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Sasquatch Run and Oktoberfest bring sweat and beer to Mountain Fest in Detroit Lakes

The morning was for the runners and the afternoon was for brats, beer and fun for the kids as Detroit Mountain hosted Mountain Fest 2022 in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24.

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Runners leave the starting line during the inaugural Sasquatch Run at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES — More than 200 runners took to the trails and Oktoberfest got into full-swing at Detroit Mountain on Sept. 24.

The inaugural Sasquatch Run brought in runners from across the region to take part in the 5K, 10K and 15K on the backwoods trails of the recreation area.

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Runners depart the starting line for the 10K and 15K races during the inaugural Sasquatch Run at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Some racers expressed concern at the start that the trails would be wet and muddy due to recent rainfall and drizzly race day conditions, which could lead to a muddy morning. However, Mark Knutson, race director for the Sasquatch Run, said much of the backwoods trails were dry and the wettest trail conditions were probably the grass on the final homestretch.

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Mark Knutson, race director, gives instructions to the runners before the start of the race during the inaugural Sasquatch Run at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"The rain went through yesterday and if we would've had this race yesterday, it would've been tough, today, it's about as perfect as it gets," said Knutson. "Detroit Mountain has done an amazing job with these trails all summer long and to get out here in the fall and the colors of the trees are just beautiful and it's just fun ... to come out here and just kind of get lost out in the woods, it's kind of amazing."

Knutson said teaming the race up with Oktoberfest and other events at Detroit Mountain's Mountain Fest could be the start of a major weeks-long event that kicks off the fall in the lakes area going forward.

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The race was run almost entirely in the backwoods trail areas at Detroit Mountain, except for the final homestretch, which featured runners ascending a looming skiing downhill through the finish line.

"It's a little bit by design, but it's a trail run and (the runners) will get over it," said Knutson. "It'll be a little painful on the way up, but it's a huge accomplishment. If you get to the top of the hill, you are going to be loving it."

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Runners sprint up the final hill to the finish line during the inaugural Sasquatch Run at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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Mike Stearns runs up the final hill during the inaugural Sasquatch Run at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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Runners jog up the final hill to the finish line during the inaugural Sasquatch Run at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

The first place finisher in the 5K was Nick Johnson, 19, of Colgate, Wisc. He said he's completed about 50 trail runs in his young running career and the Sasquatch Run is officially his favorite, as of right now.

"The trail was solid," said Johnson. "We've got nothing like this over in Wisconsin."

He also said he was experienced in hill running, but expended all of the energy he had left to make it up the final ski hill at Detroit Mountain.

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Nick Johnson, 19, of Colgate, Wisc., crosses the finish line in first place after completing a 5K during the inaugural Sasquatch Run at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"It's definitely not easy if you don't train for it," said Johnson. "I used all my steam I could do to get up that hill, that's for sure."

The first place kid finisher in the 5K was Easton Ehrmantraut, 8, of Fargo, N.D., who also finished first in the youth mile-run at the 2022 Dick Beardsley Races, held on Sept. 10 in Detroit Lakes.

Ehrmantraut seemed proud and loosely celebratory when it was pointed out that he was able to sprint up the final ski hill, when many adult runners needed to slow to a jog or walk.

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Easton Ehrmantraut, 8, crosses the finish line after completing a 5K during the inaugural Sasquatch Run at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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Easton Ehrmantraut, 8, sets off from the starting line during the inaugural Sasquatch Run at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

After the race concluded, many of the participants made their way over to Mountain Fest, outside the Detroit Mountain main lodge. The festival featured: brats and hot dogs courtesy of Lakes Processing; an Oktoberfest-style beer garden, featuring a special Oktoberfest beer from Detroit Lakes' Bucks Mill Brewery; pumpkin carving; live music featuring Guys and Dahls and the Front Fenders; and multiple inflatables for kids of all ages.

"I think it's a great idea," said Jim Rorah, one of the managers at Detroit Mountain. "I know they wanted to get something going here in the community and we figured we'd kind of take the reigns on it and get something started and we kinda tied it in with the race that Mark organized and it just kind of naturally went together."

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Austin Pinski, 10, and his sister, Hadley, 9, play Hammerschlagen during Oktoberfest, part of Mountain Fest, at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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Evan Hall, a supervisor at Detroit Mountain, cooks hot dogs during Oktoberfest, part of Mountain Fest, at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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Kids play in a Hungry Hippos inflatable game during Oktoberfest, part of Mountain Fest, at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Rorah also said it's the Mountain's last week for mountain biking before they start getting ready for ski season.

"We're getting geared up and we're thinking winter already," he said. "We'll probably start snowmaking in about five weeks, hopefully."

The Oktoberfest addition to the festival gave Detroit Lakes' newest brewery, Bucks Mill Brewery, a chance to debut its very own Oktoberfest beer.

"We brewed a traditional German lager fest beer, so a very light, easy drinking beer worthy of a giant beer stein," said Chris Kaml, co-owner of Bucks Mill Brewery. "We will be releasing it in the tap room and we will be having an official Oktoberfest party on Oct. 1, at the brewery."

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Chris Kaml, co-owner of Bucks Mill Brewery in Detroit Lakes, serves a beer during Oktoberfest, part of Mountain Fest, at Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes on Sept. 24, 2022.
Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Kaml also said, after opening their brewery and tap room in Detroit Lakes nearly one month ago, individuals, businesses and other groups all want to have their events in their new space. He said they will be adding new weekly clubs, like yoga and a pint or theology on-tap to go along with possible cribbage and bags leagues. Anyone interested in the event calendar should check out their Facebook page and website .

"It's been awesome, and overwhelming, and exciting, and just loving every minute of it," he said.

Multimedia News Lead Reporter
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