Northwoods Spotlight - Eagle River MMA - July 9Submitted: 07/09/2014
Story By Joe Dufek

EAGLE RIVER - Last Saturday, the Northwoods Combat Challenge showcased a dozen Mixed Martial Arts bouts.

Seven bouts were a Border Battle series between competitors from Wisconsin and Michigan. The winning state, would earn a trophy.

"It just went phenomenal," Dave Sixel of Sixel's Fight Club said. "I'm happy to see Wisconsin win the trophy. We'll probably hold two MMA cards in Wisconsin, and two in Michigan."

For some of the competitors, the even was about more than this. One Sugar Camp fighter is raising money for her animal rescue.

"I take animals off the euthanasia list," Stef Scheider of Sugar Camp explains. "We reached the one-year mark at the beginning of May. In that time, we have saved 200 dogs."

Around $1000 was raised for her group - called It Matters to One Animal Rescue. Another athlete decided to take the opportunity to tie the knot once again.

"(We) have been together for so long - she has been through everything with me," Jeff Paradise of Necedah explains.

Jeff and his wife Nadia have been married for six years. She had her suspicions - but it didn't affect the impact of the moment.

"I was still shocked," Nadia adds. "It's been a long six years. But I'm looking for six more new ones."

The future of the competition seems bright. The Holzbauer brothers out of Eagle River say they have learned more than just about combat.

"I've been doing it for about four or five years," Sam Holzbauer said. "I've learned self control - not to take it too hard."

"It's fun and exciting," Sam's brother Jeff adds. "This is the only time I can do this."

"They're in a controlled environment," Jodi Holzbauer - Sam and Jeff's mother explains. "They know what they signed up for. I think it's (safe)."

This was the second Combat Challenge held in Eagle River this year. The next one is expected to be next year in March.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp portraying lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. all had a piece of history to share.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

"People come to this whether there's good weather of bad weather," said Executive Director of the Eagle River Chamber Kim Emerson. "And with this year being great weather, we had above-average crowds and it was just spectacular. We're so happy about that."

By 3 p.m. Saturday, the World's Largest Cranberry Cheesecake had already been devoured. Sales of slices go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. 

Organizers said they also almost sold out of cranberries, but they said they would still have more to sell on Sunday. 

There were also dozens of craft vendors, food and wine and cranberry marsh tours.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event had a hay maze, horse drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

"I think it's going great. We got a little sunshine right now. We got probably a couple hundred people here. People are buying food, spending money. It's what we're after," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hanson.

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WOOD COUNTY - Two people who stole a UTV led police on a wild chase early Friday morning. Friday night, those suspects were still on the run.

The Wood County Sheriff's Office tells us a sporting goods store owner walked in as the burglary was happening, just before 7 a.m. The suspects took off in a red Dodge pickup truck pulling a trailer with the stolen UTV. They crashed through several gates to get out.

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MERRILL - One Northwoods farm wants to give all families the full Fall experience.

Grampa's Farm in Merrill has been a popular fall destination in Wisconsin since 2010.

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RHINELANDER - A Wisconsin brewing company executive wants businesses to hire more veterans.

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ACROSS WISCONSIN - Abbotsford 62, Thorp 6

Algoma 24, Sturgeon Bay 8

Almond-Bancroft 61, Tigerton/Marion 6

Amherst 56, Manawa 6

Antigo 42, Lakeland 28

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