Plainfield man transforms into the ultimate Bears superfan
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reportersesposito@suntimes.com
Don "Bearman" Wachter of Plainfield watches the Chicago Bears and their opponents warm up before a game at Soldier Field. | Charlie Neibergall~The Associated Press
Don Wachter growls, but he sounds more like a teddy bear than the roaring, blue-and-orange beast he will become Sunday for the Bears’ first playoff game in four years.
That’s understandable. Wachter is speaking on the telephone and he’s not wearing the genuine bear head, the face paint or the fake claws that transform this mild-mannered forester who lives in Plainfield into Don “Bearman” Wachter — instantly recognizable Bears superfan.
Perhaps you remember him in the late 1990s through 2004, charging down Soldier Field carrying an enormous Bears flag. These days — now that the Bears have an official mascot — you’ll find Wachter growling and getting fans riled up in the north end of the stadium.
Wachter, who says he has been a season-ticket holder since 1985, went through the usual fan costumes, including the crazy-colored wigs and Bears helmets. But he wanted to step it up a notch. He picked up the bear head — a black bear head, to be precise — from a Palatine taxidermist in the mid-1990s. He paid about $300 for head and pelt.
“It’s a way of showing my enthusiasm, loyalty and support,” he said. “It portrays the ferociousness of the Bears.”
It takes him about 11/2 hours to put on all of the gear and makeup, although he does most of it during the pre-game tailgate party because he says he’d never be able to squeeze into his automobile otherwise.
Wachter has no doubt the Bears will prevail on Sunday. His prediction: Da Bears 33, Seahawks 10.