The American Birkebeiner is celebrating 50 years as a premiere winter event in Wisconsin. But what do you really know about its history here?
There’s a small Northern Wisconsin town, where the population typically grows to ten times its size every February.
“Hayward is usually home to 2600 people,” Blair Flickinger with the foundation for the American Birkebeiner says. “But during the American Birkebeiner, or “The Birkie” as it’s often called, the number increases to 30 thousand people.”
The cross-country skiing marathon started with about two dozen people carving a trail between Hayward and Cable, 50 years ago. The original event was considered a tribute to the ski culture of Norway, a country already hosting its own Birkebeiner. The Norway race is close to 100 years old today.
Yet, those involved with the younger Hayward marathon, claim there’s nothing like it.
“There’s a camaraderie unlike anywhere else,” Flickinger says. “A camaraderie between people who come to Northern Wisconsin from around the world. And it makes everyone feel like Hayward is their special spot for the week.”
That alone, makes “The Birkie” a terrific story for the state.
But add on the growth it is now experiencing by including other races throughout the year, and you have a real Slice of Wisconsin!
Bonus coverage: Jane Matenaer, host of the Matenaer on Air show across the Civic Media radio network, recently talked with Sean Connelly, Marketing and Communications Director of “The Birkie” to learn how the warmer than usual weather could impact the race, and what kind of options are already in place. You can listen to her complete interview here.
Brewers spent $1.5 million lobbying legislature, got $365.8 million in state funds
2/23/2024 | Peter Cameron / The Badger Project
The Brewers negotiated a deal for the state to pay hundreds of millions for renovations to its field in exchange for staying in Milwaukee through 2050.
Three Madison golf courses to open Sunday
2/23/2024 | Nate Wegehaupt
Online reservations for three of Madison’s four golf courses are open now, and the fourth golf course will open next week.
Mayor Blaser on Primary Election and What He Hopes To Accomplish While Still in Office
2/23/2024 | Melissa Kaye
Mayor Blaser talks with James Malouf on Mid-day Magazine about low turnout at Spring Primary and the Bridge Lights Project
Wisconsin Ethics Committee Recommends Felony Charges Against Trump-Linked PAC, Racine County D.A Responds
2/23/2024 | Stuart J. Wattles
Racine, Wis (Civic Media) – A bipartisan ethics committee in Wisconsin has recommended felony charges against a political action committee associated with former President Trump and Republicans in the state. The Racine County District Attorney put out a statement this morning saying she will review the accusations and make a decision. The State Ethics Commission […]
Chippewa Valley Emergency Department Funding Gets Approved
2/23/2024 | James Kelly
Proposed legislation to reallocate $15 million to Chippewa Valley emergency departments was approved by the State Assembly and Senate. The legislation will now be passed on to Wisconsin Governor Evers, who is expected to give it final approval. The funding is meant to provide a temporary solution for Chippewa Valley residents amid the impending closure […]