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Giddy up, old timers: The classics gear up for annual run

The Old Timers Classic is known to bring in upwards of 3,000 riders if the weather is good. The Midnight Riders Association puts on the event, which also doubles as its one and only fundraiser for the year. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)1 / 2
The Old Timers Run begins in Lake Park and makes seven other stops along the way. The all-day event features a family-friendly, slow ride around Lakes Country. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 2

It’s an event that’s been known to draw in thousands of old snowmobiles and their proud owners — the Midnight Rider’s Old Timers Classic.

The annual event is coming up on Saturday, Feb. 1, starting at the Lake Park Liquor Store.

“We get people coming from all around four or five states,” said Midnight Riders Association President Tom Holmes. “We even get people coming in from Florida and Texas who will come every year just for the Old Timers Run — it’s tradition for them.”

Holmes says the event is designed to showcase the classics, which will range from wood-cleated sleds from the 1930s to 1984, which is the cutoff to be considered “a classic.”

There will be 13 different trophy classes this year, which will be handed out before the ride starts.

Registration is at 8 a.m.; trophies will be presented at 10 a.m.; there will be a drivers’ meeting at 10:15, and 10:30 is “go time.”

“Depending on the weather, we’ve had as few as 400 riders and as many as 3,000,” said Holmes, who says on the good years, the takeoff from Lake Park is quite a sight.

“One minute you have all these snowmobiles, and the next there’s like 15 people left in the parking lot — everyone is off enjoying the trails,” said Holmes, who says there is no particular route designated.

But there are eight stops — the Lake Park Liquor Store, the Audubon Liquor Store, Pit 611 Sports Bar and Grill, Randy’s on Lake Eunice, Cormorant Inn, the Cormorant Sportsman’s Club, Roadhouse and Cormorant Pub.

All eight businesses will have prizes that will be given away in raffles. Each raffle ticket is $10, which buys all eight chances.

There are also WE Fest VIP tickets and camping up for grabs during the event.

“So we really hope that people buy some of those raffle tickets because they are our one and only fundraiser of the year,” said Holmes, adding that proceeds from the raffles goes towards trail maintenance and upkeep, as well as local charity organizations such as the Shriners, Lake Park baseball and the Roger Maris Cancer Center.

The Midnight Riders, which currently has a membership of over 75 people, have been putting this ride together for several years now as a way to bring riders together for a fun event and keep their organization going strong.

There is no cost to join the Old Timers Run, which Holmes says goes at a nice, slow pace and ends at 6 p.m. before the sun goes down.

There is no pre-registration required; however, Holmes does say if people want to register their snowmobiles as a classic, there is a place to do that on the Minnesota DNR website.

“And that’s a one-time thing, once it’s in there, it’s in there — they (the sleds) just have to be 25 years or older,” he said.

Holmes says he believes the event remains so popular in the area because it is extremely organized and family-friendly.

“All of the stops do different, fun things for the event, and it’s just an excellent day for family members,” he said.