CRANDON - Some people call it a NASCAR race on water with a crash on every lap. It's party on the shore, and intense competition on the lake. It's really fast, and really bumpy.
"The only way to explain it is, it's like tons of speed bumps, one after another, and you go over it with your car," said 2017 Footstock Open Division Champion Keith St. Onge.
The goal is simple: go over those speed bumps and hold on longer than the competitor next to you. But that's a lot easier said than done.
"Your legs are getting burned out, feet can get burned out, forearms and your grip on the handles can get burned out, the whole thing," said St. Onge.
Footstock is the world's largest endurance barefoot water skiing event. A chance to win the Footstock title makes fighting through that burning pain worth it.
"It just feels awesome to complete it again and to take everyone out, great, great feeling," said St. Onge.
St. Onge won his second Footstock this year and defeated nine-time champion Peter Fleck in the process. But a second place finish for Fleck means so much more than just another trophy.
"I had ruptured my L5 disc and so this has been just kind of a goal to get back physically to where I could compete again," said Fleck.
That back injury stopped Fleck from competing last year. He says now that he's healthy again he's ready for a run at double digits.
"I would like to get number 10 and notch that belt again," said Fleck. "It wasn't in the cards this week but maybe next year."
If Fleck does win next year, he'll have to do it at 55 years old. But he says with his age comes experience, and that's an advantage.
"When you're getting bounced all over the place and you've got a garden hose, the equivalent of a garden hose in your face, you can maintain concentration, and I think that's one of the things that has kept me competitive at my age," said Fleck.
This weekend marked the 31st year for Footstock at Peshtigo Lake in Crandon. More than 120 skiers competed. For more information on barefoot water skiing, click on the link below.
PELICAN LAKE - Tribal members from across Wisconsin held a Deep Winter Camp to pass on parts of their cultures. Members from several different tribes wanted to give kids the chance to experience a piece of their culture. They hope the camp encourages younger members to keep traditions going and never forget where they came from. "They're going to be the next teachers they're good kids and we all love every kid that came here and spent time with us. They all learned something and they'll take it back and teach others," said Lac du Flambeau Band Vice Chairman John Johnson Sr.
CRANDON - Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Justice was justified in shooting and killing 31-year-old Brandon Cude on Jan. 4, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono ruled Friday.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the results of its investigation in the case, and Simono's decision, Friday afternoon.
The DOJ documents detail how Cude swung a shotgun at Justice at close range. The deputy had just learned Cude had felony warrants against him, and Justice was trying to arrest Cude. Justice fired four shots on the scene, a rural road south of Crandon.
"He didn't get a shot off?" a fellow officer asked Justice after the shooting.
"No. He tried, though. Pulled that sucker out and pointed it right at me," Justice replied in an exchange recorded on a body camera.
EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County officers can now respond to active shooter calls better prepared.
All deputies and patrol offices now have access to steel-plated body armor, something only the Vilas County SWAT Team had before.
"We want to make sure our staff are fully protected," said Vilas County Sheriff's Office Captain Gerard Ritter. "I never want to see anything happen to any one of my staff. And we should outfit them with the protection they need."
Before the new body armor, Ritter said officers and deputies only had access to soft body armor.
"The weave material is designed to stop or slow down a projectile," said Ritter.
Officers will still wear the soft-bodied armor every day, but in active shooter situations, officers can now essentially double up on protection, protection once only offered to the SWAT Team.
"There has been an increase in active shooter incidences across the United States," said Ritter.
RHINELANDER - Police think an Oneida County man downloaded hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls using a private chatroom.
During Danial Smith's preliminary hearing Friday, Smith's attorney asked if police had any way of knowing it was his client who downloaded the more than 700 photos.
The state Department of Justice learned a computer near Rhinelander downloaded the pictures in late 2016 thanks to a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The internet protocol (IP) addresses from the downloads were linked to Smith's home on County C in the town of Stella.
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