- A lot has changed since the first World Championship Snowmobile Derby kicked off in 1964. One thing that's always been constant is plenty of fan support.
To say this race is important to the Northwoods...could be the understatement of the century or half century, as it's celebrating its 50th anniversary. And another understatement--it was cold. But that didn't stop fans from bringing the energy.
"It's just adrenaline rushing, it's just exciting to see them go around that track at over 90-miles an hour. See them go over that table top." Proclaimed derby enthusiast, Nicole Musial.
“My favorite part is the snow cross but I love the ice oval too." Said Rhinelander’s Max Beck.
This race is action-packed. That's a reason it's been around for half a century. So in all that time, there's got to be plenty of memories to go around.
"Probably my first in 1978. I wanted to come a few years before that. But once I turned eighteen-- that's when I started coming." Said Bill Dickmann--who made Sunday his 26th straight derby.
Jeff Fechter and Anita Nygren story is unique. Their love for the derby brought them together.
“(Anita) Yep, we met here. “(Jeff) We just met at a bar. (Anita) I didn't even know his name for a few years. He got ahold of me, found out I was single and we've been going ever since.”
Jennifer Kennedy isn’t just a fan—-her favorite memory was a royal honor.
“I was derby queen in 2009. That was a pretty neat experience.”
Nicole Musial was mentioned before. It’s obvious that she digs derby tradition.
“I love the sound and the smell of the snowmobiles. That's my all-time favorite sound and smell. Snowmobile exhaust. Best moment ever!"
With all the derby pride here in Eagle River, most had no problem explaining why it'll be around for years to come.
“In any kind of racing sport that sticks around for that many years, there's a lot of tradition behind it. You look at businesses--how many (businesses) stick around for 50-years?” Said Vintage Snowmobile racer ,Chris Krzewnia.
Written By: Ryan Abney