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Northwoods Spotlight - Eagle River Derby recap Jan 22Submitted: 01/22/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas


EAGLE RIVER - Tomahawk native Nick Van Strydonk won the world championship in 2012. He knows Eagle River is the place to be.

"You can't put it into words," Van Strydonk said. "It's its own special feeling."

Amateur sno cross racer Lance Rutledge of Rhinelander adds, "The adrenaline rush you get, especially in that last lap, it all comes into play."

Speed, adversity and triumph, Derby Weekend had it all - including talented local drivers.


"We do it for the fans," Van Strydonk adds. "We're not out here to make money. We're not out here to prove anything to the guys we race against. We're out here for the fans, we like to put on a show and have fun."

It wasn't just the guys tearing it up. 17 year old Sabrina Blanchet from Quebec set out to become the first female to qualify for the final race, but she had a tough weekend.

"It's disappointing but I'm not mad or upset," Blanchet explained. "The team does a lot of work to give me the best machine they can. We'll come back and try to do it all over again."

Another tradition that dates back to the early years is the Derby Queen. Northland Pines hockey star Jessica Roach won that honor for 2014.

"It's definitely awesome being part of the derby," Roach said. "We're a big hockey town but the Derby is what people look forward to in the winter."

The sleds that race out here aren't like anything you'd see on a trail. They're hand built from the ground up and hits speeds up to 100 miles per hour on the track.

In the end, it was Malcolm Chartier winning the granddaddy of them all... and becoming a back to back champ.

"We did our homework, Chartier explained. "We did it last year and tried to replicate what we did last year and did it again."

"To be able to live in a little town like Eagle River and have a business because there's not that much other tourism it's just very gratifying," Eagle River Derby Track Marketing Manager Richard Decker adds. "It's a lot of hard work but believe me, everything is worth it. We love it."


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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 02/27/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We take you live to Lakeland Union High School to preview tonight's girls' basketball regional finals as the Thunderbirds take on New London.

Flint's drinking water crisis in 2015 put a spotlight on lead water lines in communities across the country. Now, several local cities will get federal money to help replace lead lines. We'll tell some of the area cities that the state DNR selected to get the money for the upcoming year.

And if you can't make your way down south to celebrate Fat Tuesday, you won't have to travel too far to get in on the fun. We'll take you to a Minocqua restaurant that is hosting a Fat Tuesday food and wine pairing night.

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

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Each year the flu virus is different, which means a different vaccine. The vaccine is not completely effective, but people who get the flu vaccine are still more likely to avoid the flu than those who don't.

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MINOCQUA - Minocqua Brewing Company is hosting a Fat Tuesday food and wine pairing night on Feb.28. 

The New Orleans staple, beignets, will top the food list.

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MADISON - A key Republican legislator says Gov. Scott Walker's plan to cut University of Wisconsin System tuition could hurt taxpayers that and lawmakers should instead consider letting the system raise tuition according to inflation or income increases.

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MINOCQUA - Have you ever thought about starting a career in law enforcement? Every year the Minocqua Police Department hires someone to be a community service officer. The position lasts through the summer and is open to civilians.

The job mainly involves working foot patrol duties and enforcing downtown parking rules. But the position has a customer service aspect to it too. 

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RHINELANDER - The Oscars filled Sunday night with entertainment and a few bloopers. But for many Northwoods viewers, some of the winners were unfamiliar. 

"Moonlight," "La La Land," and "Fences" all walked away as major winners in Sunday night's Academy Awards.

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MILWAUKEE - The candidates to be Wisconsin's top education official offered contrasting viewpoints on whether to increase money for private-school vouchers during their first head-to-head forum since advancing from primaries last week.

Two-term incumbent Superintendent Tony Evers said during Monday's forum that he worries voucher money would hurt funding for public schools. Evers' challenger, Lowell Holtz, says he supports more money for vouchers because it would increase competition and choice in the state's education system.

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