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Little break for Wright in looking ahead to next campaignSubmitted: 09/20/2013
Little break for Wright in looking ahead to next campaign
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

WAUSAU - Mandy Wright went from middle school teacher to state representative less than a year ago.

But like many elected officials, the Wausau Democrat had to start thinking about her next election almost immediately.

It's part of what can seem like a never-ending cycle for lawmakers.

That's especially true for state representatives.

Their terms last just two years.

Wright will be up for reelection again in November 2014.

Last year, she beat Republican nominee and conservative talk show host Pat Snyder by fewer than 1,000 votes.

Wright expects another tough fight to keep her 85th Assembly District seat.

"I haven't heard yet about a candidate that's running against me, but I would be very surprised if the Republican Party does not work very hard to recruit a good candidate that they think can win in my district," she said.

Wright and Snyder's race was one of the three most expensive Assembly races in the state last year.

She might be gearing up for another expensive fight.

Wright already has raised $21,000 this year for her reelection.

That's far ahead of many others in the legislature.

For example, in our area, Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) raised about $5,000.

Rep. Mary Czaja (R-Tomahawk) raised just $41.

Rep. Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) hasn't reached $600 yet.

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You might think of snowmobile racing as a sport for adults, but people of all ages are competing. Kids as young as four years old came out Friday to ride their tiny sleds through the finish line. 

On Sunday, all eyes will be on the riders lining up for the world snowmobile championship race. But before those riders came into the spotlight they started as kids. 

"My first race was when I was five," said Maverick Woyke. 

At just 12 years old, Woyke has been racing for seven years. 

"We went and watched a race and he had so much fun watching he decided he wanted to start racing," said Maverick's dad Jesse Woyke. 

Maverick traveled to with his dad from Buffalo, Minnesota to race this weekend in Eagle River. He's no stranger to traveling for the sport. 

"We've been Jackson, Wyoming, Winter Park, Colorado, Deadwood, Duluth, Shakopee in Minnesota, we kind of go all over," said Jesse. 

Maverick isn't the only veteran in the field, many of the young riders have been riding almost as soon as they could walk. 

"I've done this race as long as I can remember. Probably since I was four or five," said 11-year-old Tyler Poker. 

It's a tradition to come to Eagle River at this time of year, and for a lot of these kids, it's a family tradition.

"We were eating dinner and Dad asked me if I wanted to come race, and I said yeah, and then this happened," said 11-year-old Reece Bollmann. 

They travel from all over Wisconsin and the Midwest to have fun, but also to compete. 

"I've been to this race four times now and I've won it the last three times so I'm hoping for a fourth," said 14-year-old Kyle Thome. 

It's a unique sport, and it brings something different than football or baseball. 

"[My favorite part about racing is] the jumps because it's so much air and it's just a blast," said Bollmann.
 
But of course the best part?

"Well, getting off of school," said Poker. 

Many of the kids will spend the weekend watching other riders after they finish their races. And the ultimate goal is to be right there on that Sunday championship starting lineā€¦one day. 
 
"If we could get there that'd be awesome," said Thome. 

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Snowmobile racer Jordan Grabowski stopped by the Eagle River Elementary School to talk to some kindergarteners about snowmobile safety.

"It's kind of a dying out sport and I want to keep it going. [I] try to get them to realize that it's not okay to ride without a helmet on and our safety gear on and that it is dangerous if you do ride it without because you could get hurt," said Grabowski.

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The heating system is old enough that consistency is nearly impossible, and fixes are tough.

"We can't get parts [anymore] for a lot of the heating systems," said Principal Dave Scholz.

Underneath the school on Thursday, he pointed to the support structure.

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Klein had his own law practice and was the local bar President for Price County before becoming a judge.
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