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A vintage voyage: ULTRA to hold classic snowmobile rally

Vintage snowmobiles will be judged in 20 different categories, including some that are broken up into different years. A typical year for this event will bring in around 150 different vintage sleds. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

With area ditches full of snowy, groomed trails and a bit of a “warm up” in sight, local snowmobile riders are getting “revved” up.

The 11th annual DL Vintage Snowmobile Rally & Swap Meet is coming up Saturday, Feb. 15, starting at the city beach in Detroit Lakes.

The United Lakes & Trails Association (ULTRA) is hosting the event, which begins at 8 a.m. and typically brings in up to 600 riders.

Around 150 of those riders bring sleds are considered “vintage,” and are expected to compete for trophies in 20 different classes.

“Those (vintage sleds) are 25 years and older,” said Wayne Schlauderaff, chairman of the event. “Judges will be giving out trophies for everything from people’s choice, to a customer class where they’ll have big, chrome pipes and things like that, and for the ‘rat’ class.”

The “rat” class may arguably be considered the most interesting of the classes to win, as it brings in some of what Schlauderaff calls “old, ratty things.”

“I’ve seen ones where people have mounted recliners to them, if you can believe that,” he laughs.

Trophies are handed out at noon, which Schlauderaff says sets the pace for a nice, relaxing atmosphere in the morning.

“Because then people have plenty of time to walk around and look at all the sleds, and we’ll have guys out there selling coffee and donuts and some clothing,” he said.

Once trophies are handed out, it’s time to ride at high noon.

“We’ll be going to six different bars right there on Big and Little Detroit,” said Schlauderaff. Those pit stops include the Holiday Inn on the Lake, Lakeside Tavern, the American Legion, Zorbaz, Bleachers and Shorewood Pub.

Schlauderaff says the club encourages people to travel along for the ride, even if by vehicle.

“Because we know not everybody has a snowmobile, but we like it when people still go around to the different places with us, buy some tickets and have a good time,” he said.

The Shorewood Pub is where the grand prize for the event’s raffle is currently sitting — a 1969 Homelite Forester snowmobile…completely restored.

“We purchased it from a guy over by Rollag, and myself and several others took it apart and restored it back to as original as possible,” said Schlauderaff, who adds that they’ll also be raffling off a Savage rifle and scope.

“And then there will be a number of prizes being given away at the different bars, too,” he said.

Something new to the event this year is the “radar run.”

“We’re setting up a course, and one snowmobile at a time, you can go down the course and the radar gun will tell them how fast they went,” said Schlauderaff, who adds that riders can try that out for $5 for three runs.

“I know a lot of people like to know how fast their old sleds can go,” he added.

Money raised from the event will go to the club, which has 115 miles of local trails they keep groomed.

There is no need to register before the event, just show up the day of and sign up anytime between 8-11 a.m.

Raffle tickets can be purchased out on the ice or in advance from any ULTRA club member, at the Shorewood Pub or Jeff’s Muffler in Detroit Lakes.

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