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."
WOODRUFF - Americans will eat about 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wednesday, millions of Americans celebrated National Hot Dog day. That was the case in the Northwoods.
Hoggie Doggies Snack Shack is a staple in Woodruff. Their All-American favorite is the Chicago Style Dog.
The owner Judy Rossi has been there for 12 years and says they go through a lot of dogs.
"Last season we went through almost 17,000 hot dogs. This year we're on track for about 18,000," says Rossi. "Statistically we go through about 8 tons of potatoes in a season, which is close to 16,000 pounds for our homemade french fries. Those are some big numbers for this little place."
Gardens need some help with large temperature swings in summer
RHINELANDER - Northwoods heat the past few days forced plants to endure different weather, but you don't need to do extra gardening just because it's hot.
Experts at Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander say plants can manage the heat just fine. On hot, sunny days, many plants will wilt, but that doesn't mean they need more water.
"If the soil is moist on a hot day, I wouldn't water more. That's probably more harm. The plant can only take up so much moisture at a time, so I would just hold off on watering," says Sue Hanson, Hanson's Garden Village Co-Owner.
MADISON - Unemployment is up in all of Wisconsin's largest cities and most counties.
The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates in June increased in all of the state's 32 largest cities. Unemployment rates went up in 61 of 72 counties and remained unchanged in the other 11.
Wisconsin's monthly unemployment rate in June was 5.7 percent, unchanged from May.
MILWAUKEE - Authorities are looking for a fourth suspect in a shooting on an interstate in Milwaukee County.
Sheriff David Clarke says people in a minivan and another vehicle were shooting at each other in a ``running gun battle'' on Interstate 43 Tuesday afternoon. One vehicle struck the other and the minivan spun into the ditch near Fox Point. Three people in the van were arrested. Authorities say a fourth person left the scene.
47-year-old Karen Wessell of Star Lake died in yesterday's swimming accident in Vilas County. A boater pulled 2 people out of the water after they started drowning on Star Lake. We now know Wessell died shortly after.
Wessell went under water during a rescue attempt.
The Vilas County Sheriff says 3 women and 4 kids were along Trampers Trail. 3 boys swam across the channel and were told to come back. They got tired swimming back to shore so the women had to help. Wessell used herself to push one of the boys above the water to keep him from going under. A boater saw them, pulled them out, and started doing CPR.
MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser â€" The Beatles.
Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!
"I found out it was the anniversary of the "Help!" release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."
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