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.
RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.
Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway. The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.
They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time. About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.
HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.
The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."
The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has selected a former legislator to run the state Department of Natural Resources.
Walker's office announced Monday that he has chosen former Republican state Rep. Dan Meyer to serve as DNR secretary. He replaces Cathy Stepp, who resigned in August to take a position in President Donald Trump's administration.
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