ST. CLOUD - A St. Cloud woman who has been playing tackle football for 18 years is finally getting her shot at a world championship. Michele Braun is a center on the offensive line for the "Minnesota Vixen". They are the longest continually operating women's tackle football team in the nation.

On Saturday Braun and the Vixen will face the Utah Falconz in Charlotte, North Carolina for the "Independent Women's Football League" championship. Braun says their opponents are tough.

Utah was in the championship game last year. They lost to the eventual champions, which was the Pittsburgh Passion. We know that Utah is a very fast team. They run a flexbone wishbone offense. It's definitely going to give us a run for our money.

There are 36 teams nationwide in the "Independent Women's Football League".

Braun says the Vixen practice in Bloomington, and they play their home games at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights. They are undefeated going into the championship game. It's the first time the Vixen have played in the championship game.

Cynthia "Red" Bryant, and #48 Jodi "Moose" Rehlander and Michele Braun.

Braun says it's her teammates that have kept her coming back for 18 years.

The love of the sport of football. I've loved it ever since I was a kid. Also, we have such a fantastic group of women, we have such a fantastic coaching staff and owners. We have a huge influx of rookies this season that have really made it fun and exciting and energizing.

Braun says the players only get paid if the team makes a profit, and the players have to pay a fee to play. She says over 1,000 fans came out to watch their last playoff game.

For her day job, Braun is a personal trainer at Fitness Evolution in Sartell and St. Cloud.

Minnesota Vixen, photo courtesy of Michele Braun