Lightning strike doesn’t keep music fan from Country Fest

Lightning in Neenah on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (ReportIt/Brad Birkholz)
Lightning in Neenah on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (ReportIt/Brad Birkholz)

CADOTT, Wis. (AP) – A Minnesota man who was struck by lightning didn’t let his injuries keep him from attending Country Fest in Wisconsin this weekend.

Gage Stroening, 19, said he had special passes for the event in Cadott, and he wasn’t about to let them go to waste Saturday.

“I’m just glad to be alive,” he said, his left arm in a sling. “It hurts to walk, but I’ve got pit passes to meet Randy Houser. I don’t have the energy like I did when I showed up, but I’m not missing these shows.”

Stroening, who’s from New Prague, Minnesota, was camping Friday when winds knocked a tent into his grill, tipping it over. He stepped on a hot plate and fell.

He hoisted himself back up by grabbing the metal framing under his camper, and that’s when the bolt struck, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (http://bit.ly/1mbwJzx ) reported.

“I remember everything – how it felt, and it felt terrible,” Stroening said. “Imagine grabbing onto an electrical fence, but it was 10 times worse than that – with a lot more juice. And I’ve grabbed onto a fence like that, so I know.”

He said he was knocked down and started having a seizure but regained consciousness quickly. He spent four hours in a hospital and was told to take it easy for a few days.

But Stroening had other plans.

“I had to see Carrie Underwood,” he said. “I’m not missing these shows.”

Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk told the newspaper another man received a minor hand burn while leaning against a trailer Friday during a lightning strike.

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