Badger State Games make summer debut in central Wis. - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Badger State Games make summer debut in central Wis.

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

For the first time, the Badger State Games are taking place in central Wisconsin and more than one thousand athletes are hitting the track, wrestling mat and bowling lane.

Wrestlers from across the state gathered at Wausau West High School to try and pin down a gold medal.

"It's good competition here. I had a lot of tough matches today," Anthony Rottier from Pulaski said.

And organizers said he's one of hundreds who traveled to the Wausau are to compete in the summer games.

"We also get a lot of walk-ins, too so we're estimating about a 500 thousand dollar impact," Executive Director Darien Shaefer said.

This is the first time the games have been held in central Wisconsin. The Wausau CVB won the bid back in October.

"It takes facilities and it takes passionate groups to really make these events successful," Schaefer said.

One of those facilities-- Coral Lanes in Rothschild where bowlers hit the lanes and opened their wallets.

"These bowlers are coming in, having a little lunch, maybe a beverage at the bar...I think it really helps everybody as a whole," Owner Penny Drake said.

She added that the Badger State Games add a much needed boost during a slow season. "This is always a good addition for us to keep things rolling."

And the summer games are a big draw. Many athletes travel for hours and book hotel rooms, turning a day of competition into a weekend getaway.

"It's nice to get away from home and like I said it's nice to see the people that you only get to see once a year," Madison bowler Karine Aslakson said.

Badger State Games organizers said that's the point.

"That impact trickles down from the hotels, to the restaurants," Schaefer said.

The summer games wrap up Sunday.

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