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Tomahawk hosts D-2 Water Ski NationalsSubmitted: 08/06/2017
Katie Leszcynski
Katie Leszcynski
Sports Reporter/Anchor
kleszcynski@wjfw.com

Tomahawk hosts D-2 Water Ski Nationals
TOMAHAWK - The Browns Lake Aquaducks traveled all the way from the Lake Geneva area up to Tomahawk this weekend. Why did a whole ski team and all their gear make the long trip? They qualified to compete in the D2 Nationals that were in the Northwoods. I went to the competition to see what it was all about.

The Aquaducks from Burlington, Wisconsin are no strangers to skiing together.

"We practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and we have shows on Thursdays. So it's four times a week and then it's drilling, drilling, drilling trying to get it down to an hour," said skier Justin Spiegelhoff.

That hour is the strict time limit they were allowed on the water to wow the judges during the D2 National ski competition. So what do those judges look for?

"They pretty much spell out exactly what they want to see," said Spiegelhoff.

Joel Johanningmeier is the chief judge and has broken it down to four categories.

"Flow, execution, difficulty and spectator appeal," said Johanningmeier. "Then there's also some box scores that we use for theatricals, boat driving, different pieces."

Something that made it a little harder for the Aquaducks was that about 20 skiers on the team had the stomach flu all week.

"People are recovering.. but it's been a pretty tough week," said Spiegelhoff.

But by the smiles on their faces and the constant cheering, you couldn't tell.

And maybe they all got the stomach flu because they are ALWAYS together, even off the water.

"We do family dinners, yesterday we did team bonding, we all went to a national park and hiked," said skier Justine Laux.

Justin and Justine have been skiing with the group since they were little kids. And they aren't the only ones that are in the group for life.
"We range from our 'littles' that we take out on the water that are 14 months and our oldest is 63, I think," said Laux.

No matter the age, the group is always cheering and rooting for one another.

"Stay positive, pump people up. If you have a fall, that's okay. We have something else coming on next," said Laux.

To be at the nationals this weekend, teams had to qualify at state back in July. And this wasn't the first time it was in Tomahawk. The locations rotate every few years, so the event will be back in a couple summers.




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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/18/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


We take our Long Summer Weekend to Vilas County where we show you a garden in Land O'Lakes overflowing with produce - and a strong sense of community.

We talk to participants and organizers of the National Championship Musky Open in Eagle River.

And Friday Night Blitz kicks off another season tonight at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10 with football scores from high school games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following games:

Superior at Merrill

Berlin at Antigo

Hayward at Lakeland

Abbotsford at Crandon


That will be tonight on Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10.

We'll bring you all this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MANITOWISH WATERS - Manitowish Waters would certainly look different today without its cranberry marshes.

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VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County prides itself on its miles of trails. Whether it's cross country skiing, walking or biking, there are plenty of options. But one of the longest is the Heart of Vilas County bike system.

"We have 47 miles of paved bike trails. I don't think that any place in the state can match that, it's awesome," said Mary Vangrinsven.

Those nearly 50 miles make up the Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail.

"It's like being on vacation every day of my life," said Vangrinsven.

When the trail started nearly 20 years ago, bikers, walkers and runners were very excited.
"I was pretty amazed by how much use it was getting. I wondered if this was just a fad or whether it was something real," said Vangrinsven.

But it was real. The finished trail goes through four different communities.

"It's been a great addition to what you can do in Vilas County," said Ken Wiesner.

Bikers can go from St. Germain to Manitowish Waters and hit up Sayner and Boulder Junction along the way.

"In my opinion, it's really changed the local economy for the better," said Wiesner.

Every Wednesday, a group of nearly 50 people bike along a part of the Heart of Vilas County Bike trail.

"I think we're really finding, especially in the areas up here, that we have very active adults," said Vangrinsven.

Wiesner and his wife Barb joined the group because they have a cabin in Vilas County.

"We've made a lot of new friends over the past 10 years, primarily in the biking," said Wiesner.

Whether you do it with a group of friends, or by yourself, there's also something to enjoy along the trail.

There are shops along the trail to rent bikes if you don't have one. If you would like more information on the trail, click on the link below.

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MANITOWISH WATERS - Northwoods tourism thrives off of fishing, hunting, and lake life.

Sometimes, people want to take a piece of that Northwoods culture home with them.

You might not recognize this sign in its beginning stages.

Mike Patek makes these handmade signs under the name "Vintage Cabin Signs" in Manitowish Waters. He controls everything from the cut to the paint.

His signs go all over the country. They're based off of Northwoods vacation images from the 30s and 40s; think old fishing magazines, travel posters, and postcards.

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SHAWANO COUNTY - One person died when an explosion leveled a home in Shawano county early Thursday morning.

The Shawano County Sheriff's Department says 54 year old Diane Pickett was found dead in the remains of the house.

A second person who lived at the house was out of town when the explosion happened.

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MADISON - Update:  8/18/17,  5:10pm

The Wisconsin state Assembly has passed a $3 billion tax break package for Taiwan-based electronics giant Foxconn Technology Group.

The bipartisan vote Thursday now sends the bill to the Senate, where it must also pass in identical form before it goes to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

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EAGLE RIVER - About 1,300 people will attempt to snag the biggest Musky during a long-standing tournament in Vilas County this weekend.

"When you go on the water and see all these yellow hats you'll know the tournaments on," said Wisconsin Musky Clubs Alliance Secretary Donald Gilbert.

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