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Northwoods Spotlight: Record Vintage crowd; 20K expected for DerbySubmitted: 01/16/2013
Story By Joe Dufek

Northwoods Spotlight: Record Vintage crowd; 20K expected for Derby
EAGLE RIVER - Last weekend was the first of two world championship snowmobile races in Eagle River.
Racers took us back in time, hopping on sleds at least a quarter-century old.

The Vintage Snowmobile Championships showed drivers racing on sleds which were made before 1985. Several Northwoods racers took the checkered flag on the final day of action. Including Jeff Stoxen of Rhinelander - winning in the 440 Sport Mod. Racing these old machines is a thrill.

"It's been getting bigger, and bigger," says Jeff Stoxen of Rhinelander - one of the vintage racers. "Everybody is one big family for vintage. Everyone helps everybody out."


A record 7,000 fans watched the Vintage races here at Eagle River Derby Track. Over 20,000 are expected for this weekend's World Championship Derby.

Derby track owner Chuck Decker adds, "the big news is the $60,000 prize to the World Champion this year. Just the one class alone is going to pay out $90,000."

Last year's defending champion Nick Van Strydonk will return to defend his crown. The Tomahawk racer is excited to be racing with the event celebrating it's 50th year.

Several past champions will be honored on Friday night. Time trials get underway Thursday. The World Championship is set for 3pm Sunday afternoon.

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Northwoods Veterans Post marketing Chairperson Tracy Jopek lost her son in 2006 when his truck hit a bomb while he was serving oversees in Iraq.

"I'd like to think if he was the one that came home, that he would have a place to go. It's important to not just talk the talk about supporting the military but to actually do it," said Jopek.

Saturday, Jopek and other organizers broke ground on the Northwoods Veterans Post in Merrill.

"The Northwoods Veterans Post offers a place that we can bring in resources," said Jopek.

Those resources were never offered at the more than 100-year-old Merrill VFW building.

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Maybe not for swimming just yet, but for boating. 

A new Your Boat Club location just opened this season in Minocqua. 

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RHINELANDER - In 2016, 52-year-old Robert Weiss drove from southern Wisconsin to Hazelhurst to meet a 14-year-old girl.

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Weiss met the girl online, and Oneida County District Attorney Mike Schiek argued he knew the girl was underage.

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That theme will carry over to the café's new sign.

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