Horse soccer? It's real.Submitted: 10/03/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson

MERRILL - A local stable finds a unique way to train their horses.

In fact, it's so unique the Today Show featured the group in it's segment, "Fact or Fiction."

"It's a blast. You've got a big horse kicking a big ole' ball around and it looks silly. It's a lot of fun. Anybody can get into it," says Equine Soccer player Marty Bever.

He plays at the Keystone Stables in Merrill.

That's where America's Equine Soccer League got its start.

"Equine soccer is a training tool that we slowly started playing real soccer games with. There are other people in the country that do this. We use it as a way to get on your horses in the winter instead of parking them outside in the winter, waiting for the snow to thaw," explains league creator Terry Fenwick.

It also gives people the chance to improve their skills and relationships with their horses.

Other riders around the country play the sport thanks to Terry Fenwick and his wife, Jolene.

They started the league in 1997.

Now people from all riding backgrounds and ages play.

"Right now we play 3 on 3. We're in a 60 by 120 arena...So we have 2 forwards, we have a goalie. It's a lot like your regular soccer game," says Fenwick.

But equine soccer is more than just a game.

It helped Marty Bever transition back to civilian life after serving in Iraq.

He's been back for three years.

"It was just able to calm me down a little bit. And that was kind of a nice transition back into the civilian life," Bever explains.

The Today Show featured the league on its Wednesday show.

Members of America's Equine Soccer League hope the national attention will inspire others to join.

"The fact that they found us and wanted to do something about us is really humbling. We hope that it takes off and helps us go. We hope that we can use this to better the game and better the league, and get more people interested in this," explains Fenwick.

"I've met some really great friends and I can't wait for every season to start," adds Bever.

They hope you'll feel the same way.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/20/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

In the last few years, Northwoods counselors have gotten scientific evidence to force drunk drivers to be truthful. We'll show you how the "BioMarker" project works and update you on the progress of the program in Wisconsin and Oneida County.

We'll bring you a preview of the Level 1 High School postseason football game between Merrill and Rice Lake which takes place tomorrow.

And we'll show you all the hoopla in Green Bay as fans get excited about tonight's big rivalry matchup between the Packers and the Chicago Bears.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - The Northwoods Land Trust helps protect about 12,000 acres of natural lands in six northern Wisconsin counties.

That amount of conservation is a big job. But the organization employs just one full-time and two part-time staff members.

The Land Trust relies on the help of about 40 volunteers to accomplish its mission, volunteers like Nancy Richmond.

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RHINELANDER - When people think first responders, cops, firefighters and EMTs usually come to mind. 

But the true first responder is often the person they'll never meet.

It's Nicole Lea's job to be at her best when you're at your worst.

"There's no other reason your calling us to say, 'Hey, hope you're having a great day.' It is their worst day when they're calling us," said Lea.

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MADISON - About 30 percent of all absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin so far come from the state's most heavily Democratic counties.

The latest data posted on the Wisconsin Elections Commission website shows 55,000 ballots cast in Milwaukee and Dane counties.

21,700 have come in from three conservative counties near Milwaukee.

Over 183,000 were cast statewide.

Republican candidates typically must do well in those Milwaukee suburban counties to counter the Democratic votes in Milwaukee and Madison.

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MADISON - Wisconsin may be the dairy state, but we've seen a decline in the number of dairy farms.

A report from the federal Agriculture Department shows that Wisconsin lost almost 400 dairy farms in the last year.

About 94-thousand dairy herds were active in the state as of October 1st.

Wisconsin Dairy Business Association President Gordon Speirs says the number of lost farms this year is low compared to previous years.

Annual losses reached as high as 1-thousand in some years.

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GREEN BAY - MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has to accept results of the election, even though Trump hasn't said whether he will if Hillary Clinton wins.

WLUK-TV reports Thursday that Walker said following an event in Green Bay that "The bottom line is whether he does or doesn't, there's going to be a new president."

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RHINELANDER - Leaves cover the ground instead of snow, but that doesn't stop Ben Popp from dreaming.

"Hopefully it snows soon," said Popp.

The American Birkebeiner Executive Director visited the Northwoods Nordic Ski Club Wednesday. 

"Rhinelander has just an amazing situation here. We have this great venue out here at CAVOC, the Nordic Ski Club is really strong," Popp said.

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