident said he had the last laugh when the Packers beat the Bears 35-28.

"The Packers were up by a touchdown and the Bears were driving, but the Packers intercepted the Bears with less than 2 minutes left, and I went crazy," he said. "That's when I really started to gloat."

He put $5 in the jukebox and played "We are the Champions" by Queen -- enough for 20 plays.

"After the fourth time through the song, the Bears fans said if they heard the song one more time, they wouldn't be responsible for their actions," Cochara said. "Of course, it came on again."

When it played for the fifth time, 10 patrons grabbed Cochara from behind the bar, dragged him outside and across the street and taped him to the sign, he said.

After he was secured, they taped a Bears hat on his head and affixed a sign that read "Packers fan" to the stop sign, he said.

"Cars drove by and honked at me and laughed," Cochara said, smiling at the memory. "Even a cop from the (Illinois Department of Natural Resources) drove by, stopped, and said he would cut me down if I was a Bears fan."

About an hour later, a Spring Grove police officer drove by and freed him.

"The Spring Grove cop asked me if I wanted to press charges, but there was no way I would have," he said. "They were friends, and it was partially my fault. I mean, I played the song over and over."

Word got out about the prank and Cochara was besieged by newspaper, radio and TV reporters.

"I was even mentioned in Sports Illustrated," he said. "It was all over Illinois and Wisconsin. It really got out of hand."

KC's Cabin -- now under new ownership -- made and sold T-shirts featuring a picture of Cochara taped to the stop sign. He still has one of those shirts and wears it proudly.

"It was all in good fun," he said. "I just hope that it doesn't happen again this Sunday."

But it might, Cochara admits, because he plans to root loudly for the Packers when they face the Bears in Chicago for the NFC Championship game. He'll be watching at a Lake County bar, but he wouldn't say which one.

"Even though this isn't the Super Bowl, this is like the Super Bowl of Super Bowls for me," he said. "Bears and Packers playing for the NFC Championship? This is as big as it gets."

"If the Packers wind up winning, I might be tied to a train or something, I don't know," he said. "I'm prepared for the worst, though. Who knows, there may be another story on Monday."

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