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Tuesday

September 2014

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Sussex 'house divided' grows a bit closer after special visit from Packer

Gilbert Brown visits the home of Bears-Packers fans

A Sussex "house divided" became a little more united when a former Green Bay Packer stopped by.

Gilbert Brown played nose tackle for the Packers from 1992 to 2002 and on Sunday was a special guest at the Vogt home during a so-called "Divided House Packer-Bear Party."

Sunday's kick-off at Soldier Field began at noon but by 10 a.m. Brown, his wife and his agent were at the "divided home" of Sherri (Ellefson) and her husband, Brian Vogt with about 50 friends, relatives and neighbors joining them. The reason the house is "divided" is because Sherri is a Bears fan while Brian is a Packer backer.

Sherri graduated from Hamilton High School in 1986, just after the Chicago Bears had their great run at a Super Bowl ring. She grew up in Sussex and somehow was contaminated with the Bear fever and still has it in her terminal state.

Her father was Bob Ellefson who spent 20 years on the Sussex Fire Department attaining the rank of lieutenant before he moved to Phoenix, Ariz. He and his wife, Judy, actually flew back to the area to attend their daughter's big divided house party.

Speaking of Packers-Bear lore, in 2006 Sherri was watching the season-opening Bears-Packers game and she met Brian. They had a friendly spat as Sherri's Bears won the encounter.

Sherri and Brian's marriage did not stop the rivalry as each one has a shrine of their collectables in their shared basement "man cave." The Bears are on one wall and the Packers on the other.

There were also Bears-Packers days where one could see huge, inflatable figures on the front lawn. And the Vogts began hosting parties in 2009 with about 24 people joining them, but they quickly grew to 40 in 2010 and were up to 50 in 2011. Despite Sherri being part of the host couple the predominant music was a continued "The Bears Still Suck" year in and year out. The food became more creative to even include a miniature Lambeau appetizer stadium. The costumes for the party became outlandish as the yearly parties escalated, according to Sherri. However, there was a big add-on this year as all 6-feet, 3-inches, 350-pounds of Brown stopped by the Vogts' home.

Brown made his rounds at the party enjoying appetizers, slapping backs and signing some Packers memorabilia. A good time was had by all. Brown also patronized nearby business, Rumors Sports Bar and Grill during his Sussex visit on Sunday.

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