WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) – It was a busy weekend in the Greater Wausau area for winter sports enthusiasts. The Badger State Games hosted four events over the past four days in Marathon County, including curling, figure skating, Nordic skiing and youth hockey.
“We want to bring people to the Greater Wausau area and show them our different attractions and have them have a weekend,” said Nick Ockwig, director of Badger State Games.
Curling took place at the Wausau Curling Center. Nordic skiing was practiced near Granite Peak. The figure skating took place in Mosinee. Youth hockey was held outside of Marathon Park. Ockwig said he was pleased with the turnout.
“The number of athletes has been phenomenal,” Ockwig said. “With COVID going on and Omicron, I was optimistic and once again very happy with the turnout and turnout.”
The Badger State Games hold events throughout the year that draw throngs of attendees and fans to the Wausau area. Ockwig says this weekend’s games brought people from Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan. The influx to Wausau is a huge boost for the economy.
“Having events, you can actually point fingers and say, yeah, there were 5,000 people in town, that’s great for business,” Ockwig said. “They go to restaurants and to all of our business and commercial partners on Rib Mountain Drive or Downtown Wausau. They love all events like.
This is a particularly important year for the curling event. This year marks 100 years of sport in Wausau.
“We are thrilled to partner with Badger State Games and bring 30 teams from across the state to compete,” said Bobby Splinter, the curling event organizer.
Curling has a large following in Wisconsin in particular, especially a week before the start of the Winter Olympics. Even for those less familiar with the sport, it’s a friendly competition that emphasizes that togetherness.
“The number one rule of curling that we like to say is have a beer with the other team after you win or lose,” Splinter said. “It’s a very social sport and a great way to get active in the winter, socialize and make friends.”
For more information on future Badger State Games events, or to register, go here.
Copyright 2022 WSAW. All rights reserved.