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NEWS STORIES

Racing Thrills Fans at Crandon Brush RunSubmitted: 06/28/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas


CRANDON - They call it the Big House and there really isn't anything else like it. Talented off road drivers are kicking up the dirt in Crandon this weekend for the annual Brush Run.

The weather cooperated for a full slate of racing action. Thousands of fans enjoyed the the thrill of being up close to the track. They were able to watch many different classes of racing, a few spills and lots of excitement.

Something new this year is an exhibition of UTV's, or Utility Terrain Vehicles. They're trying to gain more popularity in the Mid-West.

A couple of results from local drivers today include in the 1600 Buggy Class, Rhinelander's Mark Steinhardt continued his success at Crandon. Steiny got out to a good lead and took the checkerd flag with ease.

In the Super Stock Trucks Argonne's Jeff Fannin was near the front the majority of the race. Fannin finished strong in second place. This weekend he's racing for a special cause.

"Our race winnings this weekend we're donating back to the Ronald McDonald House charity in Marshfield today. Then tomorrow our winnings will go to the Wounded Warriors project," explains Fannin. "The Ronald McDonald House charities was a big deal because last year I became a father for the first time. My son came seven weeks early and we spent three weeks there. It opened my eyes to what a great charity that place is."

During the summer, Nick Baumgartner trades in his snowboard for off road racing.

The last time we caught up with the Iron River native, he'd just returned from his second Olympic games.

Now he's back behind the wheel of a truck and excited to have the chance to race close to home.

"When I'm traveling for snowboarding not everyone can come out and see me. Here I have a huge fan base," says Baumgartner. "I've talked to the school here a couple times in Crandon so it's cool to see all these people come out, especially the kids. They get so hyped on it. It's cool having that support and just coming out here and having fun. The adrenaline coming into turn one in Crandon is better than anything I've ever felt. This is what we're chasing for in life (this adrenaline) and we've found it here in Crandon."

You can still catch a full day of racing at Crandon on Sunday. Qualifying begins at 9am.






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EAGLE RIVER - The first-ever ATV & UTV Side by Side World Championship Derby finished up Sunday afternoon. 

Races started on Saturday and continued through the weekend. 

Spectators, racers and event staff all say they were pleased with how the event turned out.

"There's always going to be some nit-nat things that need to be changed, but I can tell you for the first event with everything we had going, it really went well," said Russell Davis, the Derbytrack's VP of Sales and Marketing. "And we're going to have some meetings afterward and obviously change some things, but we've got a lot of compliments, mostly positive, and we're excited to build on next year."

Event organizers estimate about 150 racers of all ages and from all over came to the challenge. Winners got cash prizes. The derby also had night events such as a mud run and a freestyle show.

Next year organizers hope they bring in more people.




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EAGLE RIVER - Wisconsin native Zac Zakowski won the UTV championship derby on Sunday at the AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack.

"Once you start doing this you can't stop," said professional UTV and ATV driver Zac Zakowski. "It's like a drug."

Zakowski started racing seriously when he was about 17 years old. The fun hobby quickly turned into a pro sport, a career and a lifestyle. He has been traveling to many different races since then, competing at the professional level.

"You kinda miss out on that stuff and you miss it but at the same time when you're doing this stuff, you don't," Zakowski said.

The sport is hard on the body and the wallet. Two years ago, Zakowski said while driving his ATV he hit a tree and tore his ACL in his knee. He was out for two seasons.

One thing almost all ATV drivers, pro or amateur, can agree on is the sport is truly a family affiar.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my family," Zakowski said. "I mean you can walk the pits and probably almost everybody would say they do it because their family supports it and they do it as a family."

"The lifestyle is tiring because you load up the rig and the trailer to travel thousands of miles to race for an hour or two hours depending on the race," said Zakowski's mother, Linda. "Then you load back up to go home. But once you get to that site on the track you're excited and you just can't wait for things to get going."

Zakowski stopped racing for a while when his mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. Now his mother is in remission and Zakowski participates in races that raise awareness for the disease.

"He paints his whole quad pink and has stickers on it," Linda Zakowski said. 

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WAUSAU - A garage fire in Wausau early this morning will likely cost about $7,200 in damage, according to Wausau Fire Battalion Chief Allan Antolik.

Antolik said it was a 12 by 20 ft detached garage on Pleasant Street.

The Wausau Fire Department responded to the call at 1:30 a.m.

The department says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

No one was hurt. 

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ST. GERMAIN - More than 11,000 people suffer from Multiple Sclerosis in Wisconsin alone.

The owners of Lynn Ann's Campground in St. Germain want to do something about that. They started the Woods and Waters Paddle last year race to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

It's an out and back kayak and stand up paddle board race.

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RHINELANDER - Pawz n' Clawz held their Second Pawzitive Outdoor Games on Saturday.

The event brings dogs and people together for some outdoor fun while helping local non-profits. The Pawzitive Outdoor Games tests a dogs skill in agility, dock diving, and speed.

TLC Training owner Carol Lofquist set up a standard course to test dog skills.

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TOMAHAWK - A Tomahawk man turns his love for logging into woodworking hobby and business.

Wesley Bushor shows and sells woodwork out of his home.

"I don't consider myself an artist. I'm just, I'm a logger who likes to glue sticks together," said Bushor.

Wesley Bushor started working on his wood pieces about 20 years ago.

"Being a logger I come across things all the time that I like in the woods, and I decided I'd start building some basic rustic furniture, and I built a bed. A few weeks later it fell apart, but I was hooked from then on," said Bushor.
 
Bushor's house is his gallery, and you can find his work in every room. The result: a whimsical home that showcases his love for his hobby and trade. He's proud of the work he's done.

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WABENO - A Goodman, Wis., man died from an ATV crash in Wabeno late Saturday morning, according to a Forest County Sheriff's Department press release. 

Forest County Sheriff's officers responded to a report of an ATV crash in Wabeno late Saturday morning. Deputies got to the scene and found just one ATV was involved in the crash.

As a result of the crash, a 23-year-old Goodman, WI, man was pronounced dead at the scene by the Forest County Medical Examiner. There were no other people involved. 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is investigating the crash. 

Deputies will not release the name until the family is notified. 

We will provide more updates as they become available. 

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