Northwoods Spotlight - Rhinelander native wins NCAA fishing national title - Mar 26
Story By Joe Dufek
- Without a doubt, fishing is one of the more popular sports in the Northwoods.
But imagine representing a college and winning a national championship.
A Rhinelander native and his teammate did just that.
For Chris Burgan, a local fishing club was how he began his journey into compeditive fishing.
"I got my start when I was 16, with the Hodag bass masters," Burgan explains. "I've been fishing since I could hold a rod in my hands. I've always been a competitive person."
"We started out fishing crappies," Chris' father Roy adds. "Then we got on a lake which had a lot of bass. He got hooked on bass fishing. I used to beat him once in awhile. Now I can't touch him."
Earlier this month, Burgan, and his fishing partner Austin Felix represented Minnesota and won college fishing's national championship. They knocked off the 2-time defending national champs Louisiana-Monroe to take the title.
"It was pretty crazy," Chris admits. "I was trying to keep my composure on the stage."
The team won a boat - which could go the University of Minnesota. They also earned a spot in the Forest Wood Cup tournament. That's considered the Masters tourney of bass-fishing.
"I have a chance to fish with some of the pros I've looked up to," Chris explains. "I shook Kevin VanDam's hand once. He's a Midwestern guy."
UW-Stevens Point also competed at the National Championships held in Seneca, South Carolina. The Pointers finished 27th out of 50 teams.
ARBOR VITAE - The Arbor Vitae Fire Department hosted its 39th Fireman's Picnic and Summerfest this weekend.
Thousands of people came out to benefit the fire department while having a good time. The fire department held the crowd favorite lawnmower races again this year.
They also had a volleyball tournament and games for kids. The fire chief says all the proceeds help the department pay for equipment.
"When we purchased our new fire truck, the fire department funded a good portion of the money, the fundraiser money, to help keep the tax dollars down so the tax payers didn't have to foot the whole bill for the truck," said Arbor Vitae Fire Department Chief Mike Van Meter. "And we also use it to buy turnout gear throughout the year, new air packs. Anything we can do to keep it off the tax roll."
WABENO - People went out to Wabeno this weekend for its first ever Art and Music Fest. Musicians performed in the band shell while local artists spread out to show their products.
There were food and drinks as well as workshops for people to learn more about art.
"This year we've had about 20 musicians performing on three stages," said Friends of Wabeno Chairperson Mary Beck. "And we've had maybe ten artists doing demonstrations, showing people what they can do and what they can buy."
The rain Sunday didn't stop people from having a good time. Volunteers hope to make this an annual event.
ST. GERMAIN - The last day of Pig in the Pines wrapped up Saturday. People were able to watch the rib eating contest in the afternoon.
Newswatch 12 got to help judge ribs from this year's four rib vendors. One of the big events happened on the main stage Saturday evening.
"We have entertainment all day long," said St. Germain Chamber President Bruce Weber. "We have the Wise Guys on our main stage. We have Laura Ernst on the aerial platform here. She also does juggling. On our major stage, we have One Ping Only, and we also have Molly Hatchet, our lead act tonight."
WISCONSIN - Anyone who loves hunting and fishing will need to apply for a license. The deadline for some hunting and fishing licenses is August 1 at 11:59 p.m.
Hunters, trappers and spearers can go on the DNR website to apply.
"This is the time of year where not a lot of people are thinking about hunting, but that August 1 date is that date for applying for a bobcat, fisher or otter tag, sharp-tail grouse, or sturgeon spearing or fall turkey," said DNR Warden Supervisor David Walz.
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