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Ernie St. Germaine

Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe

Induction Category:

Year Inducted




Ernie St. Germaine has been an athlete most of his life. Born in 1948 to Frank and Saxon
(Benjamin) St. Germaine. He is enrolled in the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe Tribe. He lettered in
three sports in high school and went on to play college baseball at UW Eau Claire. He continued
playing baseball for teams including the Eau Claire Merchants, Exeland Braves and Dillworth
A’s. He coached high school baseball and summer leagues and high school golf.
St. Germaine organized and led youth organizations and summer camps including Great Lakes
Anishinaabe Youth Leadership Institute and Great Lakes Running Strong for American Indian
Youth supported by Billy Mills and Christian Relief Service. He also led the Summer Survival
Camp for high school youth with UW-La Crosse for nearly 10 years.
St. Germaine has organized and run several Run Series including the 2023 Bimibaatoo Ziigwan
(Spring Run) Series at Lac Courte Oreilles together with the American Birkebeiner Foundation.
The six week event averaged over 75 participants with over 400 total participants.
St. Germaine considers his most notable accomplishment as being the last surviving Founder of
the American Birkebeiner Ski Race that takes place in February each year. The American
Birkebeiner (Birkie) is a race founded by Tony Wise of Hayward in 1973. The event is a 55
Kilometer (over 34 miles) marathon Nordic Ski Race. St. Germaine started and finished that first
race though never having been on Nordic skis before that day. And though he swore never ever
to do anything so foolish again, he was there at the start line in the second year, the third,
fourth…in fact, he has skied every American Birkebeiner since that first race and will ski his
50th race in February 2024 never having missed one. The event was canceled in 2000 and 2017
due to lack of snow. Of the original 11 Founders who skied each of the first 10 events, St.
Germaine is the last surviving Founder.
He continues to train daily on his bike and trail hiking in warm months and skiing during the
winter ski season.

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