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NEWS STORIES

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


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

VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.

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WAUSAU - The Wausau Police Department will use a "Hero Dog" to help bolster its K9 unit.

The dog's name is Rex, and he isn't Wausau Police Officer Mark Jaeger's first K9 partner.

"My last dog, Pluto, is 12-and-a-half and he just retired," Jaeger said. "When [Pluto] saw me in the uniform getting in the squad and he didn't get to come along, he was not happy."

Rex just recently joined the Wausau Police Department, but his service to his community and his country, goes further back.

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OWEN - A plane crash in central Wisconsin has killed one person and injured two others.

Clark County Sheriff Greg Herrick says the victim was a passenger in a Cessna 182 that was trying to make an emergency landing on a road in the town of Hoard at about 9:15 a.m. Monday.

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VILAS COUNTY - Many snowmobile trails in Eagle River still need more grooming after all three trail groomers went out of service. The trails didn't get groomed for four days last week because all three of the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club's trail groomers need repairs.

The club hasn't had all of their groomers working for a couple of weeks. Sno-Eagles President Ken Storms said the trails took a big hit last week when all three went down. The club says it has made a concerted effort to catch up with trail grooming, and get the trails smoothed out.

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RHINELANDER - A man uses bubbles to entertain kids and parents, but his act Monday night also focused on more than just entertainment.

"My name is Geoff, but most people just call me Bubble Man, Mr. Bubble. One kid called me Bubble-Wan-Kenobi," said bubble artist Geoffrey Akins.

Akins makes a living by blowing bubbles.

"It was nine years ago that I left my job teaching to perform full time," Akins said.

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LAONA - A Northwoods school found a way to teach students skills they'll need after school, and help the community at the same time.

Some Laona High School students helped build a warming shelter at the towns recycling center.

One of Laona's town supervisors brought up the possibility of the building to a school board member.

The school board member felt it was a good way for a small school and town to work together.

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PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.

The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.

"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."

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