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New groomer highlights snowmobile ride

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A $160,000, brand new, bright orange groomer will soon be the prized possession of the Otter Trail Riders snowmobile club.

After fundraising and saving up nearly $100,000 over the years, with some of the money received through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; the club added that hefty sum to an additional $59,000 received through a federal recreation grant.

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Dennis Tigges, a member of the Otter Trail Riders, said the club was able to purchase the large piece of equipment in large part due to a dedicated bunch of members who last fall went through the grant application process with the federal highway department. The team also worked with the Minnesota DNR.

"Next week, we will receive our brand new, 2010 Tucker groomer," said an enthusiastic Tigges. "It will really help out with the new trail system."

The new groomer was purchased through a dealer out of Bloomington, MN, and was made in Oregon. It is expected to arrive in about a week, and will be available for viewing on Feb. 21 at the New York Mills VFW.

The unveiling of the new groomer will coincide with the Otter Trail Riders Highway 8 Bridge Dedication Snowmobile Ride, also planned for Feb. 21. The club invites the public to join them for the dedication ride to celebrate the new bridge in Perham.

"The bridge makes it so the snowmobiles don't have to go up on the highway," Tigges explains of the Highway 8 bridge. "It is a very significant thing for safety. It's also a good looking bridge, so we're happy about that."

According to Tigges, Rich Winkels from Perham spearheaded the bridge project. He even had the bridge manufactured locally, in Perham. Those taking part in the dedication snowmobile ride will get to check out the bridge, and travel on all groomed trails.

Riders will meet at the New York Mills VFW at noon, with the ride leaving at 12:30. This family-friendly event will give participants of all ages an opportunity to enjoy the new trail system. The event will serve as the official dedication of a new section of trail, north of Hamburger Hollow on Highway 53.

Three separate routes are planned, with the longest route covering 72 miles. Two shorter routes, at about 45 miles each, are also planned. Along the route, riders will stop at Dean's Country Market in Perham to enjoy some hot chocolate.

After returning to the VFW in New York Mills, a late lunch will be served. Door prizes will be awarded, including water park passes to Thumper Pond in Ottertail and some pool passes to Crossings Inn and Suites in Perham. Cash door prizes will also be given away.

For more information or to register for the Otter Trail Riders snowmobile ride, contact Dennis or Dyann Tigges at 218-385-3018. The cost is $15 per person, with a maximum of $30 per family.

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