- Tomahawk's Nick Van Strydonk won the world championship in 2012. He knowscompeting at Eagle River Derby Track is special."You can't put it into words, Van Strydonk said. "It's its own special feeling. We do it for the fans. We're not out here to make money. We're not out here toprove anything to the guys we race against. We're out here for the fans, welike to put on a show and have fun."Lance Rutledge is an amatuer sno cross racer from Rhinelander."The adrenaline rush you get, especially in that last lap, it all comes intoplay," Rutledge adds.
Speed, adversity and triumph, Derby Weekend had it all - including talentedlocal drivers.It wasn't just the guys tearing it up. 17 year old Sabrina Blanchet from Quebecset out to become the first female to qualify for the final race, but she had atough weekend. "It's disappointing but I'm not mad or upset," Blanchet explains. "The teamdoes a lot of work to give me the best machine they can. We'll come back andtry to do it all over again."Another tradition that dates back to the early years is the Derby Queen.Northland Pines hockey star Jessica Roach won that honor for 2014."It's definitely awesome being part of the derby," Roach said. "We're a bighockey town but the Derby is what people look forward to in the winter."The sleds that race out here aren't like anything you'd see on a trail. They'rehand built from the ground up and hits speeds up to 100 miles per hour on the track.In the end, it was Malcolm Chartier winning the granddaddy of them all andbecoming a back to back champ."We did our homework," Chartier said. "We did it last year and tried toreplicate what we did last year and did it again.""To be able to live in a little town like Eagle River and have a businessbecause there's not that much other tourism it's just very gratifying," derbytrack marketing manager Richard Decker points out. "It's a lot of hard work butbelieve me, everything is worth it. We love it."
Story By: Marisa Silvas