Thursdays @ the U

Thursday, April 25, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
UW-Eau Claire – Barron County
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Barron County
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"Legend of the Birkie"
Tom Kelly, public relations consultant

Tom Kelly is one of America's noted Olympic storytellers whose “Behind the Gold” speaking series has brought stories to audiences around the world. A Madison native, Kelly was an award-winning news photographer before moving to northwestern Wisconsin in the mid-1970s to do public relations for the then-fledgling Birkie and the prosperous Telemark Lodge. He left Telemark in 1984, beginning a career with the U.S. Ski Association in 1988, forging a 32-year career as spokesperson for America's Olympic skiers and snowboarders.  You can hear his talk, “The Legend of the Birkie” from noon-1 p.m. at the UW Eau Claire Barron County campus, in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall (Ritzinger 234). 

As he will discuss, the American Birkebeiner had its origins in the vision of a local entrepreneur in Hayward, Tony Wise, who wanted to bring the legend of a similar race in his ancestral Norway to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Kelly, who wrote the book Birkie Fever to document the early years of the race, will give insights into Wise's entrepreneurial spirit and piece together the puzzle of the magic that has kept the Birkie in the forefront of America's participant sport culture for nearly a half-decade. 

Lecture attendees are welcome to bring their lunch to the presentation.


Thursdays @ the U lecture series will run throughout the spring semester. The series, partly funded by the UW-Barron County Foundation, will explore topics in the arts, sciences, public affairs, literary fields and cultural areas. While hosting a variety of speakers, the university does not seek to endorse or promote a particular idea, opinion, topic or product over others.

These lectures are free and open to the public.  

Download (471.5K) Thursdays at the U_POSTER_S19.pdf
Tom Kelly
Blue Hills Lecture Hall (Room 234) located in Ritzinger Hall.
Thursdays @ the U 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
UW-Eau Claire – Barron County
1800 College Dr. Rice Lake, WI 54868
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