Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.
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Editor's note: This is the third part in a series about extreme sports. WACOUTA - Nestled in between the lush valleys of the Mississippi River lives Lake Pepin. Glimpses of the past merge with modern-day thrills, making the lake a lifelong oasis for visitors and residents alike. The self-proclaimed "birthplace of waterskiing" holds a massive history of tall tales, tragedy, triumphs and, for the aqua-crazed, water sports. Lake Pepin dweller Kyle Mehrkens has resided in Wacouta his entire life.
DIAMOND BLUFF, Wis. - Unincorporated communities have always intrigued me. Sometimes mistaken for a old-fashioned ghost town, the non-city's mysterious components and complex characters - surviving in the smallest of numbers - gives passersby a glimpse of communal kinship. Traveling over the Mississippi River past the bluffs of Red Wing, I cruised northbound on the Great River Road of Wisconsin Highway 35. Limestone-lined bluffs reflecting a cloudless sky's sun captivated my photographic eye on the easy 10-minute drive to Diamond Bluff.
Midwest summers are short - too short for most water-crazed river worshipers.
A half marathon is equivalent to the 52.4 laps on a track, 230.6 lengths of a football field or 432.2 laps in a swimming pool or, for my liking, 30.9 rounds of disc golf at Memorial Park. However you measure the distance, one thing is for sure: 13.1 miles is a hefty distance for any human to conquer. This past weekend I had the pleasure of partaking in the annual Red Wing River City Ramble. Established in 1983, the race began as a 5K and 10K event, managed and developed by the Red Wing YMCA as a fundraiser for various youth programs.
From hockey player to country singer, Chad Brownlee's surprising resume and ties to Red Wing will all come together this weekend. The Canadian-born singer started a career on the ice rather than the stage. Brownlee was the sixth-round draft pick by the Vancouver Canucks in 2003.
Not many people can take a trip to Madison, Wis., for lunch and be back in time for dinner - unless you're traveling by air. For Red Wing native and licensed pilot Josh Bauer, the short trip was made when he and a friend were bored and hungry. A strong interest in aviation began when Bauer was young. "I remember taking family trips when I was younger and thought that the idea of being a pilot was extremely fascinating," he said, "I was amazed that people could actually make a career out of being a pilot" Childhood fantasies turned into attainable dreams when Bauer became a teenager.
With River City Days right around the corner, take a sneak peek at the art and entertainment opportunities available for the festive weekend Aug. 4-7. The annual arts and crafts fair will open Saturday Aug. 5 from 10 a.m. 6 p.m. at the Levee Park and continue Sunday until 4 p.m. Featuring regional and local vendors with wall-to-wall tents, the event offers everything from eclectic lawn ornaments, handmade jewelry, tie-die clothing, children's toys and savory scents and mouth-watering food items. Calling all young artists ... to the Kids Kraft Tent at the Bay Point Park.
The Spirit of Tuskegee, a World War II trainer Stearman biplane, made a pit stop at the Red Wing Airport Thursday, July 21. Originally from Minnesota, owners Matt and Tina Quy now live in California and are en route to Washington, D.C., where the open-cockpit plane will be placed in the Smithsonian. "Halfway from California to D.C. is Minnesota, so it was a perfect place to stop," said Tina - a Lake City native. In November 1944, Boeing Stearman Army Air Corps Serial No. 42-17724 rolled off the Wichita, Kan. assembly line.
FRONTENAC - Highway 61 South winds through bluffs and valleys to insurmountable beauty and, on this scorching sun soaking day, to the tale of two cities -- depending on your demographic definition. Fourteen minutes from Red Wing, you can stumble upon the mysteriously charming world of Frontenac. Calling the community a city is a stretch, even for the most optimistic. The tiny gathering of residents - both of them - are proudly specified as Frontenac Station and Old Frontenac. Located as one name, Florence Township, on the U.S.
STOCKHOLM - Locally born and raised, my Red Wing roots perhaps were tapped with an undeniable love and appreciation for our fortunate surrounding splendor. Thrilled with the opportunity to explore a village unlike any other I have known, I willingly crossed the border with no honest temptations to speed -- just grateful to follow the arrows directing me along America's Byway. Gentle curves of the Great River Road took me south along Wisconsin Highway 35 past underrated scenic overlooks and historic markers. Tempted to stop, I kept to the task at hand and voyaged on with soaring eagles a