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Gary Ridderbusch

Sports Sidelines

Gary Ridderbusch has been a sportswriter for more than 20 years.
He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or P.O. Box 1929, Eagle River, WI 54521.


Pond hockey is next national sporting event

By Gary Ridderbusch

While all eyes are on the 50th anniversary of the AMSOIL World Championship Snowmobile Derby this weekend, there’s another major sporting event set for Eagle River in February.

The eighth annual Labatt Blue/USA Hockey Pond Hockey National Championship will be held on 28 ice rinks located on Dollar Lake just east of Eagle River Feb. 8-10.

A record 346 teams from 27 states and Canada will participate in the event. Registration for the growing event closed in October. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 4:51 PM
Wisconsin Badgers come up short again

By Gary Ridderbusch

For the third straight season, the Wisconsin Badgers saw a late drive that could have tied the game fall  short in the Rose Bowl New Year’s Day.

Trailing by six in the game’s waning minutes, senior quarterback Curt Phillips led the Badgers’ charge but was intercepted just past midfield. That allowed No. 8 Stanford to run out the clock on a 20-14 win over the Badgers.

Some thought Barry Alvarez, who returned to the sideline of a game in which he went 3-0 as the Badgers’ boss from 1990 to 2005, would lead Wisconsin to victory this time.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 5:01 PM
Pines football, Bluejays softball lead sports stories

By Gary Ridderbusch

There were many exciting local sports stories for high school teams and individual athletes during 2012. The following were some of the highlights of the past year:

1. The Northland Pines football team, under first-year coach Eric Swanson, won the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference (WestPAC) with a 6-0 record. Swanson was named the WestPAC coach of the year and Eagles senior running back Austin Ramesh was named offensive player of the year.  However, the Eagles were upset at home by St. Croix Central 34-20 in Level 1 play-offs and finished 8-1 overall. Ramesh, who was named first-team All State, announced he would play his college football at the University of Wisconsin. He finished his career with 5,939 rushing yards.

Monday, December 31, 2012 2:12 PM
Phelps School to host unique hoops event

There will be a special athletic event in Phelps this week, as Phelps High School will host the second annual Best with the Least basketball tournament Thursday and Friday, Dec. 27-28, which will see the four smallest public school districts in the state compete for the coveted championship.
Mercer, Butternut and South Shore schools will join the Knights for the two-day tournament, where each team will be guaranteed two games with a semifinal, third-place

Monday, December 24, 2012 6:55 PM
Packers, Badgers keep football on top

By Gary Ridderbusch

The Green Bay Packers and University of Wisconsin Badgers will keep things interesting for Wisconsin football fans into January.

The Packers, after a slow start, have improved to 9-4 and clinched the NFC North Division with a 21-13 victory over the Chicago Bears Sunday. With the playoffs just three weeks away, it looks like the Packers are peaking at the right time, much like they did in their Super Bowl run in 2010 following a 10-6 regular season.

If the Packers can continue to overcome a rash of injuries with solid play from a bunch of reserves, plus get some starters back in time for the play-offs, look for the Green and Gold to make a nice run in post-season play this year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 8:04 PM
Hall of fame to honor 2013 inductees, Derby

By Gary Ridderbusch

The board of directors of the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain has announced the 2013 inductees, including Blair Morgan of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; John Zeglin of Delano, Minn.; Norman Ball III of Menominee Falls; and Bob Bracey of Almont, Mich.

This will be the 30th annual Ride With The Champs and the 26th annual induction ceremony. It will take place Saturday, Feb. 16, at Whitetail Inn in St. Germain as the evening event of the daylong Ride With the Champs, sponsored by Modine HotDawg Garage Heaters. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 3:31 PM
Kirsch of Three Lakes shares Santo stories
Jim Kirsch of Three Lakes displays many of his Ron Santo collectibles.                            —STAFF PHOTO


By Gary Ridderbusch

When Ron Santo was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., July 22, 2012, a longtime family friend was sitting among the special guests — Jim Kirsch of Three Lakes.

Kirsch grew up in Chicago and became good friends with the Santo family when he worked at Happy Day Stables in Chicago. Santo played third base for the Chicago Cubs from 1960 through 1973.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 5:00 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, December 04, 2012 6:49 PM )
Badgers must forget about tough losses

By Gary Ridderbusch

As a Wisconsin Badgers football fan, I have some mixed emotions about this weekend’s Big Ten Championship game against Nebraska. It’s great the Badgers are in the title game for the second straight year, but do they deserve to be there?

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema says he understands why a lot of people believe his Badgers don’t deserve to be playing in the Big Ten title game.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:25 PM
Growth in girls sports boosts participation level

Boosted by continued growth in several girls sports, participation in high school sports increased for the 23rd consecutive year in 2011-’12, according to the an- nual High School Athletics Participation Survey con- ducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).


Based on figures from the 51 NFHS-member state high school athletic/activity associations, which in­cludes the District of Columbia, sports participation for the 2011-’12 school year reached an all-time high of 7,692,520 participants — an increase of 24,565 from the previous year.


By Gary Ridderbusch

“In this time of ever-increasing financial challenges in our nation’s high schools, we are greatly encouraged to know that participation in high school sports continues to rise,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “With more than 55% of students enrolled in high schools participating in athletics, the value of these programs in an education-based setting continues to be significant.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 4:11 PM
It’s a new season for area sports teams

By Gary Ridderbusch

The changing of the season from fall to winter also means a new season for high school sports, with hockey, basketball and wrestling getting under way for players and coaches.

There were some exciting sports stories during the fall, including the Northland Pines football team winning a championship in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference (WestPAC) and the Northland Pines boys soccer team winning a Regional title.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 3:13 PM

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