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WAUSAU (WAOW) -- When Phillip "Flip" Merwin died in a snowmobile accident in 2003, tragedy struck his family and friends.
"He put so much into everything he did and touched so many people's lives," life-long friend Scott Wimmer said.
Although Flips loss was devastating, Wimmer says they knew they needed to turn it into something positive. That's why this weekend is all about honoring Flip's passion for the sport.
"It's what he would want. He's looking down on this and can't believe what he's seeing," Wimmer said.
Flip's father, Ralph, started the Wausau 525 Snowmobile Championships eight years ago. He says it started out small, holding the races on a local lake. And now, it's grown into something much more.
"Great tribute to him, keeps his memory going," Ralph said.
"He left such a mark on not only myself but so many other people," Wimmer said.
Wimmer goes on to say the history of the Wausau 525 is similar to Flip's career.
"We had our first race at a little track in Gleason and then ended up at the world snowmobile championships," Wimmer recalls.
Although his life-long friend is no longer here, he says he will continue to honor him in the best way he knows how. And Ralph looks around at the thousand of people in attendance, he can't help but remember his son, either.
"The people involved, the families, the drivers, the spectators..that was his favorite part," Ralph says.
"You look back in the stories, we were just lucky enough to have him for 28 years because he gave us 28 great ones," Wimmer said.
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