Saturday morning, nearly 50 area snowmobile enthusiasts took part in the 5th Annual Vintage Snowmobile “Fun Run.”
Upon gathering at The Rock Bar and Resort on STH 107, the entourage of sleds and operators – comprised of makes and models dating back as far as the 1970s – proceeded east to the Hub Inn on STH 17. The procession then moved on to Baron’s Dugout Bar where riders enjoyed a free lunch, before continuing on to B’s 107 Bar and their final stop at the Merrill Ice Drags on Lake Alexander.
As event co-organizer Dennis Krueger explains, the very first Fun Run led off in 2011, as a means of showcasing sleds from days gone by.
“It was just a group of guys, around 10 of us at that time, that thought it would be fun to ride around on old snowmobiles. Nearly all of them still attend each year.
“We selected an early February date because of a few events going on in the area. We rode from the Wisconsin River area (Rock Island) to Schultz’s Country Inn for the vintage show, then back to the ice drags. It actually started as a birthday party which ended up at a home for a bonfire and some food to wrap up the day. The river also worked well in the event. If the trails were not open, we could go to the ice drags and ride up and down the river, and visit one of the watering holes if the urge struck.”
The event drew attention from the start, based on the novelty of the snowmobiles.
“As you can expect when the machines stopped at various places they usually drew a crowd,” Krueger adds. “This went on for two or three years and then somehow we got connected with Baron at the Dugout Bar. The first Dugout Ride was in 2014. We left Rock Island, went to the Dugout then to the Ice Drags, then to Bev & Tom’s Bar and finished at Rock Island.
As with most new and developing events, the Fun Run experienced its share of growing pains.
But as Krueger states, 2018 raised the bar in terms of overall attendance.
“This weekend marked our best turnout to date, with 45–47 participating sleds. The group stayed bunched up together and we had no break downs that required hauling on the trailer. There of course were some repairs, conducted at stops along the way, but it is just part of the fun and riding snowmobiles in excess of 40 years old,” Krueger said.
Even better is the idea of event organizers consistently striving to make the Fun Run as family friendly as possible.
“Our goal is to make the Fun Run an event which is fun for the whole family,” Krueger adds, “for snowmobile enthusiasts and at the same time promoting some local establishments, with very little to no cost to the participants. A small group plans and puts a fair amount of time into organizing the event. Of course the generous support of all the sponsors either through cash donations, food or beverage donations, is what makes it happen.”
Recent additions to the Fun Run included hot chocolate, soda and chips which was supplied to all children under the age of 16 at Hub Inn. Tickets were sold throughout the day Saturday for various prizes, as well as a 505/50 raffle which organizers use to supply prizes and beverages for next year. This year, organizers included several prepaid gas cards purchased from local gas stations who support local snowmobile trails.