Hodag trap shooters continue to enjoy a successful first year for the programSubmitted: 05/21/2017
Mark Spillane
Mark Spillane
Sports Reporter/Anchor

Hodag trap shooters continue to enjoy a successful first year for the program
RHINELANDER - The thought of spring sports at Rhinelander high school usually brings to mind baseball, soccer, or maybe tennis. All those teams know what it takes to be successful. But there's been a new �" and loud�" team around the school this year. For the first time in three decades, the Hodags have a trap team.

"I've heard talk about it, but I didn't know if it was going to be 100% sure. When I heard this happened, I was amazed and super happy," said junior Tyler Olson.

Coaches knew there would be some interest in the team when they first met in March, but expectations turned out to be a bit low.

"Actually, when I started this, I was thinking if we got 10 kids, I was going to be doing good," said Head Coach Phil Kriesel. "But we have 29 kids that came out."

Of those 29, not everyone started as an experienced shooter.

"I hadn't really shot a shotgun before, so first coming here I needed a lot of help from the coaches," said junior Erin Drescher.

But Drescher says she's enjoyed the process of getting better.

"It's been fun to see my score improve every week," said Drescher.

Not only is Drescher a new shooter, she's also one of just two girls on the team. That's something she doesn't seem to mind.

"This is seen as such a men's sports, but it's kind of fun, there's no special treatment," said Drescher.

Other shooters, like Olson have been shooting since they were young. He says the team offers a unique opportunity.

"It's good to get used to something different, out of your comfort zone maybe," said Olson.

Like many sports, there are lessons to be learned at the range.

"If you miss a bird, you've got to move on. It's just like when you run into life problems, tough things come to you, but you have to move on from them," said Olson.

As for the future, those low expectations are now a distant memory with bigger numbers on the horizon.

"Early numbers show we could have 20 kids come out of the junior high next year," said Kriesel.

Only five shooters will graduate this spring, which means the Hodags team could grow by 50 percent. The team is fully funded through its own fundraisers and fees. Coaches say they're always looking for business donations. Shooters that average a score of 20 or better will earn a varsity letter. Seniors will also earn a varsity letter this year because it is the inaugural year.

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RHINELANDER - This time of year, winter activies start to wind down and the summer fun hasn't quite started yet.

That's why Fisher's Resort and Bar on Lake George in Rhinelander enjoys having it's annual ice golf tournament each year.

"In year's past, March is always kind of a slower season up here in the Northwoods so we figured we'd create an event and put efforts towards a local organization," said Fisher's Resort and Bar owner, Russ Fisher.

That local organization they raise money for is the Hodag Sno-trails snowmobile club.

This year, the tournament had it's biggest turn out.

30 teams came to play, including first timer Dennis Herrmann who lives right across the lake.

"This has nothing to do with golf, I can tell you that right now. But it's a challenge for all the obvious reasons. But you do it for the charity, you do it for the fun and it gives everybody the chance to get out," said Herrmann.

This year they cut it down from 18 holes to 13 so people could get inside faster to enjoy the chili and the raffle items after their round of golf.

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WAUSAU - When you think of Wisconsin, two things might come to mind - beer and snow. 

The Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau decided to combine the two and host an annual brew fest. 

Andy Ledesma is the head brewer at Red Eye Brewing Company in Wausau. The Granite Peak Brew Fest is one of the many perks of his job.

"No other beer fest is like this, that's for sure," said Ledesma.

He definitely wasn't alone serving more than 40 beers on Saturday. 

Jeff Geurink works for South Shore Brewery in Ashland. They've been around for 20 years, but they wanted to make this brew fest a part of their line up.

"Get our name out there and make sure people are enjoying our beer and get as much information as possible out about our brewery so then when they go out and get a beer, they remember us," said Geurink.

Something everyone will remember from the brew fest was the set-up.

"Snow bar?! You can't get that in the summer time," said Roland Bruhnke.

He's right. Most beer festivals are in the summer. But when it's still feeling like winter in March, Granite Peak turns lemons into lemonade, or more appropriately, hops into beer.

"I think it definitely helped that when they get to the bottom of the hill, you see a bunch of beer," said beer salesman Jesse Bartnik.

So even though beer and physical activity isn't the best combination, dozens of people were loving it this weekend.

"The winter, the skiing, the beer, it's all one big package all rolled into one," said Bruhnke.

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RHINELANDER - The warmer weather might have you spending more time outside with man's best friend.

But the remaining snow and ice could increase the risk of injury for dogs.

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PORTAGE COUNTY - Portage County will hold an information meeting to share information about a sexually violent offender that will soon be released.

Gregory Loomis, 43, sexually assaulted two children in 1988 and 1992.

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ANTIGO - "It did come as a shock at first, but it's something that you realize it's not the end of the world," said Tracie Quade. 

Quade's 18-month old son, Benny, was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was born.

"It's actually a really, really awesome thing. People with Down syndrome are wonderful loving people and they are just as capable of doing as much as anybody else," said Quade.

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RHINELANDER - An Oneida County judge set a trial date for a Rhinelander woman charged in the death of her toddler stepson.
Ellen Tran's trial is expected to start with jury selection on October 19.

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CRANDON - Planners in Tomahawk dreamed about a bike loop around the city starting in the early 2000s.

Two decades later, it's finally about to happen.

After more than 15 years of negotiation, the city bought a critical piece of land from the Canadian National railroad.

It will allow the city to start building a 4.6 mile bike loop around the city.

"It's a win-win for everybody. There was a little frustration from by position, but you just...kept your foot on the gas through the whole process," said Tomahawk Public Works Director John Cole.

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