ULTRA Snowmobile Club hosts inaugural DL-Vergas ride
Forty sleds of varying sizes, makes and models gathered at the Becker County Fairgrounds Saturday morning for the inaugural Classic Cruise hosted by the ULTRA Snowmobile Club.
"Somebody suggested that we put together a vintage ride -- so we did," was the simple explanation given by organizer Wayne Schlauderaff for how the new event came about.
Though no snowmobile that didn't qualify was excluded from participating, the ride was specifically geared toward sleds that were of 1980s vintage or older, Schlauderaff said.
There was also no age restriction placed on the riders participating.
"It's an all-ages, all model event," he added.
As for why it was called the "Classic Cruise" instead of a "Vintage Ride," Schlauderaff said, "We didn't want people to confuse it with our Vintage Snowmobile Rally in February."
The United Lakes & Trail Riders Association (ULTRA) Snowmobile Club holds a Vintage Snowmobile Rally every February on the ice of Little Detroit Lake, adjacent to the city beach.
Unlike Saturday's Classic Cruise to Vergas, for which there was no charge to participate, the Vintage Rally is one of the club's major fundraisers of the year.
"It's our big moneymaker," Schlauderaff said.
The 10th annual Vintage Rally is set for Feb. 16 -- smack dab in the middle of Detroit Lakes' 10-day Polar Fest celebration, which is becoming a popular time for area clubs to host snowmobile events, he added.
By contrast, Saturday's Classic Cruise could be described as "just a fun ride," Schlauderaff said.
In order to make participating in the Classic Cruise as easy as possible, Schlauderaff obtained a state permit for the event -- which meant that the riders did not have to purchase individual trail permits for the day.
"Vintage (snowmobiling) is growing so big, so popular, that there are more shows around here than ever," he added. "So many people have vintage sleds around here now, that we just wanted to give them an opportunity to take them out for a good time."
And that's just what they did. The riders left the county fairgrounds around 11 a.m., and by 1 p.m., they were at Billy's Bar in Vergas, which was their ultimate destination before making the loop back to Detroit Lakes.
Though the majority of the riders were local, Schlauderaff said that several came from Fargo, Moorhead and Grand Forks -- and there was even one rider from Cloquet, Minn., who just happened to be his brother-in-law, Wade Gordon.
"It's his birthday today," Schlauderaff said with a smile of anticipation for making it a memorable one.
For more information about the ULTRA Snowmobile Club and its upcoming events, visit the web page at www.ultradl.org, or check out their Facebook events page, listed under "Ultra Snowmobile Club."
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.