Workers prepare for the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in E - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Workers prepare for the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River

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EAGLE RIVER (WAOW) - The World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River runs through Sunday. Racers practiced Thursday. But, event owner Chuck Decker says he's been busy for months.

"Actually believe it or not, preparations start the day after the last race, so it really goes on for 365 days," said Decker.

He says about 200 workers help stage the races and 240 drivers will compete.

"We have many different groups and it's all got to flow together and work for all these different groups to get all the best drivers here in one weekend," said Decker.

In addition to the office work, track officials say there's plenty of other work to be done.

"As soon as it's cold weather they dump millions [of water]," said Jim Sergent, head flag man at the derby. "This year it was like 2.4 million gallons of water to create the racing surface for the race track."

Once the course gets covered by snow, grooming the track becomes a top priority to keep it safe for racers.

"It's a never ending thing," said Sergent. "I mean for snowcross they have snow machines. Those guns run all night. No snow is hauled in, just to make sure there's no rocks ... and shave shave shave to keep it smooth."

World-class snowmobilers can reach speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Racers say they notice the pristine conditions.

"It's in great shape," said Malcolm Chartier, a snowmobile driver. "There's a little bit of bumps, but you know they have great equipment - shavers and water trucks and they keep it in great shape."

It's when drivers take notice that Sergent says he feels a sense of pride.

"It's a great feeling come Sunday and you can look and see what it did for the community and everything, but it's nice when it's done," said Sergent. "It's a long weekend."

The championship race will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

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