Sixty years of Snowshoe Baseball
‘Dazzle’s Demons’ event to raise funds, awareness
By Eileen Persike
Snowshoe Baseball is celebrating 60 years in the Northwoods this summer. Though the games are played in Lake Tomahawk the sport has deep roots in Rhinelander, where games were played on frozen area lakes in the 1950s.
One of the sports’ longest standing teams is Dazzle’s Demons, named after Dennis “Dazzle” Robinson, who passed away in 2012. Dazzle’s sons, Jesse and Jamie are the third generation of the Robinson family to play snowshoe baseball.
“It feels great to continue in my father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, especially alongside my brothers Jamie and Jeff,” Jesse Robinson said. “I made it my mission to have the Navy let me come home almost every summer while I was on active duty so that I could play just one game. Additionally, I’m a sucker when it comes to traditions.”
Lake Tomahawk on the Fourth of July for the snowshoe baseball game and fireworks, followed by ice cream at the Korner Drive Inn is one of his favorites.
In honor of the sport’s milestone anniversary, Robinson is organizing a charity event to not only raise awareness of Rhinelander’s significance in snowshoe baseball history, but help out three Rhinelander non-profit organizations.
“We have always wanted to do something special for Snowshoe Baseball and for the community, but I haven’t lived here since I was 18 so we never really had the opportunity until now,” Robinson said.
All proceeds will benefit Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing (NATH), the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry and the Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
Dazzle’s Demons was formed in the early 2000s – Robinson isn’t sure of the exact year – when the league director at the time asked Dazzle to form a team. Jesse, who was in middle school at the time, was put in charge of contacting his dad’s old softball buddies and forming the team.
“As they got older it turned into mine and Jamie’s friends who knew Dazzle, and now it’s a mix of buddies from throughout the Northwoods who are just fun to play with, good players (who can run in snowshoes) and represent the team well,” he said.
The fundraising goal is $6,060; the event takes place the day before the start of Hodag Country Fest, 5-10 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, at Bucketheads Bar and Grill. There will be live music, limited edition event t-shirts available, raffles including cash, country fest tickets and snowshoes. In addition, Bucketheads will be donating $1 from every meal sold all week and will be offering drink specials at the event. Other sponsors include Shoeder’s RV and Marine, All Surface Painting, Phoenix Counseling and American Family Insurance agent Chad Swanson.
Dazzle’s Demons take on the Lake Tomahawk Snow Hawks 7:30 p.m. at Snowshoe Park Monday, July 12. Get there early for a seat on the bleachers and a slice of the town’s homemade pie.