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Three Super Fans Make Up 2020 Class who will be Honored in Ford Hall of Fans

Three Super Fans Make Up 2020 Class who will be Honored in Ford Hall of Fans

01/31/2020
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The Ford Hall of Fans exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame will double in size this August during the annual Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls.

Kansas City Chiefs fan Janel Renee Carbajo, Denver Broncos fan Rob Garner and Tampa Bay Buccaneers fanKeith Kunzig all anxiously waited in their Miami hotel rooms this morning to learn if they had been the one selected for entry into the Ford Hall of Fans at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Each was hoping to hear the celebratory knock on their door from Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker signifying their selection into the Ford Hall of Fans. Baker, following in the tradition of notifying the game’s greatest players, coaches and contributors of their election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, delivered the knock to all three super fans – meaning each will join the Ford Hall of Fans display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“This is such a thrill, so exciting,” said Carbajo. “To be inducted into the Ford Hall of Fans would be a thrill any year, but this year in particular, with the Chiefs playing in the Super Bowl, it’s even more special.”

More than 150,000 fans signed up for the program. Carbajo, Garner and Kunzig were named finalists courtesy of over 300,000 online votes. Baker’s knock kicks off a weekend-long celebration for the three honorees, including attending the Merlin Olsen Super Bowl Luncheon, participating in Ford Hall of Fame Chalk Talk with Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Warren Sapp, and culminating with tickets to Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

Carbajo, 58, of Spring Hill, Kansas, is known among Chiefs faithful as “The Puppet Lady.” The assortment of props she brings to every home game at Arrowhead Stadium includes two punching hand puppets, one dressed as a Chief, the other as that week’s opponent. The retired school teacher is a 31-year Chiefs season-ticket holder. When not rooting on the Chiefs, Carbajo sings with her worship team at Grace Community Church, is a member of the Festival Choral Society and volunteers for teamsmile.org, which provides free dental care to underserved children.

Garner, 40, is a firefighter in his hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado. His game-day outfit consists of full firefighter gear, including custom Broncos suspenders and helmet. “Rescue Rob” arrives to every home game driving his Bronco Orange 1976 Ford fire engine, which serves as tailgate central. A 10-year Broncos season-ticket holder, Garner also drives the vehicle to charity events, including fundraisers for Children’s Hospital, Denver Rescue Mission and Ronald McDonald House.

Kunzig, 52, of Largo, Florida, is known among Buccaneers faithful as “Big Nasty.” A season-ticket holder for 30 years, Kunzig brings his character to life with full face paint, patched-out jersey, giant Super Bowl trophy belt and the loudest voice in Raymond James Stadium. He has extended the persona to promote the “Drugs Are Nasty” program, and he hosts the “Nasty for a Day” special tailgate experience at all Bucs home games as a way to raise money in the fight against drug abuse. His “Big Nasty Christmas Party” provides clothes, toys and food for local families in need.  

The Ford Hall of Fans is the automaker’s way of celebrating the passion fans bring to the various worlds of sports. Last year, the company debuted the Ford Hall of Fans at the Pro Football Hall of Fame when Miami Dolphins fan Roger Avila, Pittsburgh Steelers fan Rick Holman and Chicago Bears fan Don Wachter were inducted. In recent years, Ford has also debuted a Ford Hall of Fans for NASCAR enthusiasts and Professional Bull Riders fans.

“Much like Ford is built around the passion of the people who drive our cars, the NFL relies upon the passion of its loyal fans,” said Jim Peters, Ford brand content and alliances marketing manager. “We’re thrilled to have a mechanism like the Ford Hall of Fans exhibit to pay tribute to those fans.”

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