Wisconsin has a history and culture that is rife with interesting pockmarks and tidbits that make up America’s Dairyland. The first thing that comes to everyones mind is cheese when talking about Wisconsin, in all fairness, the entire state is full of beer and cheese culture. There’s something lurking under that layer though, an honesty that may be smothered in cheese, but like a good sundried tomato, can really shine through it. For those that need more of an excuse to head straight to Wisconsin other than beer and cheese, we have talked with a few experts on the Badger State.
Madison isn’t all Garbage and Grunge though, the cities interest in sports shines in their unique and individualistic endeavors such as the Badgerland Baseball Championships or the Wisconsin Milkman Triathlon. Even unconventional sports get a great chance in Madison, Frankel detailed the Roller Derby scene, “Madison has had a league for more than ten years [who] play at Alliant Energy Center Coliseum.” New sports like Lacrosse and Rugby also continue to grow in the area thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This city has a great sports scene that is diversely spread among all sports which is definitely different from most locations.
Speaking of unusual sports, let’s take a look at Hayward, where we talked with Diane McNamer, Executive Director of the World Lumberjack Championships, about a few of their events, “We put on world-class events every single year, it’s huge.” We’ve already told you all about the World Lumberjack Championships but that’s not the only internationally known event held in Hayward. “We have the American Birkebeiner, there are 10,000 skiers that do a 32-mile course over hill-and-dale and even over lakes.” This small town in northern Wisconsin not only holds lumberjack competitions and cross-country ski races but is also home to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and the annual Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival which is the largest mass-start mountain bike race in the US.
In an era of craft breweries it can be easy to forget that Milwaukee was once the top beer producing city in the entire world. Miller Brewing Company still stands strong in the city and is responsible for the creation of a majority of the city’s beer culture. Without the Milwaukeean spirit we may not have had Happy Days or Laverne and Shirley, then where would American sitcoms be? Maybe it’s a stretch to say that beer is what gave us the American sitcom but Milwaukee is still an important fixture in beer and entertainment. Looking at the Wisconsin music scene, again we see a swath of important music idols hailing from Milwaukee: Steve Miller, The Violent Femmes, Al Jarreau, and Les Paul, that’s right, that guy isn’t just a guitar name. Les Paul was a guitar legend, recording innovator, and basically shaped rock and roll in the early 20th century. Thanks Milwaukee for beer and rock and roll.
The Midwest has a great deal of dichotomous states, Wisconsin is a bit more complicated than that. This is a dynamic area with dualities that intermingle with one another with only slight degrees of separation that happen to complement one another: lumberjacks and grunge, beer and cheese, large towns and small cities. Wisconsin is a breeding ground of American motifs, it’s so honest about itself that it can’t be cliche, it has a heart to it unlike any other state.