Fond of Winning
From hockey sticks to soccer balls, from blades to boards, Fond du Lac is where champions play. We’re home to winning athletes and teams, we host national tournaments, and support excellence in a wide, wide world of sports. This is also a region where people and families love to get out, get active and even get competitive. And it’s a place where some of us work up a sweat just watching the action with a brat and a beer.
Whether you’re a die-hard baseball fan or just want to have a blast with family and friends, you gotta get out to a Dock Spiders game. Fond du Lac has been home to organized baseball since 1891, with teams like the Webfoots, Mudhens, Molls, and Panthers. We hit a speed bump in 1953 though, and it took until 2017 to get baseball back. The Fond du Lac Dock Spiders are now the chosen ones. They’re a dominant member of the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league comprised of teams from Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Canada, and made up of top college players from all around the country. Since entering the Northwoods League, the Dock Spiders have already won two NWL titles in their four-year existence!
If the Blue Angels dropped from the sky, strapped on skates and danced on the ice, they might just make the Fond du Lac Blades program, based at the Blue Line Family Ice Center. This is where skaters of multiple age levels and abilities have the opportunity to explore and excel at the sport of synchronized skating. The teams range from Beginners to Junior level, and the budding athletes come from multiple cities, from Milwaukee to Green Bay. Blades teams have competed and medaled locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally – recently taking home the Bronze Medal at the Mozart Cup in Salzburg, Austria in January, 2022.
The Fond du Lac Bears are our men’s semi-pro ice hockey team playing in the Great Lakes Hockey League, an elite amateur, senior men’s, full-contact league affiliated with USA Hockey. Players are at least 18 years of age and most have previous college, Junior, or semi-pro experience. There are nine teams in the league. Teams are all based in Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. (Yeah, the U.P. – but no worries.) The Bears are a top team with a long record of success, including being the 2009 National Champions, and the 2012 and 2014 GLHL Tournament Champions. Be sure to catch a game at the Blue Line Ice Center!
Anyone who knows their knickers from a hole in the ground knows the golf courses in and around Fond du Lac offer a rich variety of first-class and championship level play. Among them are Rolling Meadows, Whispering Springs, The Rock Golf Course, The Golf Club at Camelot, and the amazing Whistling Straits, the 18-hole tournament-quality course sculpted along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. It was rated 4½ stars by Golf Digest, and in 2021, hosted the 43rd Ryder Cup, which, of course, was won by Team USA and Wisconsin’s own Captain Steve Stricker.
Visit Fond du Lac’s amazing 53-acre soccer complex and find out. The Fond du Lac Soccer Complex is a premier soccer field that includes two fully lit, 11×11 fields. It’s managed by the Fond du Lac Soccer Association (FDLSA), a non-profit youth organization that offers soccer opportunities for both youth and adults, which includes over 1,700 players (1,500 of those are ages 3-18) in recreational leagues, travel leagues, and adult leagues). In addition, the complex is host to many regional tournaments, as well as soccer camps and clinics throughout the season.
Among its many assets, Lake Winnebago is a perfect place to go windsurfing. It’s large, relatively shallow & has launch-friendly sites all around it. In summer and winter, this lake creates irresistibly challenging conditions for all levels of sailors. Among the WSfers who chase the wind on Winnebago is Fond du Lac’s Kevin Gratton, 2006 Windsurfer of the Year, Principle Race Officer for the 2008 US Windsurfing Nationals, and Advisor for the 2014 US Windsurfing Nationals. This dude has been a race director since the mid-80s and has won multiple National Windsurfing titles. We have been dubbed “The World’s Icekiting Mecca” by the World Ice and Snow Sailing Association athletes during their time competing here in international competitions.
It is said that a couple of centuries ago, sturgeon were so common, they were considered nuisance fish and would be discarded from fishing nets. Not so now, hey? Lake Winnebago is now prized as home to one of the largest lake sturgeon populations in North America and is the only location where lake sturgeon can be harvested with a spear. The largest specimen on record, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service, weighed 310 pounds. Be sure to look for what some call the premier winter festival in the Midwest, the Sturgeon Spectacular!
The Wisconsin Horseshoe Pitchers Association (WHPA), located in Fond du Lac, of course, is a non-profit organization that promotes organized horseshoe pitching in the State of Wisconsin. Yep, that’s what they do. And judging by how much we enjoy slinging a good shoe, they do a darn good job. The 2021 WHPA Hall of Fame Inductee – John Meyer of Fond du Lac, is a true champion in the sport. John won the Fond du Lac County Pitcher of the Year award in 1977 – and many still remember how he switched from pitching a flip to a 1¼ turn in 1978. Over the years, John has done a ton to support horseshoeing – and the Fond du Lac Horseshoeing Club – by helping to increase membership and reinvigorate the facility.
Contact Darcie Holte, the Director of Sales at Destination Lake Winnebago Region, for more information.