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Warm temperatures did not harm snowmobile derby track conditionsSubmitted: 01/22/2017
EAGLE RIVER - Sunday afternoon, the World Championship Snowmobile Derby wrapped up in Eagle River. This years race was held during an unexpected warm weather spurt which left some drivers wondering about track conditions.

Drivers have been out on the track since Thursday evening. That means that by the championship race Sunday afternoon, wear and tear on the ice could've been an issue. But that wasn't the case.

"We're really excited because these track conditions are about as good as they could be. At the start of the week, we were a little bit worried if we would have enough ice to make it through to the end, and obviously we're going to have way more than enough," said track owner, Chuck Decker.

One of the positives to the warm weather was the number of spectators that came to support the racers.

"The spectators on Friday night was a near-record crowd. Saturday was a near-record crowd. I think today's going to be a near-record crowd as well. It's nice out, warm out, and people are staying outside and enjoying it," said Decker.

One driver that was really loving the track conditions was the 2017 World Champion Nick Van Strydonk.




Story By: Katie Leszcynski

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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WAUSAU - Every five years, Americans and Scottish curling clubs travel to compete in a country wide tour. This year, the Royal Caledonian Scottish Curling Club was back in Wausau for the first time in quite a while.

It's actually been 40 years since the Scottish  competed in North-Central Wisconsin.

"Last time they were here in 1977, we were curling in the barn over at Marathon park so quite different," said Wausau Curling's Steve O'Keefe.

The big trip took an entire year to plan. The Wausau club was excited to finally see the team arrive on Saturday.

"It's such a big deal that most of us were getting goosebumps when we heard the bus was about to pull up," said O'Keefe.

Wausau was just one of 29 stops the Scottish team will make throughout the states. And an interesting fact, curling was actually started in Scotland. For one of their curlers, Bill Arnot, he was born into the sport.

"In those days, a lot of farmers curled. My father curled, my grandfather. My father took me along to the curling rink just to watch him one night and I just got hooked. That was 40 years ago and I still love it," said Arnot.

The Scottish Curling Club decided to come back to Wausau to see the new facility. The friendly competition also added to the excitement.

"Until you actually come, you don't appreciate just how good it is. The fun, the hospitality, the comradery, the facilities you have here in the states are second to none. This facility here is just fantastic," said Arnot.

The points from each stop will be tallied at the last competition in Boston. That's where the Herries Maxwell Trophy will be given to the overall winners.

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NORTHWOODS - Rhinelander hosted Lakeland for a basketball double header as each team picked up a win. The T-Birds came out victorious on the girls side while the Hodags got the win on the boys side.

Mosinee picked up a boys win as well by topping Tomahawk.

Plus Florence defeated Crandon in the Northern Lakes conference.

We also take a look at how UW-Stevens Point men's hockey fared in its matchup against Eau Claire.

Check out all those highlights plus area scores and more tonight on Friday Night Blitz!

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MINOCQUA - In the Northwoods, high school sports teams occasionally  join together to make sure they can form a full team. This season, Tomahawk girls hockey has co-op'd with the Lakeland Union team.

The decision was made because of low numbers on the Tomahawk team.

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NORTHWOODS - Northland Pines boys hockey rolled to another victory while Medford topped Lakeland in a shootout.

Plus we take a look at the Great Northern Conference standings. Check it out!

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WABENO - A lot has changed since the last time the Laona/Wabeno boys basketball team lost a conference game.

Their last loss came in February 2014. That was before Aaron Rodgers won his second MVP trophy. Melvin Gordon was still a Wisconsin Badger. Rickie Weeks still played for the Brewers.

"They've all bought into the program, which has led to the success of our program," said head coach Mike Chrisman.

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EAGLE RIVER - More than 700 racers entered in this year's Vintage Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River.

Just 10 got the chance to ride in the Vintage World Championship race.

One of them was Rhinelander's own Justin Ernst.

"It's taken a lot of people to get me here, and I don't know, it's kind of a surreal moment.," said Ernst.

Ernst was the only Northwoods racer in the top ten, and he said he could feel the local support throughout the weekend.

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ST. GERMAIN - You won't find a Tough Mudder or a Spartan Race up here in the Northwoods, but you don't really need those when you have the Arctic Warrior.

That's exactly what Little St. Germain Lake offered Saturday.

"We thought 'there aren't many obstacle courses in the winter, so let's do that'," said St. Germain Chamber Event Coordinator Judy Jurries.

The first ever Arctic Warrior hosted nearly 100 competitors for an 8K snowshoe race and an 8K obstacle course race.


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NORTHWOODS - Rhinelander defeated Merrill in boys basketball.

Northland Pines ran all over Tomahawk on the girls side while Lakeland stayed undefeated and topped Medford.

Northland Pines girls hockey also won as the Eagles defeated Waupaca 6-3.

Check out all the highlights and more on Friday Night Blitz!


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ANTIGO - One of the walls at Antigo's "Remington Pool" displays a school record board, where Colin Koss's name is shown not once, not twice, but eight times.

Colin didn't come back to Antigo's meet against Lakeland on Thursday to celebrate his records.
Instead he was there to celebrate his mom.

"I was glad I was wearing goggles, I was a little teary-eyed just because it was a special moment," said Koss.

Colin's mom Michelle was killed in a bicycle accident last March.

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LAMBEAU FIELD - The Packers franchise has thousands of dedicated fans. And when the temperatures drop, you see just how loyal they really are.

"It is actually pretty warm compared to every other game I've been to," said dedicated fan, Ashley Dean.

Fans visiting from different parts of the country got a rude awakening when they saw how cold it would be on Sunday.

"Seeing the numbers versus actually being here, no, we had no idea," said Robert Alford from Las Vegas.

Going to a game in the frozen tundra means you have to be prepared with a few layers.

"I have some under armor leggings and then some Nike cold gear running pants, and then these. And then on top, i have 4 layers underneath the coat," said Alford.

But some opt to leave those layers at home.

"You have more shirtless people for colder games, obviously," said Dean.

Regardless of your wardrobe, it was flat out cold in Green Bay for the Giants game. You have to get creative to stay comfortable.

"You have to be really loud, you have to be interacting with the crowd. You can't just sit there and be cold, you have to do things to make you warmer," said Dean.

No matter what they do to stay warm, fans still knew just how lucky they were to be at historic Lambeau Field for the playoffs.

"It's going to be indescribable; I'm completely excited for it," said Alford.

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