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Waupaca Foundry

Aug 19, 2022

A Cast Iron Medallion Solidifies the Heart of a Community and it's Triathlon

Karter Kaminske | Waupaca Foundry

The Waupaca Area Triathlon is more than a race; it binds the community

The Triathlon takes place each summer in picturesque Waupaca, WI. Beginning in 2001, the community event offers a short and long course and draws up to 900 competitors. Event organizers added the Kid’s Triathlon in 2005 drawing 200 participants annually, which gives youth the opportunity to compete as well as create family memories that will last a lifetime. Many youth competitors advance from the Kid’s Triathlon to the Waupaca Area Triathlon as soon as eligible. Ten percent of competitors come from out of state to participate and experience the scenery that only Waupaca has to offer.                                           

The course features scenic views of Shadow Lake, the Midwestern countryside, and downtown Waupaca. The triathlon promotes a healthy and active lifestyle in the community. This event was designed to empower and challenge all fitness levels, offering a family-friendly event where beginner and advanced triathletes compete. The community comes together and unties in all the joys that the triathlon has to offer.

Employee passes on work ethic to children, now also Waupaca Foundry employees.

Waupaca Area Triathlon sets itself apart from the other events in a variety of different ways. Its influence on the Waupaca-King community is evidenced in pre-, day-of, and post-event. The Waupaca Area Triathlon reimburses the City of Waupaca for the expenses incurred to operate the annual triathlon. The triathlon board of directors also offers scholarships to health and fitness-minded high school seniors.

The event is heavily organized and managed by volunteers. There are 1000+ volunteer hours donated to plan the route, measure the course, prepare and process race forms and registration, organize the race from start to finish, arrange for medical personnel, announce results and hand out awards, and more.

Among the long list of volunteers, local organizations and businesses provide support to ensure a successful triathlon, including but not limited to ThedaCare, First State Bank, Fleet Farm, Farmers State Bank, Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce, and Waupaca Foundry.
Upon registration, racers receive a gift package including a t-shirt, timing chip, bib number, and local business swag. Once the contestants cross the finish line results are posted immediately. For the Waupaca Area Triathlon, local metalcaster, Waupaca Foundry proudly supports the community event with a cast iron medallion awarded to contestants. The iron casting supplier also waves the admission fee for any team member that competes in the race. In past years around a dozen, foundry workers have signed up to take part in this event.

Together, Waupaca Foundry and Alliance Industries collaborate to provide an award medallion for each participant. The medallion is made of gray iron and the design commemorates the completion of the race. The tradition started in 2018 with the first-ever hand-poured gray iron medallions. Ryan Hansch Waupaca Foundry Tooling Launch Manager is entering his fourth year designing the medallions. Alliance Industries add the finishing touch to the medallions with a silver powder coat finish to prevent rust or tarnish. The cast iron medallion weighs one pound and is a nod to the iron foundry roots that is Waupaca, Wisconsin.

“The people want something they can take home with them,” said Randy Oconnell a member of the triathlon board. This unique award made of cast iron sparks a smile when contestants cross the finish line and earn recognition for the hours of training and discipline.

Waupaca Foundry is proud to give back to its community and be a part of the Waupaca Area Triathlon all the while, supporting the interests of its team.

Since the inception of the event, triathlon organizers have reinvested $156,000 back into the community to enrich and promote the area. Beneficiaries have included local non-profits, student clubs, and civic groups. It is extraordinary to see all the volunteer efforts result in community improvement and unity!

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