Despite race day temperatures in the minus 20s, the return of the One Lunger 100 snowmobile endurance race to Big Detroit Lake drew more than 100 riders last year - and organizer Grady Shearer hopes the addition of one very special guest racer will bring big crowds to watch the action in 2019.
"We have Larry Enticer coming," says Shearer, referring to the popular Canadian snowmobile rider whose YouTube videos of his stunt jumps on his vintage Yamaha Enticer class sled have become a viral sensation. "He's going to be racing, and signing autographs in the bar (at the Holiday Inn) following the race."
This year's One Lunger 100 is set for Saturday, Jan. 12, and will once again be staged on the ice of Big Detroit Lake, in front of the Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn.
As the name implies, the race will feature the style of vintage, single-cylinder snowmobiles referred to as "one lungers," and riders will be competing to be the first to complete 100 miles on the Le Mans-style course.
"It's an endurance race," Shearer said. "It doesn't matter if it's 40 degrees or 20 below, if there's snow or not... as long as there's ice, we race. It's all about battling the elements and making your sled last for 100 miles."
Because the racers use vintage sleds, that task is rarely as easy as it sounds, he added - if there are 100 racers at the start, there may be 40 sleds that cross the finish line.
Nevertheless, the sport remains popular, drawing riders from as young as age 16 up to those in their mid to late 60s. The race is open to both men and women, Shearer added.
The format will be the same as last year, with four different categories of sleds racing in the competition: Stock Relic, Stock HR, Stock HD and the Stock Enticer class, which is for slightly newer sleds. The other three classes are for sleds that are of 1973 vintage and older, and are based on carburetor size, with the Relic class being reserved for the older, slower sleds.
For more information about the different race categories and restrictions, please visit https://www.vintagesnowmobileracing.com/rules.
The Top 10 finishers in each class get trophies, while the top 5 get a cash payout as well.
"We're giving out about 60 trophies in all," Shearer said, noting that the awards ceremony will take place at about 5:30 p.m. in the Holiday Inn banquet room. "You can catch Larry Enticer in the bar area anytime after the race... get your picture taken with him, or an autograph."
As last year's race drew 109 riders despite a race time temperature of minus 24 degrees, Shearer said he's expecting upwards of 150-160 or more to take part in this year's event.
Cost is $100 per sled, and competitors can choose to ride "iron man" (single-person) or as a two-person team.
He's also looking for a few local sponsors as well, he added.
"Our Facebook event page has 1,500 people interested, but I have zero local sponsors," Shearer said on Thursday. "I'm hoping to get at least a couple if anyone is interested."
For more information, please contact Grady Shearer at 320-406-4140 (text or phone).
Before the big race gets underway at noon, there will also be a shorter race that's open to single-cylinder snowmobiles of any vintage.
"It's open to any sled that's a single cylinder and doesn't have traction products," said Shearer, noting that it's a "dash for cash" type race involving sleds that aren't "race ready." That event gets underway at 11 a.m.
As for those hoping to come watch the races, there is no charge for spectators, though they can choose to purchase a raffle ticket.
"They're giving away a vintage single cylinder race sled," Shearer said, noting that tickets will be available at the front desk of the Holiday Inn.