Super Bowl Raises Indiana-Illinois Border Tensions In parts of Indiana and Illinois, Chicago Bears fans and Indianapolis Colts fans have to share a border. The conflict has come to the forefront as the teams and their fans prepare for Super Bowl LXI. Michele Norris talks with Eric Turner, of WDAN radio in Danville, Ill., and Ron Shepard, mayor of Clinton, Ind.
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Super Bowl Raises Indiana-Illinois Border Tensions

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Super Bowl Raises Indiana-Illinois Border Tensions

Super Bowl Raises Indiana-Illinois Border Tensions

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Now to another divide, and we're not sure this one can be crossed. It's a split over sports, specifically pro football.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

After yesterday's NFL playoffs, the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts are heading to the Super Bowl. In that stretch between Indianapolis and Chicago, fans could go either way. Big on the Bears, crazy for the Colts.

We found opposing fans on both sides of the border in Vermillion County, Indiana, and Vermilion County, Illinois. Eric Turner is the director of sports programming at WDAN. That's a radio station in Danville, Illinois. And across the border, Ron Shepard is the mayor of Clinton, Indiana, and he owns one of the town's sports bars. Welcome to both of you.

ERIC TURNER: Welcome.

RON SHEPARD: Thank you.

NORRIS: Now, I'm going to begin in Vermilion County, Illinois. That's Vermilion with one L, as I understand. And I'm going to turn to you, Eric. Who officially runs over this territory, the Colts or the Bears, since they could go either way?

TURNER: Well, this is a Bears town. Ironically, I'm a Bears fan. But our station is a Colts affiliate here in Bears country. So we have split allegiances even inside the building.

NORRIS: And onto you, Mr. Shepard. Who officially reigns over this territory?

SHEPARD: Well, you know, the Colts do, but you'll see a mixture of both. There are - even in our bar last night, we were packed with Bears fans. Their hope was that the Super Bowl would be the Colts and the Bears.

NORRIS: Now, Eric, you said that WDAN is actually a Colts affiliate. Are you taking a day off on Super Bowl Sunday or are you actually going to show up for work?

TURNER: Well, I've been trying to work a Super Bowl appearance in through our station manager. I don't think that that's going to happen -

NORRIS: Oh, you want him to send you to the Super Bowl so you can root for the opposing team? That probably didn't fly.

TURNER: I don't know if that's going to work. I think he'd be on the plane before I would. But, you know, we're going to take the day off. Everyone around here in the Midwest is going to be watching this game. And I think one thing about Midwestern fans is that they're very passionate. They're also very intelligent. There's going to be split allegiances wherever you go. It should be a great time.

NORRIS: Now, I imagine with the two teams being fairly close together that there are probably more than a few mixed marriages.

TURNER: I don't think you'll see anybody walking down the street with a Colts jersey on and a Bears hat, but you will see families that are mangled together that have different uniforms on.

NORRIS: Eric Turner, Ron Shepard, thanks to both of you. May the best team win, whatever that means.

SHEPARD: Hey, I appreciate it. We're very excited.

NORRIS: I bet you are.

TURNER: What about? You're gonna lose.

NORRIS: That's Ron Shepard, mayor of Clinton, Indiana, and Eric Turner, the director of sports programming at radio station WDAN in Danville, Illinois.

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