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Ice Harvest 440: Vintage snowmobile racing returns to Little Detroit Lake Feb. 23

There was plenty of excitement at the inaugural Ice Harvest 440 in February 2018, as racers rounded the corner of the oval pond racing track on Little Detroit Lake. (Submitted Photo)1 / 4
Ready, set... racers lined up in their vintage sleds for the start of a heat during last year's Ice Harvest 440 in Detroit Lakes. Organizers estimated there were between 600-650 people in attendance at the event. (Submitted Photo)2 / 4
Several of the heats at the inaugural Ice Harvest 440 were closely contested; this year's event is set for Saturday, Feb. 23 on Little Detroit Lake. (Submitted Photo)3 / 4
Ice oval pond racing returns to Little Detroit Lake on Saturday, Feb. 23, with the second annual Ice Harvest 440 getting underway at noon. (Submitted Photo)4 / 4

Lakes area residents will have one more opportunity this season to enjoy some vintage snowmobile racing, with the return of the Ice Harvest 440 to Little Detroit Lake on Saturday, Feb. 23.

"It's our second annual event," said organizer Jeff Jasperson, adding that the event's sanctioning body, the Central Minnesota Pond Racing (CMPR) Association, has once again decided to make the Detroit Lakes race the culminating event of its 2019 racing season, which runs through January and February.

"They have five races during the season, located throughout central Minnesota," Jasperson said. "The Detroit Lakes race is the series points championship... They're paying out $15,000 in prize money to the successful racers placing first, second and third (in cumulative points)."

Like last year, registration for the race is set to start at 9 a.m., with hot laps running from 9-11 a.m., and the drivers' meeting at 11:30. Racing action will get underway promptly at noon.

All of the racing will take place on an oval ice track set up on Little Detroit Lake, near Hub 41 restaurant, which is one of the event's sponsors, along with AmericInn and Maptracks.

"We are also proud that BTD Manufacturing has joined us as a primary sponsor this year," Jasperson said. "This successful company, with facilities located in Detroit Lakes, was inducted into the Polaris Hall of Fame in 2009 and has a rich history with the industry of snowmobiling.

"We also want to thank the Detroit Lakes Tourism Bureau for supporting the event," he added.

"We learned a lot from last year's event," Jasperson continued, adding that one change implemented for this year's race is the elimination of gate fees. Spectators will be able to watch all the action for free.

Despite the fact that they charged admission for last year's race, more than 600 people turned out for the inaugural Ice Harvest 440, so organizers are hoping for an even bigger crowd this year.

"Due to the success of the first event, the race is now growing," Jasperson said. "It's grown a lot from a local racer standpoint."

As there are 26 categories of 1970s-vintage racing sleds, ridden by some of the best racers in the Upper Midwest and Canada, the racing action will run well into the afternoon, with the awards ceremony and afterparty to follow, taking place from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Sandbar in Detroit Lakes.

For general questions about the race, contact Jeff Jasperson at 218-766-2940. For more detailed information about registration and team participation, contact Mike Meagher, CMPR Sanctioning President, at 320-815-1888. More information about the CMPR racing circuit can also be found online at www.vsca.com/index.php/events-news/racing-news/532-cmpr-2019.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454
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