CHICAGO – The family of one of the greatest members of the Bears is still finding ways to give back to Chicago.
The latest effort was started by the son of the great Dick Butkus, who is taking an activity he loves to do and using it for good.
Matt Butkus, the president of Team Butkus, is holding a series of pregame Bears’ tailgates for a second season that raises money not only for the organization’s foundation but also for a number of charities in the Chicago area.
In 2023, they’re being held at the Billy Goat Tavern at Navy Pier, including Sunday before the Bears face the Broncos at Soldier Field. The official event takes place from 8:30 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. with fans being invited to stay and watch the game that’s scheduled to kickoff at Noon.
There are a number of tailgates for games scheduled through November, which you can see a list of by clicking here.
Matt Butkus began the tailgate in 2021 at Soldier Field, with the first coming during the rainy season opener against the 49ers on September 11.
“We were already doing these things together. We’re tailgating at Bears’ games anyway. We’re going to concerts and block parties and stuff like that. So I said why don’t we just create this company and try to do it professionally and give back to charity,” said Butkus about the evolution of the tailgates.
Over 150 people showed up to the tailgate that day and a few more were held throughout the 2022 season with the event returning in 2023 at Navy Pier. In the opening week against the Packers, the Team Butkus tailgate had a strong showing with Dick Butkus traveling into town to make an appearance.
“Everything we try to do, we try to be humble and give back,” said Butkus of the Team Butkus philosophy. “On the inscription on the (Butkus Award) trophy, it’s you’re a leader now and you’re recognized as a leader, but second of all, you have to give back. A lot of people need to do it, a lot of people need to do it more.”
The Butkus family continues to do that, from generation to generation.
Larry Hawley spoke with Matt Butkus about the Team Butkus tailgates on WGN News Now, and you can see that in the video above.