Also a guy who lives on the Menominee by Piers Gorge. He has a small campground in his yard.
If you hang out at the wolf and the Peshtigo put-ins when the water and weather are decent in Wisconsin (Pesh is not far away at all), you will meet people. Wausau releases are also a good place to find people. Also look up the buttercup series of slalom racing.
Some of the folks from Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago head up north. I am part of the Chicago Whitewater Association. We have a website and a meetup board. Every so often, a northwoods trip is set up for people who boat at your level.
Do try to keep in contact with White Knight. If he and his friends have the patience and are in a teaching mood, it is likely that they can get you on the easier rivers or take you to the Slate (This might be pushing you a bit - you would want a creek boat and would want to take out above the canyon - not too bad of a walk on the trail to the takeout) or the Yellow Dog - easy to portage everything on that one.
In general, most of the rivers up north have a lot of flat or light rapids with the occasion big drop off the face of the earth. Often not too bad to portage. Finding someone to do laps on the Paint with you wouldn't be a bad way to get in shape for harder stuff. That one is a short little dam fed creek that gets you practice with technical drops.