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‘Hodag Calling Contest’ celebrates Rhinelander’s mythical symbol

The all-ages event was part of the final day of the Hodag Heritage Festival
A panel of three judges, including the Hodag himself, provided scoring for the contest.
A panel of three judges, including the Hodag himself, provided scoring for the contest.(WSAW)
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 8:21 PM CDT
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RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) - On the final day of the Hodag Heritage Festival, contestants of all ages lined up to take the stage in Pioneer Park in Rhinelander to offer their best Hodag calls.

Saturday marked the first rendition of the ‘Hodag Calling Contest’, a new event for kids and adults alike. The rules were simple: make your best call to the mythical creature that has become synonymous with Rhinelander and is the center of the festivities this week.

The calls were scored by a trio of judges on a scale of one to ten. Over 20 contestants joined in on the fun, something organizers thought made it a success.

“It was an absolute hit. It was amazing,” said Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce Event Coordinator Rachel Boehlen. “I think there were 25 or 30 people that entered which was great because you could be two, you could be 99 so it doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s just come and have fun.”

The winner of the contest received a $50 gift certificate to The Hodag Store in Rhinelander, as well as a gold medal.

The contest was a part of the final day of the weeklong celebration of the creature. Saturday’s events included historic reenactments, games, booths, a concert and more. Boehlen says the final day was a perfect example of people’s pride in the city and its history.

“It’s fun to see everyone come out and enjoy the hodag and as I said, I think it’s because there’s so much pride in the area,” said Boehlen.

For more information on the festival, visit here.

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