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Snowmobilers will head to Park Rapids March 2-3 for the USXC Snowmobile Race. (Enterprise file photo)

Snowmobile race hits PR next week

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Get ready to see some snowmobiles - lots of snowmobiles.

The USXC Snowmobile Race is coming to Park Rapids Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3.

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The race is coming together with the final routes approved this week and a blessing from the Hubbard County Board.

Saturday's race will run along Long Lake and into the Hubbard Prairie. Sunday's leg will traverse Hubbard County 4 from the former Silver Star City on Highway 34 through Emmaville and to a loop south of Lake George.

Local snowmobile enthusiasts Jeff Voigt and Jon Koch pushed to have a race in Park Rapids this year and have been working with Brian Nelson, with the United States X-Country Snowmobile Racing circuit, on the details of the event.

They are hoping some local snowmobilers might consider racing. There are 13 different classes from junior to professional. There is a race for everyone.

The event starts Friday night with registration from 5-8 p.m. at the Eagles Club in Park Rapids. A dinner will be served with funds going to the Hubbard County Food Shelf.

Saturday morning, the race starts at 9 a.m. and will run until 4 p.m. People are invited to watch the race along the route or head to the former Silver Star City location, which is the start/finish line.

A 2013 Arctic Cat Z-120 Christian Brothers-sponsored kids snowmobile will be on hand from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Silver City location for kids to ride.

"The whole idea is to get kids introduced to snowmobiling and interested," Koch said.

Arctic Cat will also be on hand with new gear and factory sleds for sale.

Sunday will have a similar schedule, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an awards ceremony at about 5 p.m.

People should be prepared for potential detours or delays and are encouraged to avoid Highway 34 on Sunday. Locals could drive on County Road 107 to bypass the 34 route, Koch suggested.

Emmaville would be a good place to gather and watch the race as well, Voigt said. This will be the fuel stop area.

Koch also wants people who live on County Road 4 to realize it will be very busy. Also, recreational snowmobilers are being discouraged from riding on County Road 4 Sunday. Snowmobilers will still be able to get to Emmaville but will need to come from the west, Koch said.

The Hubbard County board gave its blessing and words of encouragement to organizers of the upcoming race.

"It will be a huge tremendous boost" to the region, commissioner Kathy Grell said.

Forest Riders Snowmobile Club president Tim Eischens, whose group has a state DNR contract to groom most of the area trails, expressed some concerns about the race and asked several questions.

Using County 4 will necessitate assurances that it won't close down Emmaville's business, Eischens said.

Voigt and Jon Koch readily agreed.

Eischens also expressed some concerns about traffic and residences along the highway.

He was assured there should be enough spotters to keep the race from becoming a hazard to homeowners and motorists.

Sheriff Cory Aukes said his department would be closing major highways briefly to allow the racers to pass safely.

The sponsors said if County 4 driveways need some repair after the race to pick up snow mounds, it would be done.

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

Volunteer spotters are needed to help with the race at intersections.

All spotters will need to be at the start/finish line by 7:45 a.m. The race will start at 9 a.m. and finish around 4 p.m.

Craig Rossman is the head spotter and will be the volunteer spotter coordinator and will go through a brief training at 6:30 p.m. Friday night, March 1 at the Eagles Club. Call Rossman at 218-252-3276 for information about volunteering.

Volunteers will be given a free BBQ meal from Bogey's.

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

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