WAUTOMA, Wis. (WFRV) – Wautoma High School is known for producing former Green Bay Packers player Jared Abbederis, but it is also home to a man who’s been moving the chains for more than 30 years.
His name is Jim Bielmeier, and you’ll find him every home game on the sidelines with the chain gang. It keeps him young at 85.
“Like Bob Uecker said right in the front row,” Bielmeier told Local 5 News. “I have to be right where the action is.”
Jim has lived in Wautoma his entire life. He played football here and probably would have tried to play in college had it not been for his time in the Navy between 1958 and 1962.
“Looking back now, I would have liked to try college and play,” Jim acknowledged. “But back then, sometimes the finances weren’t there, and so you went into the service or got drafted.”
After service, he raised a family in Wautoma. His sons played sports at the high school just like he did, and his wife was a teacher.
When he retired from Rockwell in Oshkosh, the chain gang sounded like a great idea to stay in the game.
“I still like to be around the kids. I like high school football.”
The principal says his reliability is greatly appreciated, along with his skill.
“I asked him have you ever been hit, and he said no,” recalled principal Jennifer Johnson. “In 30 years, he’s never been taken out. So he must be a pretty agile guy.”
From his unique vantage point, Jim has observed fewer kids going out for football. But he is positive that more will come to see how important it is to be part of something bigger than yourself. Something for the community.
“It’s a team sport,” Jim reiterated. “Everybody’s got to work together, and when the teams do, they win.”
Some x’s and o’s in the game of life from a man who’s provided a link in the chain that strengthens community.
“Think positive,” said Jim. “I don’t like thinking negatively about anything!”