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The 'One Lunger 100' is back!: Vintage snowmobile racing returns to Big Detroit Lakes Jan. 13

Snowmobiles of 1973 vintage and older will be the focus of the One Lunger 100, a 100-mile endurance race set for Saturday, Jan. 13 on the ice in front of Detroit Lakes' Holiday Inn. (Tribune file photo)1 / 2
Vintage snowmobile racing returns to the ice of Big Detroit Lake on Saturday, Jan. 13. (Tribune file photo)2 / 2

It's been a few years since vintage snowmobiles have raced across the ice of Big Detroit Lake, but for fans of the sport, there's good news: The One Lunger 100 is back!

For the past several years, the event has been held in Brainerd, but the popular endurance race for single-cylinder snowmobiles of 1970s vintage or older will once again be held on the ice in front of Detroit Lakes' Holiday Inn come Saturday, Jan. 13.

"Back in the day, single-cylinder sleds used to be called 'one-lungers,'" says event organizer Grady Shearer, explaining the race's curious name.

The second part of the name comes from the fact that the racers compete to be the first to complete 100 miles on the Le Mans-style course.

"It's an endurance race," Shearer said. "It doesn't matter if it's 40 degrees or 20 below, if there's snow or not... as long as there's ice, we race. It's all about battling the elements and making your sled last for 100 miles."

Because these are vintage vehicles, that's rarely as easy as it sounds, he added, noting that if there are 100 sleds at the start of the race, there will maybe be 40 that finish.

"We have racers from age 16 up to about 65," he said, adding that the race is open to both men and women of all ages.

There will be four different categories of sleds racing in the competition, he added: Stock Relic, Stock HR, Stock HD, and new this year, the Stock Enticer class, which is for slightly newer sleds. The other three classes are for sleds that are of 1973 vintage and older, and is based on carburetor size, with the Relic class being reserved for the older, slower sleds. The Top 10 finishers in each class get trophies, while the top 5 get a cash payout as well. For more information about the different race categories and restrictions, please visit

Shearer said that the Detroit Lakes event on Jan. 13 is one of several races planned for single-cylinder snowmobiles this season by the Long Lake Vintage Snowmobile Racing Association.

"There's getting to be more race options for the one lungers," he said.

He noted that registration for this year's race will be on-ice only, "but I expect we'll have at least 100 racers, easy."

Cost is $100 per sled, and competitors can choose to ride "iron man" (single-person) or as a two-person team. For more information, please contact Grady Shearer at 320-406-4140 (text or phone).

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454