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World Championship Snowmobile Derby FinaleSubmitted: 01/20/2013
Story By Ryan Abney

World Championship Snowmobile Derby Finale
EAGLE RIVER - 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 fanó-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.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - In June, the Rhinelander City Council approved a fenced-in dog park at Shepard Park. It's something Tina Werres has been working towards for the last 10 years.

On Saturday, about 30 volunteers gathered at Shepard Park to clean up the south end of the park.

The fence is scheduled to be put up in about three weeks so Werres wanted to get the area cleaned up as soon as possible.

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MANITOWISH WATERS - "When you have something like this everybody turns a little bit Irish," said Irish Fest volunteer Ron Troller.

Ye Olde Shillelagh in Manitowish Waters hosted its Second Annual Irish Festival this weekend. The big draw for the volunteers and attendees is the music.

"Who doesn't like professional Irish music," said Troller.

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EAGLE RIVER - A woman went missing last night east of Eagle River, but searchers found her safe early Friday morning.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Department got the report of the missing woman just before 8:00 p.m. Thursday.

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GLEASON - The Third Annual Northern Roundup started Friday in Gleason.

Most of the cars are from the 1950s and 1960s and come in all makes and models. Red Kreyer came all the way from Fennimore in his car. 

"It's a '61 Cadillac Coupe de Ville nicknamed Elvis...[it took] about a two year restoration period," said Kreyer. 

The event is a car show, but the focus isn't on trophies, it's on community.

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TOWN OF CLOVERLAND - Ed Renk hopes to sell his home on a quiet road near Eagle River soon.  But Renk worries his home won't sell as soon as buyers learn who'll be living a few doors down.

"Our feelings are not good about this deal," Renk said.

That "deal" is more of an order. Violent sex offender Steven Burgess, 41, will be placed on Chickaree Lake Road in Cloverland August 1.  It's the second time Burgess will be placed in the exact same home in four years.

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MINOCQUA - "I just find this place so amazing," said actor Noah Venzke, who is in the 7th grade.

The Campanile Summer Children's Theatre Workshop has been running in Minocqua for 10 years now.

"It's a place to meet new friends, and have new experiences, and try new things," said Venzke.

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MINOCQUA - The tennis courts at Lakeland Union High School usually get filled with students. 

If you stop by the courts during the summer, you'll see a different demographic taking over. 

A group of senior citizens dressed in all white play with wooden tennis rackets to mimic a Wimbledon, tennis game. 

Jerry Sikora never played tennis until the day he decided to get a group together back in 1990. 

"It means a lot to a lot of us that don't do activities that much," said Sikora. 

Since getting the group together for the first time Sikora has gotten a lot of practice. 

He also added about 20 older adults to the team.

 The age range of the players is from the 50s to mid-80s.

"The older you get the smarter you get," said 70-year- old Ted Dasler. 

The group said they only get better with time. 

Sikora said the snowbirds get more practice during warm winters in the south.

"They have no mercy on us when they come back," said Sikora. 

Things can get intense on the court at times, but the friendships and entertainment brings everyone back to play. 

The players said the most important thing is to always have fun. 


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