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Bart Starr and a Legendary Tradition

donate to a legendary tradition


This Rawhide legend begins with a call.

Days after capturing the NFL Championship, Packers legend Bart Starr received a call. A man introduced himself as John Gillespie and shared his dream, a modest home for troubled boys in New London, WI, called Rawhide. Without thinking twice, Bart asked John to join him for dinner at his home in Green Bay so they could discuss further.

“Do you want to come to Green Bay right now?” Starr said.

In the early days of Rawhide, Bart brought a great deal of attention to the organization. He championed its mission, inspiring business leaders and fellow players to chip in. Eighteen of Bart’s Packers teammates and nearly 100 Fox Valley business leaders came together at a luncheon on December 16, 1966 to secure the 700-acre campus Rawhide remains on today.

The list of Packers legends who attended the fundraiser is a Who’s Who of gridiron giants:

Fuzzy Thurston | Elijah Pitts | Bob Long | Ken Bowman | Carroll Dale | Jerry Kramer |  Hank Jordan | Jim Taylor

Bart again pledged his support two years later. At the time, Bart only made $10,000 a year playing football; however, by capturing the MVP of Super Bowl II, Bart won a brand new, candy red Corvette.

“Bart never had an agent, not in 16 years, and he never had any money either,” Cherry said.

Though driving a family station wagon at the time, Bart Starr and his wife Cherry donated the Super Bowl MVP Corvette. They held a public raffle, selling tickets for $1, with all proceeds benefiting Rawhide. With a population of just 47,000, Green Bay helped raise $40,000 in three days. Bart’s generosity allowed Rawhide to serve more youth and planted the roots for a legendary tradition of giving.

Bart and Cherry fondly tell that story, not asking for praise, but rejoicing in the incredible joy it brought them.

“The Gillespies actually gave us the best gift of our marriage,” Cherry said. “We’re so thankful they asked us to help.”

Bart and Cherry remain dedicated to Rawhide as wonderful role models for hundreds of boys. They have donated countless hours sharing the Rawhide story, helping raise funds and visiting with the boys.

Follow our rawhideMVP and join a legendary tradition of serving Wisconsin’s at risk youth and their families. They need your support.

“I’m thrilled and honored to have been a member of the Green Bay Packers,” Bart Starr says from his office in Birmingham, Ala., “but on another plateau is the Rawhide Boys Ranch because of what it has meant … to so many youngsters who need this type of facility to change, grow, mature and expand their lives.”