Noble art of old-time sledding
The annual Old Timers Classic at Lake Park was a huge success for snowmobile enthusiasts. What appeared to be several thousand snowmobilers with antique, old and modern sleds gathered at Lake Park Saturday morning for the start of the 39-mile run...
The annual Old Timers Classic at Lake Park was a huge success for snowmobile enthusiasts.
What appeared to be several thousand snowmobilers with antique, old and modern sleds gathered at Lake Park Saturday morning for the start of the 39-mile run.
For the next several hours, snowmobiles of all vintages -- and some best described as totally one of a kind --arrived for the show and ride.
The classic, hosted by the Mid-Nite Riders snowmobile club, has been ongoing since the 1970s, Bud Hovelson, the club's trail coordinator, said in an earlier story.
Originally, the members would get together about this time of the winter to survey the whitetail deer herd population. The best mode of travel for such purposes was aboard a snowmobile.
On an average year, the Classic realizes 1,200 to 1,500 snowmobiles. Needless to say, there are that many drivers, plus countless more onlookers.
To qualify as an "Old Timer," the snowmobile must be at least 25 years old. That standard was long ago adopted by the Vintage Snowmobile Club of America. Mid-Nite Riders use those rules to govern the snowmobile show, precluding the 39-mile run.
The club awards trophies in 19 classes based on two divisions, restored and unrestored.
Hovelson said the event draws people from several neighboring states plus Manitoba.
Most riders head east to Audubon, paralleling Highway 10. Many stop there for lunch and to check their machines, before going south along County 11 to Pit 611.
Other stops during the day include Cormorant Village, Randy's and the Roadhouse.
From a law enforcement perspective, the annual Old Timer's Snowmobile run at Lake Park Saturday went smoothly.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Chris Vinton said overall there were very few incidents associated with the event.
Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon said he and three deputies were on duty along the snowmobile route between Lake Park, Audubon and Cormorant. Two of the deputies were patrolling on snowmobiles.
In addition, there were three DNR conservation officers and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officer, who monitored the federal waterfowl production areas along with route.
Vinton said three operators were charged with driving while impaired, with two snowmobiles seized due to those offenses.
Gordon credited the Mid-Nite Riders club for being actively involved in law enforcement's planning process.