Jeff Kahlow felt he couldn't just ask Simone Biles for an autograph. It had to be a "gift for a gift."
The 62-year-old Fond du Lac man heard from a Lambeau Field security person that the internationally famous gymnast — and wife of Green Bay Packers safety Jonathan Owens — wanted to meet Kahlow, better-known to regulars at Lambeau Field as Frozen Tundra Man.
Naturally, Kahlow was excited about the prospect, taking the opportunity to get an autograph for two young gymnasts for whom Kahlow's wife sometimes babysits. But he didn't want to ask for something and not provide anything in return, so he created a custom foam GOAT hat for Biles — a riff on the modern acronym that Biles is the "greatest of all time."
An incredible surprise for Simone Biles from this Packers fan! ❤️🐐 pic.twitter.com/upUJgE6jDW
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) December 4, 2023
Captured by NBC's "Sunday Night Football" cameras and posted to social media, the interaction left Kahlow fielding a flood of texts and emails the day after the Packers stunned the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.
Kahlow, who also produced a hat for Owens that featured his likeness and Packers jersey, has been crafting unique headwear for a litany of celebrities since he began the practice 28 years ago. He said his "Big Guy Hats" company has made custom offerings for Ted Nugent, Tiger Woods, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Gene Simmons, Harrison Ford, George W. Bush and Packers players like Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
"My mom was an artist; she painted, and I took art in high school but didn't go to college or anything like that," Kahlow said. "I had a knack for carving foam; it probably helped that I worked in upholstery for 32 years and dealt with foam. So I learned how to carve it and create it, airbrush, paint it. My tools are real simple: Scissors and razor knife."
It's easy for Kahlow to say. But he spends considerable time putting those foam-carving skills to use for Packers home games, where he's had season tickets since 2001. He glues foam icicles to his face and throws in a costume and a rotating assortment of head gear. He's possibly one of the most photographed images at games as fans approach him for pictures.
"I change (the head gear) up all the time; there are 11 or 12 different winter ones that I wear," he said. "My trademark one is the stadium, the one that looks like a Lambeau Field on my head. They all have LED (lights), which works out well for night games."
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Frozen Tundra Man and his special hat for Simone Biles have a story