National walleye championship heads upriver to God's Country

So, we're getting some new visitors to La Crosse next week.
In case you haven't heard, the Cabela’s National Team Championship is moving from the Quad Cities area to Pools 7, 8 and 9 of the Mississippi River right here in God's Country, La Crosse.
The event is scheduled May 17-19. That's great news as far as the expected local economic impact of about a half million bucks. It's good for anglers, their followers and local fishing fans alike. La Crosse is a great place to work, live and play.
A press release from The Walleye Federation earlier today said the event was moved to La Crosse because of flooding and damage from a barge to Lock and Dam 11 near Dubuque, IA.
“For more than a year, river anglers from across North America have been planning to visit the Quad Cities area for the NTC’s first trip to the Mississippi River, but Mother Nature had other ideas, and due to forecast flooding we are forced to move the event to a different site along the river,” said Robert Cartlidge, president and CEO of The Walleye Federation, which organizes the event.
“We exhausted all safe possibilities to keep the event in the Quad Cities as announced,” Cartlidge added. “Unfortunately, water conditions there just would not support that goal. I want to thank the Quad Cities for all of their support on this decision to move.  They have been great to work with throughout the planning and relocation process, and we will try to go back there for an event someday.”
Cartlidge also acknowledged the support of Cabela’s NTC anglers, many of whom had spent months planning their Quad Cities visit. “We thank everyone who has been patient throughout this transition and the flooding issues,” he said. “Last-minute changes are something that no one likes, least of all us, but the relocated NTC has quickly taken shape into a fine championship event, thanks to the hard work of our staff. I am very proud of them to put all this together almost overnight.”
As a result of the move, Explore La Crosse is now hosting the  national championship.
The Cabela’s NTC draws hundreds of two-person teams from the U.S. and Canada, who qualified for the event through local TWF-sanctioned competitions.
This year’s NTC field features 200 teams competing for a minimum of $250,000 in cash and prizes, plus 50 custom Cabela’s All-American rings, trophies, travel stipends, plaques and more. First prize is $25,000 in cash plus a brand-new Mercury-powered Ranger boat. A second Ranger-Mercury combo will be awarded through the Ranger Cup contingency, meaning the victors could take home more than $165,000 in cash and prizes.
The entire field competes the first two days. Each team is allowed to bring their best five fish to the scale each day. Only the top 25 teams advance to the final round on Saturday.
Take-offs and weigh-ins are at Veterans Freedom Park located on the west side of Clinton Street on French Island.
Take-offs begin at 7 a.m., with weigh-ins at 3:30 p.m., each day.
The weigh-ins are being streamed live online at The action will also be filmed for national television airing on NBC Sports’ “Americana Outdoors” and the Pursuit Channel. Dates and airtimes will be announced at
Dale Radcliffe, director of the TWF-sanctioned circuit Mighty Miss Walleye Series, assures anglers the move will not affect their ability to enjoy world-class fishing.
“This section of the Mississippi has an excellent walleye fishery ranging from Lake Onalaska on Pool 7 to the vast channels and winding backwaters of Pools 8 and 9,” he said. “The river has several strong year-classes of walleyes and sauger, with many fish in the 20-inch-plus class and some occasional bruisers over 10 pounds. Typical May weights are in excess of 20 pounds for a four-fish limit on our circuit.”
Water levels in La Crosse are receding quickly, but additional rain predicted this weekend could slow the daily declines.
“Things are slightly delayed about two weeks in the walleye world here right now.” Radcliffe said. “The spawn wrapped up in the last week, so many female walleyes will be just coming out of a recovery period and be ready to put the feedbag on. The event dates should be perfectly timed to this part of the year where an expected 4- to 5-pound average will be the norm to cash a check.”
Sponsors include Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Ranger Boats, Pepsi, Geico. Mercury, Explore La Crosse and TWF. For details, visit, or contact Jeremiah Burish at Explore La Crosse at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 608-782-2250.

Yes, there will be stock car racing on Sunday

WEST SALEM, WI – It sure didn't look like it last weekend, or Thursday morning for that matter.
However, don't count out Chuck Deery and his staff, who have been working nonstop to make sure the sixth annual "Frostbuster" is run on Sunday.
There have been two separate snow storms in the past four days, including one quick-moving storm late Wednesday. Each storm dumped about 8 inches of the white, fluffy stuff.
Officials from the speedway have been focused on the task at hand, making sure that area race fans can come out and enjoy the warm 63-degree sunny Sunday.  
“Winter has finally snapped, and like turning on a light switch, here comes spring, fortunately just in time for this weekend,” said Deery, the longtime track manager. “With the recent snowfalls, we can bet that no one will be doing any yardwork outside their homes this weekend, so why not come out and catch all the great racing action of the local stars and cars of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series on Sunday.
"Last year we struggled to get ideal weather conditions on almost any race day. This is a great way to start out 2018,” Deery added.
The “Frostbuster” features five different divisions, including the Tobacco Outlet Plus Grocery NASCAR Late Models, Dean’s Satellite & Security Sportsmen – both on the 5/8th mile track. The quarter-mile track features the Auto Value Parts Stores Thunderstox & Street Stocks, plus the popular 4-cylinder division, the ANTS Complete Pest Control Hornets.
The pit gate opens at 10 a.m., with practice laps at 11:15 a.m. Grandstand gates open at 12:30 p.m., and qualifying starts at 12:45. The first race of the 2018 season takes the green flag at 2 p.m.
Saturday is practice/media day. The pit gate opens at 10 a.m., with practice runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
For more information call the speedway office at 608-786-1525, or visit
See you there!  Oh, and don’t forget to bring along your sunglasses and suntan lotion!

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How are the fish biting?

"How they bitin," is a question often asked in fishing circles.
Pick any one of the four seasons - spring, summer, fall or winter - and you will find anglers out pursuing their favorite fish species.
Our neighbors from across the road sent us this photo that a brother-in-law sent to them after he, his son-in-law and two other fellows went fishing last weekend.
The apparent fishing "hotspot" is about a 7-hour drive north of where his son-in-law and wife live in southern Saskatchewan. The exact location is on Montreal Lake in northern Saskatchewan.
My question is, "How many anglers are there in the photo?"

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La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway set for 'Frostbuster'

WEST SALEM, WI - What's the weather going to be like later this month?
More specifically, what is the forecast for West Salem, Wisconsin, on April 22?
Well, according to the National Weather Service, there is a LOW (33 percent) chance of rain or snow. The high temperature is forecast from 55 to 65 degrees with the low temperature forecast from 34 to 44 degrees.
Let's go racing!
"Last year was the worst weather year that I can recall," said Chuck Deery in his 31st year as track manager.
There were five rainouts according to Deery, adding that, "It rained before, during or right after 15 other nights."
Fans and drivers watch the weather almost as closely as Deery and his staff. Yet, while Deery and his veteran crew of officials prepare for the race card early in the day at the track, fans often decide earlier whether to attend the races or not.
"The law of averages comes into effect... going to have some crappy years... and we are going to have awesome years with the weather," Deery said. "We're hoping for an awesome year!"
The sixth annual Frostbuster kicks off the 2018 La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway season on Sunday, April 22. Gates open at 12:30 p.m., qualifying at 12:45 p.m. Racing begins at 2 p.m. The event features NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action of the Tobacco Outlet Plus Late Models, Dean's Satellite Sportsmen, Auto Value Thunderstox, the ANTS Complete Pest Control Hornets and the Auto Value Parts Stores Street Stocks.
Almost 30 drivers have already registered for the Tobacco Outlet Plus Grocery NASCAR Late Model division this season. Returning will be Minnesota's Nick Panitzke, as he looks to be the first-time repeat Late Model Champion since 2006 without the last name Carlson. That feat was accomplished by Bangor's Kevin Nuttleman in 2005 and 2006.  
Although Panitzke was strong all last year, six-time track champion Steve Carlson, who won four straight titles from 2013-2016, will be in the thick of the chase again. Competition was extremely tough last season as there were eight different feature winners in 16 races, including four that won their first feature race. But this year, look for to Carlson and Panitzke to be challenged each week by Cole Howland, Ty Reedy, Brad Powell and Mike Carlson.  
Other drivers who could win on any given week are Mike Ehde, Jerimy Wagner, Jesse Pokszyk and Nick Clements. First-time winners this season could also be Justin Mullikin, Carter Christenson or newcomer Michael Beamish from Minnesota. And don't forget that Matt Henderson ended an eight-year drought in 2017, returning to Victory Lane last July.
While there were a couple of years where the track had 20 or less late model drivers, Deery said he made a couple of rule changes two years ago which paid off. A consistent method of operating the races also brought drivers from other tracks.
While the late model division is the main drawing card, Deery said the other divisions make a huge impact, too.
"The support divisions... Hornets, Street Stock and Vans... are easy to get into and loads of fun. We expect some great action and excitement from them this year... again," Deery said.

Fans also can follow along during qualifying and racing events on their phones by downloading the "MYLAPS LIVE TIMING WIFI" app before coming to the track. When arriving at the track, open the app and connect to server, port 60000 and click connect in the app. The free app presents live timing data and running positions.  

Fans also have one last chance to obtain the "Fan Super Punch Card."
This offer Expires April 14. The cost has increased to $125, but is still a great deal which breaks down to $10.40 per admission. Users get 12 admission punches on this card. Use them all on one night, some, or just one. With weekly admission at either $12.50, or $13.50, your savings is a minimum of $25 by purchasing the card. Cards expire Sept. 1, and are not valid on June 30, or July 28. Contact the office at 608-786-1525 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The annual "Media Day" practice is scheduled Saturday, April 14.  This is the first official practice date for race teams to test on the track in 2018. The pit gate opens at 10 a.m., practice runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
It's called Media Day, as local media are invited out to take videos, photos, get interviews and an insight on the new season. Grandstands are open for anyone to watch for free.

In recent years, fans have had opportunities to save money at the track during most events, or get something free. "Free stuff" will continue this year, as well as weekly savings coupons through our email newsletters, the U.S. Postal Service Direct Mailing List or our social media channels (Facebook & Twitter).
If you're not already a subscriber to any or all of these, be sure to do so before the season gets started so you don't miss out on any great deals. Get a complete summary of the promotions at our website's Promotions Page.
For more information about the La Crosse Speedway, or the 2018 season, contact the office at 608-786-1525 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway is a proud NASCAR Hometrack, part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series -

It's a dream I wish Packers, Rodgers would consider

There is no way this would come about in today's world, but it's still fun to think about. At least for me... maybe other Green Bay Packers' fans, too.
For sure, there's been plenty of news about NFL free agency in recent days. Player releases and acquisitions are hot topics.
The most notable move so far has been the Minnesota Vikings signing quarterback Kirk Cousins to, believe it or not, a "guaranteed" three-year, $84 million contract. According to reports,  there's actually $6 million more awaiting Cousins if he attains his incentives. How much money does a person need nowadays?
So, where does this leave Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers' franchise quarterback and perhaps the best quarterback in the NFL?
As I said, this won't happen, but it's what I would like to see.  Rodgers has two years left on his present contract, but talks have already begun about reaching an extension. The Packers wanted to get it done sooner rather than later, but Rodgers wasn't in any hurry. He and his agent were extremely smart playing the waiting game, especially now with the NFC North rival Cousins becoming the highest paid player in the league.
Rodgers is a California kid, and I'm sure, like most of us, he doesn't enjoy Wisconsin winters, but I would personally like to see him on the Packer sideline after his long, storied, playing career. You only had to watch him on the sideline while his surgically repaired collarbone healed last year to get a glimpse of what his future could hold. He coached Brett Hundley like a only a high-quality quarterback can. Rodgers showed excitement and enthusiasm, and without question, relayed advice to head coach Mike McCarthy, the supposed QB guru.
I say why not sign Rodgers to a lifetime player contract, one which he is guaranteed to always be the highest paid player in the league. The simplest way is to include a clause adding $1 more to his contract whenever another player surpasses the amount.
And, while the NFLPA may come into play, it would be nice to guarantee Rodgers as Green Bay's quarterback coach when he decides to retire.
Who knows? After a few years, elevate him to offensive coordinator. Shucks, maybe even to head coach some day, if he's willing.
I know. It's just a far-fetched dream. Rodgers may never want to consider it anyway. But watching him unable to play, while still bringing energy and enthusiasm to the team during his weeks on injured reserve, give me reason for hope.

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