Football fans in Northern Nevada are understandably excited about the success of Colin Kaepernick and are claiming the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback as their own especially this week with the Super Bowl fast approaching.
The former Nevada Wolf Pack player, after all, spent five very important years of his football life (2006-10) in Reno as he became one of the greatest quarterbacks in NCAA history, let alone Nevada history. When nobody else wanted him coming out of high school, it was Nevada and coach Chris Ault that welcomed Kaepernick with open arms and helped turn him into a Super Bowl quarterback.
But there’s really only one place that can truthfully claim Kaepernick as its own. And that’s tiny Turlock, Calif., where he grew up and went to high school at Pittman High.
‘That will always be home for me,” Kaepernick said recently.
Turlock has definitely embraced the Kaepernick Craziness.
A bakery in Turlock, near Pittman High, is selling Kap Cakes, a red velvet cupcake with Kaepernick’s No. 7 on top. Another bakery in Modesto is selling cookies that look like Kaepernick’s 49ers jersey.
A restaurant in downtown Turlock is selling the Kaepernick special, a foot-long hot dog covered in chili, cole slaw and jalapeno peppers. A pizza parlor in Turlock is selling a Kaepernick pizza that has his 49ers’ number (7) in red peppers, outlined by yellow peppers.
A bar in Merced, Calif., is offering the “Pink Drank,” in honor of Kaepenick that consists of raspberry vodka, raspberry lemonade, blackberries and mint.
This is all in honor of a quarterback that, according to Scott Ostler of sfgate.com, “lived in gummi bears and McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets” in high school.
Local newspapers are publishing photos of Kaepernick wearing No. 23 and pitching for Pittman High as well as of his pet dog Sookie and 100-pound tortoise. There’s also a photo of the football Kaepernick signed in 2004 when he helped Pittman win the Harvest Bowl.
“It’s a little surreal when you turn on Sports Center and every other commentary is about Colin,” Amy Curd, Kaepernick’s math teacher at Pittman, told the Modesto Bee.
The central valley businesses aren’t just catching Kaepernick fever for their own profit.
Westside Ministries in Turlock is selling red t-shirts and hoodies with the words “KAPTOWN #7 and 209ERS (209 is Turlock’s area code) on the front in gold. Proceeds from the t-shirts and sweatshirts will go toward helping low income kids play youth football. And part of the proceeds from the Pink Drank will go to Camp Taylor, a charity that the Kaepernick family is close to that helps kids with heart problems.
“Colin is a great role model,” Westside Ministries director JoLynn DiGrazia told the Modesto Bee.
“We’re all proud of Colin around here,” said Modesto grocery store manager Oscar Avila to the Modesto Bee.
The pride pretty much covers all of northern California and northern Nevada.