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A great day for a run

Thousands of people gathered around the Lake Park Liquor Store for Saturday's Midnite Riders Old Timers Run.2 / 5
Shanae Sakrismo, 13, of Ulen sits in the "Old Timer's Chair," a homemade party sled pulled behind a snowmobile. The sled comes complete with a car stereo and speakers, air horns, a comfortable chair and gas grill for the stop between stops during Saturday's Old Timer's Run.3 / 5
Don Olson of Audubon gets a trophy for his restored 1976 John Deere Cyclone 440 Saturday morning.4 / 5
Glen Erickson's 1986 Yamaha is the 30th different snowmobile he's built for the 30 years he's been attending the Midnite Riders Old Timers Run.5 / 5

Thousands of people make the journey to Lake Park every year for the Midnite Riders Old Time Snowmobile Run, and this year was no exception.

For the Olson family of Audubon, the yearly run is a family affair.

"We have relatives who come from all over just for the run," said Nancy Olson, who's husband, Howard, and brother-in-law, Don, both won trophies for their sleds. "It really is a family affair."

Don took home a trophy for his restored 1976 John Deere Cyclone 440 he bought about a year ago. The sled was in bad shape, he said, and needed a total restoration, which he worked on this past year.

Nancy called Don's wife, Barb, a saint for putting up with what she called, "the family disease" -- old time snowmobiles.

"I think Don spends more time in with his sled than he does with Barb," Nancy said laughing.

The snowmobile disease has spread throughout generations of the Olson family, as Nancy listed the names of the many relatives who now attend the Lake Park event; Howard, Brent, Peter, Tyler, Aaron...and many more.

Randy Thompson of Lake Park attends the Old Timer's Run every year. His group of friends is in it more for the socializing than the sleds, but that doesn't make the snowmobiles any less important.

Take the sled they built and pulled behind a snowmobile for example. Sure, it's practical in that it is an extra seat for a rider to come along for the fun. But it also helps bring a unique twist to the event. The sled was built complete with a car stereo and speakers, air horns, a grill and propane tank, and a comfortable cushioned chair.

The sled was dubbed "The Old Timer's Chair," and was reserved for birthday girl, Sherri Gillespie, for Saturday's run. The group said the grilling party would happen on Nylander Hill in the Cormorant area.

For Glen Erickson of Detroit Lakes, it's all about a new old sled every year for the run.

The 1986 Yamaha XLV he drove this year had a sign proudly proclaiming, "Thirdy years, thirdy different old sleds."

"This is the newest sled I've ever rode here," Erickson said. "It's a piece of junk that I found sitting in the woods. It took a little work to get going."

He said he's driven just about every make of snowmobile to the Lake Park run from Harleys to Ski Doos to Arctic Cats. His most unique sled was a rare 1967 Shark he rode several years ago.

After 30 years and 30 snowmobiles, Erickson isn't quite ready to retire from the Old Timer's Run.

"I've got a few more to build, so I'm not quite done just yet," he said.