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

Northwoods Spotlight - Eagle River MMA - July 9
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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 IN OTHER NEWS

MANITOWISH WATERS - "When you have something like this everybody turns a little bit Irish," said Irish Fest volunteer Ron Troller.

Ye Olde Shillelagh in Manitowish Waters hosted its Second Annual Irish Festival this weekend. The big draw for the volunteers and attendees is the music.

"Who doesn't like professional Irish music," said Troller.

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RHINELANDDER - Most people who kayak will go out for a few hours and cover several miles. But one southwestern Wisconsin man is trying to cover more than 400 miles as fast as possible.

Ben Sasse is from Muscoda and is trying to break the speed record for paddling the Wisconsin River.

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RHINELANDER - In June, the Rhinelander City Council approved a fenced-in dog park at Shepard Park. It's something Tina Werres has been working towards for the last 10 years.

On Saturday, about 30 volunteers gathered at Shepard Park to clean up the south end of the park.

The fence is scheduled to be put up in about three weeks so Werres wanted to get the area cleaned up as soon as possible.

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GLEASON - The Third Annual Northern Roundup started Friday in Gleason.

Most of the cars are from the 1950s and 1960s and come in all makes and models. Red Kreyer came all the way from Fennimore in his car. 

"It's a '61 Cadillac Coupe de Ville nicknamed Elvis...[it took] about a two year restoration period," said Kreyer. 

The event is a car show, but the focus isn't on trophies, it's on community.

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EAGLE RIVER - A woman went missing last night east of Eagle River, but searchers found her safe early Friday morning.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Department got the report of the missing woman just before 8:00 p.m. Thursday.

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MINOCQUA - "I just find this place so amazing," said actor Noah Venzke, who is in the 7th grade.

The Campanile Summer Children's Theatre Workshop has been running in Minocqua for 10 years now.

"It's a place to meet new friends, and have new experiences, and try new things," said Venzke.

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MINOCQUA - The tennis courts at Lakeland Union High School usually get filled with students. 

If you stop by the courts during the summer, you'll see a different demographic taking over. 

A group of senior citizens dressed in all white play with wooden tennis rackets to mimic a Wimbledon, tennis game. 

Jerry Sikora never played tennis until the day he decided to get a group together back in 1990. 

"It means a lot to a lot of us that don't do activities that much," said Sikora. 

Since getting the group together for the first time Sikora has gotten a lot of practice. 

He also added about 20 older adults to the team.

 The age range of the players is from the 50s to mid-80s.

"The older you get the smarter you get," said 70-year- old Ted Dasler. 

The group said they only get better with time. 

Sikora said the snowbirds get more practice during warm winters in the south.

"They have no mercy on us when they come back," said Sikora. 

Things can get intense on the court at times, but the friendships and entertainment brings everyone back to play. 

The players said the most important thing is to always have fun. 


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