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Snowmobile riders and admirers will gather in Lake Park on Feb. 2 for the annual Midnite Riders Old Time Classic. Brian Basham/Record

Revving up: Old Timers run is Feb. 2

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Snowmobile enthusiasts are getting revved up for one of the largest sled runs in the area.

The annual Midnite Riders Old Timers Run is set for Saturday, Feb. 2, and it expected to once again bring in hundreds of sleds -- both classic and new -- to the event. Registration for the ride begins at 8 a.m. in Lake Park.

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"And of course we need the biggest parking lot in town for that, so we'll be at the Liquor Store," said Bud Hovelson, who is a member of the Midnite Riders Snowmobile Club.

At 10, the club will hand out trophies to the best sleds in 19 classes including restored sleds, original and many more. But the pomp and circumstance won't last long there, as riders will likely be eager to do what they're there to do -- ride.

"We'll fire it up at 10:15," said Hovelson, who says the club has been working hard with the DNR and private homeowners to prepare for the 39-mile trek through lakes country.

"Thirty-nine miles is how long it is if we have good snow conditions," said Hovelson, "but if we don't get more snow it'll probably be like last year where we mostly stick to the lakes."

Even with low snow conditions last year, the event brought in 300 people, but if Mother Nature is kind to the riders, this event could bring in as many as 1,500 participants.

"We're at the mercy of Mother Nature. We can love what we do, but she's the boss," laughed Hovelson, who says any money raised from the event will go towards maintaining the trails the Midnite Riders take care of.

But, participants also stand to take in some big bucks or prizes, as designated stops along the route have all pitched in for cash, gift certificates and prizes, such as a rifle and scope, television, a hotel stay and the grand prize of two VIP tickets and camping at WE Fest.

But every outdoor enthusiast knows they're not there for the prizes; it's the experience they're looking for.

"Because we're going on some private land, we don't just ride the ditches," said Hovelson, who says this event is especially for the outdoorsmen who love Minnesota winters. "We'll be going back into some woods where you'll see all kinds of wildlife that's just really neat."

He said they also end up finding some spectacular views, including one out by Lake Agassiz where he says the view from the bluff looks out over 15-20 miles. And with this event's atmosphere, the Old Timers ride could be the perfect chance to take it all in.

"This is not a race. We don't want crazy people or lake rockets," said Hovelson. "It's all about the ride."

If there is ample snow, the ride will start and end at Lake Park, while hitting up the Cormorant and surrounding areas in between. And this isn't just an event for boys and their toys. Hovelson says many riders make it a big family event with dad riding the old snowmobile and mom riding the new one.

"Or kids riding too. If the weather is good, kids really love this ride," he said.

Tickets for the event are $10 each and can be purchased in advance at one of the designated stops listed on the website (www.midniteriders.com) or right at the event that morning. For questions or to inquire about joining the Midnite Riders, call Bud Hovelson at 218-532-7255.

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