GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

One last tailgate party with the ‘Big G’

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)- If you’ve been going to Lambeau Field for awhile, you may remember the ‘Big G’ Packer-themed RV which became an iconic part of the game day experience. 

The owner, Stephen Gay, passed away in 2018 after a courageous battle with Leukemia.

“It made him so happy to make other people happy and anybody who met Stephen remembered Stephen,” says his wife Jessica Gering Gay.

The ‘Big G’ is a 1966 Dodge Travco. Stephen chose this model as a nod to the Packers Super Bowl victory in 1966 and to Ray Nitschke who wore No. 66 and was his favorite player. Gay has been coming to Lambeau in the ‘Big G’ since 1994.

When Stephen tailgated at the Packers game, he never made it about himself.

“He was so welcoming even to opposing fans,” says Gering Gay.

‘Every single day for him was to do something for somebody else,” says his parents Barbara and Ron Gay.

“His smile was killer, and he could just draw people in with his laugh,” says Stephen’s lifelong friend Lori Crooks.

For 25 years, Stephen and his ‘Big G’ RV never missed a Packers home game. When he went to tailgates, everybody was welcome to enjoy some food and a drink with him. He also would set up a big-screen television outside the RV so that people could experience a Packers game in Titletown even if they couldn’t afford to go the actual game.

Stephen and the ‘Big G’ didn’t just hang out at Lambeau. He traveled all over the country to watch the Packers play. Visitors to the ‘Big G’ tailgate parties included Milwaukee Brewers player Ryan Braun, Mason Crosby’s family, and Dave Hatchcock.

“After he passed away, a few nurses that had taken care of him came to his funeral and came up to me and said he always had a smile on his face and that he was the best patient they ever had,” says Gering Gay.

On the Packers Sunday matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the ‘Big G’ returned to Lambeau for one final tailgate. Friends and families flipping a burger, enjoying a beer, and sharing a story or two in memory of Stephen Gay.

He lived the life he should have lived and he wouldn’t trade it,” says Stephen’s parents.

“He will continue to live through the ‘Big G’ and everybody who cherished him,” says Crooks.

Jessica also says she turned the tailgate into a fundraiser for leukemia and lymphoma research and that she was able to raise over $1,000.

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