Fishing and giving to a good causeSubmitted: 06/25/2016

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BRADLEY - The Wisconsin River Classic was out on Lake Nokomis searching for bass on Saturday.

Each tournament in the classic brings out the same group of guys.

This forms a friendly camaraderie, but there's a little competitive edge.

"You kind of see the same 10 guys in the top 10 every tournament it seems like. You always want to beat that other guy that is usually in the top 10," said fisherman Andy Dassow.

On top of fishing the whole weekend, the fishermen like to give back to those less fortunate.

"Instead of just coming and fishing in a community and then we're gone, we collect non-perishable food from all the anglers that come to the tournament and then we give that to the local food pantry," said tournament director Mike Hofmann.

The fishermen have collected more than 9,000 pounds of food over the last 5 years.

Story By: Katie Leszcynski

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The need for speedSubmitted: 06/25/2016

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CRANDON - Race drivers like to go fast. This weekend at the Crandon Speedway, they will be able to fill that need for speed.

The 23rd annual Brush Run Off-Road Races have officially begun.

The Brush Run attracts fans of all ages to come out and see cars take the dirt turns at 100 miles an hour.
For Crandon native, Keegan Kincaid, he knows exactly why fans come to the track.

"The atmosphere is what people come for. They can camp here from Thursday to Sunday and just hang out and drink, and it's kind of a party," said Kincaid.

A positive to being a local is that Kincaid has the home court advantage which makes the weekend a little easier.

"To be able to go home and sleep in my own bed at night and be able to wake up and come hang out with my friends throughout the day and have them cheer me on is huge," said Kincaid.

Dave Mullins has been announcing at the Crandon Speedway for quite some time and the fun and excitement still gets his blood pumping.

"Being able to watch what these guys can do with these trucks, you're talking 900 plus hourse power, coming into a 90 degree corner at 100 miles an hour, it's pure adrenaline," said Mullins.

With drivers being all ages, sometimes it's hard to be a mom and have three young sons racing. The nerves start to kick in.

"Your heart pounds constantly, worried about them crashing. But yet, excited at the same time. My main wish is that they finish without crashing," said Sue Shulz, mother to three drivers.

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WAUSAU - A Wausau Child Care camp was a stop for the Packers Tailgate Tour, meant plenty of good fun.

The cheers and excitement reminded Jared Abbrederis of his childhood.

"Growing up I was a huge Packer fan and I know the importance of it and that's why I try to do as much as possible," said Abbrederis.

The Packers wide receiver joined a number of fellow players Jayrone Elliot, and Sam Barrington during the team's annual tailgate tour Tuesday. Packers Superbowl Champions LeRoy Butler, Robert Brooks and Sean Jones also joined the crowd at Wausau Child Care.

"It inspires you to know that I can achieve a goal like that if I put my mind to it," said former Packers Wide Receiver Robert Brooks.

Brooks tied the record for the longest catch from the line of scrimmage. It was a 99 yard catch from Brett Favre. But on this statewide tour, he just feels like everyone else.

"I'm a lifelong learner and I'm a lifelong kid," said Brooks.

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- People traveled to the Badger State Games in Wausau on Saturday and Sunday. The games serve as a meeting point for teams to come together and compete.

Baseball and softball tournaments were up for this weekend.

The games are an organized way for travel teams of all ages around the state to come together on the field.

"It's great for not only the fans but the softball players and the teams themselves and the coaches, for people to come out. We've had a beautiful weekend to come out and enjoy softball together and have a lot of fun," said June Bug Softball Classic Director Paul Dykstra.

The tournaments are about improving skills during the off season but they are also a time to get outside and have some fun with teammates.

"I love my team and I love being out here. We're like 15 brothers on the team and we love playing together. We played our hearts out," said Wisconsin Panthers' Noah Berger (15 and under league from Appleton).

Other games such as lacrosse, basketball, and even pickleball will be played as part of the summer long event.

All games are open to the public to attend.

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NEWTON, IOWA - Eagle River's Paige Decker finished 31st in her NASCAR Xfinity Series debut.

She finished 56 laps down.

Her goal was to qualify and finish the race.

Decker raced for Victor Obaika Racing.

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PHELPS - Hillside Resort celebrated its 25th annual Hank Lesniak Valley of the Giants fishing tournament Saturday.

Hank Lesniak was a muskie fisherman from the Northwoods who passed away in the late 1980s.

The tournament is to honor him, and it is held on Father's Day weekend every year to create more bonding time for families.

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CONOVER - Newswach 12 spent part of the day competing on the water.

We were raising money to help fund pediatric brain research.

The Callie Rohr Memorial Media Canoe Race rounded out the day of races Saturday.

"You know, I feel pretty pumped up," said Newswatch 12's Lane Kimble.

Our first canoe included defending team champion Ben Meyer. His partner? Lane Kimble.

"I have every confidence in him," said Meyer.

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NEWTON, IOWA - The Eagle River native Decker Sisters hoped for a successful night in Iowa.

Paige and Claire tried to qualify for the NASCAR Xfinity race.

Unfortunately, Claire Decker didn't qualify for the race.

She had to qualify on time while Paige qualified on Victor Obaika's owner points.

So even though Paige had the slower time, Claire's time was not fast enough to qualify.

But, Claire had another chance to race tonight.

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NEWTON, IOWA - A pair of Eagle River natives became the second set of sisters to ever race in a NASCAR truck series race.

Now Paige and Claire Decker will race this weekend in a higher and more competitive series.  

The sisters have been waiting for another chance to show off their talents.

"Give us some more track time and let us prove it," said Paige.

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GRAND CHUTE - Rib Lake's baseball team played for the Division 4 state championship today.

Things started off well, but Rib Lake couldn't hold on, losing to Ithaca 10-4.

Last season, Rib Lake fell to Ithaca in the semi-state game. This spring, they were ready for their redemption. The Red Men were off to a great start and their bats were hot early. That momentum soon shifted and Ithaca came back.

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MERRILL - The Wisconsin River Rodeo put on a show in Merrill.

Roping steer, wrestling, Bronco Riding, Barrel racing and of course Bull riding were some of the events Sunday in Merrill.

"Gotta keep progressing every year," said bull rider Wade Phelps.

The Wisconsin River Rodeo is a part of the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association. It attracted cowboys and cowgirls from Missouri, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

"These are not amateurs these are people that do this for a living," said Director Pete Annis.

The purse for the 2015 Wisconsin River Rodeo was around 37 thousand dollars. That's about a thousand dollars to each individual winner.

Wade Phelps is a 27-year old cow boy. He's a horseshoer and farrier from Roanoke, Illinois. The Pro Rodeo is his weekend job.

"I love rodeo and anything western, playing cowboy as a kid, grew up riding horses, wanted to get into a rodeo event and that was kind of my best option at the time," said Phelps.

Wade won the Wisconsin River bull riding contest last year.

"It's 90 percent mental, you still got to be in shape, it's an athletes sport. You got to workout, you got to do drills, there's a lot of mechanics to it too," said Phelps.

The mechanics we're on display Sunday. But Wade's most important tool may not have been.

"If you don't have your head right you're not going to stay on," said Phelps.

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