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Park Rapids Heartland 106 snowmobile race will be Feb. 22-23. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Heartland 106 snowmobile race returns to Park Rapids

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BY Anna Erickson

The Heartland 106 Snowmobile Race is returning to Park Rapids this February.

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It is part of the United States X-Country Snowmobile Racing circuit and this year’s race will run through the forests and lakes of the area.

This is the second annual event. Last year’s race was a success, with two days of racing that brought hundreds of people to the area.

Brian Nelson, of Spicer, organizes the United States X-Country Snowmobile Racing circuit.

Park Rapids used to host snowmobile races but until last year it had been many years since a large race had come to town. Local snowmobile enthusiasts Jeff Voigt and Jon Koch pushed to bring the race to the area and contacted Nelson.

Nelson is a former cross-country snowmobile racer who won the Winnipeg-to-St. Paul I-500 in 1976 aboard Enduro Team Deere, and again in 1978 for Team Arctic. He owned a snowmobile dealership and operated a snowmobile and motorcycle tour business since 1980 and was inducted into the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in 2000.

This weekend USXC is in Detroit Lakes. In the next few weeks races will be in Willmar and Oslo. This year’s Park Rapids race is Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 22-23.

The goal of USXC is to continue the tradition racer-friendly events at many of the classic cross-country venues.

Setting up and hosting the snowmobile race is always a lot of work. Organizers will again need volunteers to help set up the track, be stationed along the track during the race and help with other various aspects of the race.

Last year, Saturday’s went along Long Lake and into the Hubbard Prairie. Sunday’s leg was along Hubbard County 4 from the former Silver Star City on Highway 34 through Emmaville and to a loop south of Lake George. Several snowmobile classes will race during the event.

People braved the cold to watch the racers each day.

Pre-registration is required online at usxcracing.com by 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 or onsite at the Park Rapids Eagles Club from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1.

For more information about the race or to register, go to www.usxcracing.com.

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ssmit

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.

(218) 732-3364
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