RHINELANDER - Big-name country bands travel to Rhinelander from far away for Hodag Country Fest.
But one local band doesn't have to travel far at all for their Hodag debut.
Take a little punk, some bluegrass, and a whole lot of country and you get the Ditchrunners.
"We like to call it 'Honkey-tonk Guttergrass.' But people say it's kind of punk-countryish, whatever it is. It's our own original thing. We're not trying to be like anybody else we're just doing what we do," says Douglas Bredlau, The Ditchrunners' lead singer.
The Stevens Point band came in first place at one of several Hodag Pick-Off competitions in Wisconsin.
Now they get to play on the main stage of Hodag Country Fest.
"It's a real trip because I know what a big deal it is. I know what a huge event it is in Rhinelander. And I'm going to have a bunch of friends that are going to be there that have been going to Hodag for years, and I'm just really excited to get the chance to play for the hometown crowd," adds Bob Weigandt, The Ditchrunners' mandolin player.
Weigandt grew up in Rhinelander.
Ditchrunner's founder Douglas "Buckshot" Bredlau grew up in Park Falls.
Their debut at Hodag Country Fest will also be a competition.
Bands that won regional Hodag Pick-Offs will compete for the title of Wisconsin State Country Band Champion.
"We are rooted in the tradition of country music and we're kind of trying to bring that back a little bit in the world of pop country I guess," says Bredlau.
When The Ditchrunners perform at Hodag Fest on Friday they'll also pre-release their new full-length album.
"Squirrel Lake up by Minocqua, we spent three days out on an island just recording all day, every day for three straight days," says Alex Dalnodar, The Ditchrunners' guitarist.
It's the band's first album with a record label.
You'll be able to buy it July 16th, the same day they perform at the Rhinelander Ice Arena with Buckcherry.
"It's actually a great family and I love these guys more than anybody. It's been a real good time and it's going to get a lot better. I know that," Bredlau says.
RHINELANDER - You need to really get outside into nature to truly appreciate it. That's what Oneida County hopes you experience walking through its new pollinator garden behind the courthouse, which is close to completion.
Workers from Hanson's Garden Village laid out the key part to getting you into that garden along Baird Avenue on Tuesday. The gravel walkway allows water to drain into the soil, preventing runoff into the street.
A $1,500 Wisconsin Public Service Foundation grant paid for almost all of the walkway, which will lead through the garden to a picnic table. The walkway will be ADA-accessible, which will allow people with wheelchairs, strollers, and walkers to navigate the garden.
SAWYER COUNTY - Authorities have attributed another death in Wisconsin to the storms that caused widespread flooding in the Upper Midwest.
The Sawyer County Sheriff's Office says severe thunderstorms toppled a large oak tree onto a camper on Lake Chetac, killing a man inside and injuring a woman and two young children Sunday.
The man is identified as 55-year-old James Pluff, of Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Sheriff's officials say the woman and children suffered non-life threatening injuries and were taken to a hospital in Rice Lake.
RHINELANDER - It took The Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce just two days to replace its executive director. Lauren Sackett took over the position Monday.Maggie Steffen announced her resignation Saturday after less than two years on the job.
Sackett was the event coordinator at the chamber. She has worked under three different directors since 2014.
PRICE COUNTY - A Price County man won a $90,000 Badger 5 jackpot earlier this month.
The Wisconsin Lottery reports Rudolph Scotch of Catawba successfully chose the winning numbers of 2, 13, 15, 29, and 30 for the June 14 drawing. Scotch bought his winning ticket at Catawba Farm Supply on Highway 8.
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